Take Time to Explore Algeria’s World Heritage Sites
As Algeria’s only natural UNESCO World Heritage Site, Tassili n’Ajjer is home to one of the world’s most important collection of prehistoric cave art. The manner in which human life evolved and adapted to changing climatic conditions, as well as the migration patterns of animals, are depicted in more than 15,000 drawings dating from around 6000 BCE through to the first centuries of the common era (CE). Eroded sandstone in forest-like rock formations are another interesting feature of this World Heritage Site, as not only are they spectacularly scenic, they provide valuable insight into the geological history of the area.
Created in the 10th century by the Ibadites, the five fortified cities in the M’Zab valley are well preserved and continue to function much the same way as they have for centuries. Designed for community living, the white-washed, pastel and ochre dwellings protect their inhabitants from the searing heat of the sun, while the oases around which they are built allow residents to cultivate palm groves and other essential foodstuffs. The entire M’Zab Valley was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982.
Located on the northern slopes of the Aurés Mountains, the Roman settlement of Timgad, now in ruins, offers a superb example of Roman town planning and interesting insight into an Empire which left its mark far and wide. With buildings constructed entirely of stone and streets paved with large limestone slabs, Timgad was a large settlement complete with temples, markets, baths and a Capitolium. Its strategic position allowed a clear view of the surrounding countryside, which visitors to Timgad will no doubt enjoy while exploring this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Kasbah of Algiers was listed as a cultural UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992, for being a superb example of an historic Maghreb city which influenced town planning in sub-Saharan Africa and the western part of the Mediterranean region. Within the Kasbah are traditional houses, Ottoman palaces, mosques, hammams and souks serving a population of around 50,000 in an environment promoting a strong sense of community. Certainly, visitors will find this cultural and historical treasure a joy to explore.
Other UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Algeria include the archeological sites of Al Qal’a of Beni Hammad, Djémila and Tipaza – each with its own unique characteristics and worth visiting.