Fine Arts and Archeology at the Cirta Constantine Museum
Located in the historical city of Constantine, the National Cirta Constantine Museum (Musée Cirta Constantine) offers visitors a fascinating window into the region’s past, particularly during the time of Roman occupation. Consisting of a ground floor exhibition hall, an upper floor and a beautifully maintained garden, the museum features three main categories, Ethnographic, Fine Arts and Archeological, the latter encompassing twelve rooms giving a comprehensive chronological overview of the region from prehistory through to today.
The museum was founded in 1852 by a group of scholars who had formed the Archeological Society of Constantine with the objective of preserving monuments and artifacts, many of which were inscribed, detailing the history of the city and its surroundings. Initially the museum was housed in a caravanserai, but these premises were not big enough to contain the growing collection, and it was proposed to construct a building specifically to house the museum’s artistic and historical treasures.
The site chosen for the museum already had archeological significance as a Numidian-Punic necropolis. The completed museum was opened on April 15, 1931, under the name of Musée Gustave Mercier in honor of the Secretary General of the Archeological Society. The name of the museum changed to Cirta Museum in July 1875 and in 1986 was listed as one of Algeria’s National Museums. Covering an area of more than 2,100 square meters, with an additional 900 square meters of gardens, the museum has become home to an extensive collection of fascinating artifacts, some of which were donated and others unearthed through archeological excavations or purchased.
The Fine Arts category of the Musée Cirta Constantine displays sculptures and paintings created by renowned artists between the 17th and the 20th centuries. Artists featured at the museum include Eugene Fromentin, Gabriel Ferrier, Allalouche Amar, Bashir Bouchriha, Eddine Dinet and Khodja Sadek Amin, to mention a few. In the Ethnographic section visitors will be able to view ancient manuscripts relating to various sciences, along with antique jewelry, carpets, weapons, copper crafts and traditional dress.
A relaxing stroll through the gardens gives visitors the opportunity to view a variety of interesting sculptures and statues, including a menhir with the figure of a Libyan soldier carved into one of its sides. The soldier has a spear in his right hand, with his left hand on his sword in its sheath. Certainly, visitors to the Algerian city of Constantine should include a visit to the National Cirta Constantine Museum to their itinerary.