Algeria

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Situated north of the Sahara desert. Algeria shares a common border with Libya, Tunisia, Niger, Mali, and Morocco. Algeria has access to the Mediterranean Sea. North African country, named for Algiers, city chosen by the French as its capital when they colonized it in 1830 + Latinate "country" suffix -ia. The city name is Arabic al-Jazair, literally "the islands," in reference to four islands formerly off the coast but joined to the mainland since 1525. A resident of the place formerly was an Algerine (1650s), and the word was practically synonymous with "pirate" in English and U.S. usage early 19c. Bordered to the north by the Mediterranean Sea, to the east by Tunisia and Libya, to the south by Niger and Mali, and to the west by Mauritania and Morocco. Its capital and largest city is Algiers. became independent in 1962, after more than a century of French rule; one-party constitution adopted in 1976; religious extremists led a campaign of violence from 1988 until 2000; consists chiefly of the N Sahara, with the Atlas Mountains in the north, and contains rich deposits of oil and natural gas. Official languages: Arabic and Berber; French also widely spoken. Religion: Muslim. Currency: dinar. Capital: Algiers. Pop: 38 087 812 (2013 est). Area: about 2 382 800 sq km (920 000 sq miles)French name: Algérie (al?eri)

Algerian history spans thousands of years, some of it under the rule of foreign powers namely the Roman Empire, Byzantine, Germanic vandal societies and the Turkish Ottoman Empire. Sometime around 8 A.D., when Algeria was part of the Ottoman Empire, the indigenous Berber population converted to Islam. Then in 1830 the crumbling Ottoman rule gave way when the French monarchy invaded and occupied Algeria. In 1834 France annexed this country just across the Mediterranean Ocean. In 1848, in a move unprecedented amongst French colonial possessions, it was made another French department (or province) different from most colonies.

In the 1950s, Front De Liberation Nationale (FNL) led a guerrilla war against French rule which ended victoriously in 1962. Algeria became an independent republic after 132 years of French rule, and an exodus of one million French settlers occurred. Since independence Algeria has experienced political and economic crisis, attended by the spread of militant Islam and the start of a low intensity civil war between the government and the Front Islamique du Salut (FIS), which won the annulled election of 1992.

 
ATTRACTIONS:
*Martyrs' Memorial Algiers- Iconic concrete monument built in 1982 to honor the 20th anniversary of Algeria's independence.
*Jardin d'Essai du Hamma- 19th Century Botanical garden. Elegant 1800s French- & English-style gardens with fountains, a small zoo & a fine-art museum.
*Notre-Dame d'Afrique-  Grand, historic Catholic church with panoramic bay views & restored paintings & statuary.
*Royal Mausoleum of Mauretania- The Royal Mausoleum of Mauretania is a funerary monument located on the road between Cherchell and Algiers, in Tipaza Province, Algeria. The mausoleum is the tomb where the Berber King Juba II and Queen Cleopatra Selene II, sovereigns of Numidia and Mauretania, were allegedly buried.
*Fort of Santa Cruz- Mountaintop fort with scenic city views. Set on the mountainside above the gulf, this prominent fort offers panoramic city views & a chapel.
*Gouraya National Park- The national park of Gouraya is one of the coastal national parks of Algeria. It is located in Béjaïa Province, near the shrine of Sidi Touati.
*Ketchaoua Mosque- Grand mosque built in the 17 century, dating back to 1612, this grand, prominent mosque once served as a Catholic cathedral.
*Tikjda- Tikjda is a ski resort located in a mountain range named Djurdjura, northern Algeria, with an altitude of 1,600 metres, in the province of Bouïra. In the summers, Tikjda offers walks, rock climbing and many short excursions, with places like Point de vue du Djurdjura and Gouffre de l'Akouker.
*Palais des Rais- Moorish-style complex with tours. Historic bastion built in 1576, offering a classic example of Moorish architecture & tours.
*Chréa National Park- The Chréa National Park is one of the largest national parks of Algeria. It is located in Blida Province, named after Chréa, a town near this park.
*Djurdjura National Park- Park, nature reserve, and ecotourism. The national park of Djurdjura is one of the national parks of Algeria. It is located in Kabylie and is named after the Djurdjura Range of the Tell Atlas.
*Assekrem- Assekrem is a high plateau in the Hoggar Mountains of southern Algeria, rising from the larger Atakor plateau Assekrem is within Ahaggar National Park. The altitude is 2,180 metres. The hermitage of Charles de Foucauld, which continues to be inhabited by a few monks, is at the top of the Assekrem plateau.
*Bardo National Museum of Prehistory and Ethnography- The Bardo National Museum of Prehistory and Ethnography is a national museum located in Algiers, Algeria. The edifice is a former Moorish villa. It was opened as a museum in 1927. Nothing specific is known about this residence, formerly in the countryside and now encompassed in the modern city.
*Djamaa el Kebir- The Great Mosque of Algiers or “Djama’a al-Kebir” is a mosque in Algiers, Algeria, located very close to Algiers Harbor. An inscription on the minbar or the pulpit testifies to fact that the mosque was built in 1097.
*Mount Tahat- Mount Tahat is the highest mountain peak in Algeria. It sits at an elevation of 2,908 metres. Other sources indicate an elevation of 3,003 metres. Tahat is also the highest peak in the Hoggar Mountains. Its nearest city is Tamanrasset which is located 56 km to the south. Mount Tahat is of volcanic origin
*Taza National Park- The Taza National Park is one of the smaller national parks of Algeria. It is located in Jijel Province in the region of the Tell Atlas, and is named after the nearby city of Taza. Its total area is 3,807 hectares and it includes parts of the forested area of the Guerrouch massif.
*Yemma Gouraya- Mountain with remains of an old fort. Waterfront mountain peak offering panoramic sea views & hikes amid ruins of a former hilltop fort.
*National Museum of Fine Arts of Algiers- The National Museum of Fine Arts of Algiers is a museum located in Algiers, Algeria. On May 14th, 1962 over 300 works of art were brought to the Louvre in Paris from the Museum.
*Emir Abdelkader Mosque- The Emir Abdelkader Mosque was built in Constantine, Algeria in 1994.
*Cathédrale du Sacré-Cœur d'Alger
*Belezma National Park- The Belezma National Park is one of the most important national parks of Algeria. It is located in Batna Province on the slopes of the Belezma Range, a subrange of the Aurès 
*Ghoufi- Ghoufi is a historic settlement in the Batna Province, Algeria
*Cap Carbon- Lighthouse and nature reserve.
*El Mechouar Palace- Mechouar Palace or the Zianide Royal Palace is a historic palace in the city of Tlemcen, Algeria. The palace is situated in the middle of the city, and formerly constituted a part of the greater Mechouar Castle which no longer exists except for the palace and the outer wall.
*Tassili N'Ajjer National Park- National Park in Algeria and desert
*Madghacen- also spelled Medracen or Medghassen or Madghis is a royal mausoleum-temple of the Berber Numidian Kings which stands near Batna city in Aurasius Mons in Numidia - Algeria.
*Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions- The Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions is an art museum located in Algiers.  Its displays Algerian art, including rugs, jewellery, pottery and costumes. The museum is housed in a former 16th-century Ottoman palace. The former Turkish residence was formerly known as Dar Bakri
*Tlemcen National Park- The Tlemcen National Park is one of the more recent national parks of Algeria. It is located in Tlemcen Province, named after Tlemcen, a city near this park.
*Cathédrale du Sacré-Cœur d'Alger- Cathédrale du Sacré-Cœur d'Alger is a Roman Catholic church located in Algiers, Algeria. Completed in 1956, it became the new cathedral in the capital after the Cathedral of Saint Philip of Algiers reconverted into a Muslim Ketchaoua Mosque
*Saint Augustine Basilica- The Basilica of St Augustine is a Roman Catholic basilica and pro-cathedral located in Annaba, Algeria. It is dedicated to Saint Augustine of Hippo. The basilica is under the circumscription of the Diocese of Constantine.
*Atakor volcanic field- Atakor volcanic field is a volcanic field in Algeria. It lies in the Hoggar mountains and consists of a variety of volcanic features such as lava flows and about 450 individual vents which create a spectacular scenery.
*Great Mosque of Tlemcen- The Great Mosque of Tlemcen was first built in Tlemcen, Algeria in 1082. It is one of the best preserved examples of the Almoravid dynasty's architecture. It was built under sultan Yusuf ibn Tashfin, but substantially reconstructed and enlarged by his son Ali ibn Yusuf.
*Lalla Khedidja- Lalla Khedidja or, is a mountain in Algeria. At 2,308 metres, it is the highest summit of the Djurdjura Range, a subrange of the Tell Atlas.
*Djebel Chélia- Djebel Chélia is a mountain in Algeria. It is the highest point in the Aurès Mountains which straddle the border between Algeria and Tunisia, and it is the second highest peak in Algeria after Mount Tahat. Djebel Chélia is situated in the west of Khenchela, in Bouhmama county.
*Djamaa el Djedid- also referred to as the Djama’a al-Djedid, or Jamaa El Jedid is a mosque located in Algiers, the capital of Algeria. It was built in 1660 in accordance with the traditions of the Hanafi school.
*The Théniet El Had National Park- is one of the 10 national parks of Algeria. It is located in Tissemsilt Province, named after Théniet El Haâd, a town near this park. Established: 1983.
*The Abbey of Our Lady of Atlas- is a Roman Catholic monastery of Trappists, inaugurated on March 7, 1938 in Tibhirine, close to Médéa, in Algeria. The abbey became more known in 1996, when seven monks were kidnapped from the monastery, during the Algerian Civil War, and were killed. 
*El-Ourit Waterfalls- are located seven kilometers from the city of Tlemcen, near the National Road of Algeria in a mountainous area covered with pine trees. Seven stepped cascades form the natural site of Oued El-Ourit, which remained dry for 40 years before reappearing in 2009.
 
WORLD HERITAGE SITES IN ALGERIA:
*Djémila (1982)- Situated 900 m above sea-level, Djémila, or Cuicul, with its forum, temples, basilicas, triumphal arches and houses, is an interesting example of Roman town planning adapted to a mountain location. The site of Djémila is located 50 km north-east of the town of Sétif. Known under its antique name Cuicul, Djémila is an establishment of an ancient Roman colony founded during the reign of Nerva (96 - 98 A.D.). The Roman town occupied a singular defensive position. Cuicul is one of the flowers of Roman architecture in North Africa.  Remarkably adapted to the  constraints of the mountainous site, on a rocky spur which spreads at an altitude of 900 m, between the wadi Guergour and the wadi Betame, two mountain torrents, the town has its own Senate and Forum. Around the beginning of the 3rd century, it expanded beyond its ramparts with the creation of the Septimius Severus Temple, the Arch of Caracalla, the market and the civil basilica. The site has also been marked by Christianity in the form of several cult buildings: a cathedral, a church and its baptistry are considered among the biggest of the Paleochristian period. The site of Djémila comprises an impressive collection of mosaic pavings, illustrating mythological tales and scenes of daily life.
*Timgad (1982)- Timgad lies on the northern slopes of the Aurès mountains and was created ex nihilo as a military colony by the Emperor Trajan in AD 100. With its square enclosure and orthogonal design based on the cardo and decumanus, the two perpendicular routes running through the city, it is an excellent example of Roman town planning.
Timgad, located to the north of the massif of the Aurès in a mountainous site of great beauty, 480 km south-east of Algiers and 110 km to the south of Constantine, is a consummate example of a Roman military colony created ex nihilo. The Colonia Marciana Traiana Thamugadi was founded in 100 A.D. by Trajan, probably as an encampment for the 3rd Augustan Legion which, thereafter, was quartered at Lambaesis. Its plan, laid out with great precision, illustrates Roman urban planning at its height. By the middle of the 2nd century, the rapid growth of the city had ruptured the narrow confines of its original foundation. Timgad spread beyond the perimeters of its ramparts and several major public buildings are built in the new quarters: Capitolium, temples, markets and baths. Most of these buildings date from the Severan period when the city enjoyed its Golden Age, also attested by immense private residences.
A strong and prosperous colony, Timgad must have served as a compelling image of the grandeur of Rome on Numidian soil. Buildings, constructed entirely of stone, were frequently restored during the course of the Empire: the Trajan Arch in the middle of the 2nd century, the Eastern gate in 146, and the Western gate under Marcus-Aurelius. The streets were paved with large rectangular limestone slabs and, as attested by the 14 baths which still may be seen today, particular attention was paid to the disposition of public conveniences. The houses, of varying sizes, dazzle by their sumptuous mosaics, which were intended to offset the absence of precious marbles. During the Christian period, Timgad was a renowned bishopric. After the Vandal invasion of 430, Timgad was destroyed at the end of the 5th century by montagnards of the Aurès. The Byzantine Reconquest revived some activities in the city, defended by a fortress built to the south, in 539, reusing blocks removed from Roman monuments. The Arab invasion brought about the final ruin of Thamugadi which ceased to be inhabited after the 8th century.
Criterion (ii): The site of Timgad, with its Roman military camp, its model town-planning and its particular type of civil and military architecture reflects an important interchange of ideas, technologies and traditions exercised by the central power of Rome on the colonisation of the high plains of Antique Algeria.
Criterion (iii): Timgad adopts the guidelines of Roman town-planning governed by a remarkable grid system. Timgad thus constitutes a typical example of an urban model, the permanence of the original plan of the military encampment having governed the development of the site throughout all the ulterior periods and still continues to bear witness to the building inventiveness of the military engineers of the Roman civilization, today disappeared. 
Criterion (iv): Timgad possesses a rich architectural inventory comprising numerous and diversified typologies, relating to the different historical stages of its construction: the defensive system, buildings for the public conveniences and spectacles, and a religious complex. Timgad illustrates a living image of Roman colonisation in North Africa over three centuries.
Integrity- Clarification of the boundaries of the property has been submitted but still requires review. The entire vestiges of the city will be included within the boundary. Moreover, an adequate buffer zone is envisaged. No intervention has taken place at the property since its inscription on the World Heritage List. Natural phenomena (earthquakes, weather...) have never affected the site, which displays a remarkable stability. The organization of an annual cultural festival has resulted in an influx of visitors, exercising pressure on the conservation of the site due to climbing over and trampling of the fragile structures, and repeated passages of engines and service vehicles on vulnerable structures, graffiti, and the management of uncontrolled rubbish. The Ministry of Culture relocated the activities related to the Annual Festival of Timgad outside the site. This will mitigate the negative impacts on the property. Restoration work executed along with the ongoing excavations has not altered the integrity of the monuments that are, in any case, rendered vulnerable due to the lack of conservation and management operations, and over exploitation. Authenticity: The ensemble of the vestiges and artefacts excavated bear witness to the Outstanding Universal Value that enabled inscription of the property. The abandonment of the antique site, although at a later period, and the conduct of archaeological excavations almost continually since 1881 to 1960 has enabled the city of Thamugadi to avoid the construction of recent buildings, as the mechanical means required would have disturbed the ancient vestiges.
Protection and management requirements: The Archaeological site of Timgad is governed by a Protection and Presentation Plan (PPMVSA), a legal and technical instrument establishing the conservation and management actions at the property. The body managing the property is the Office of Cultural Properties Management and Exploitation (OGEBC). It executes all activities concerning the protection, maintenance, documenting and development of programmes for presentation and promotion. The OGEBC implements its protection and management programme for the site in cooperation with the Cultural Directorate of the Wilaya (province) that has a service responsible for cultural heritage. The legal and management framework comprises Laws 90-30 (regional law), 98-04 (relating to the protection of cultural heritage), 90-29 (relating to town-planning and development), and the Master Plan for Development and Town-Planning (PDAU) of the Timgad community, 1998. Nevertheless, the State Party considers that there is a need to revise the legal and administrative provisions concerning the property to better ensure its conservation and presentation. There is a need to examine the increasing impact of the insufficient regulation of visitor numbers and vehicles affecting the fragile structures and their surrounds.
* Tipasa (1982)-
On the shores of the Mediterranean, Tipasa was an ancient Punic trading-post conquered by Rome and turned into a strategic base for the conquest of the kingdoms of Mauritania. It comprises a unique group of Phoenician, Roman, paleochristian and Byzantine ruins alongside indigenous monuments such as the Kbor er Roumia, the great royal mausoleum of Mauretania. 
Tipasa is located 70 km west of Algiers. It is a serial property comprising three sites: two archaeological parks located in the vicinity of the present urban complex and the Royal Mauritanian Mausoleum, on the west Sahel plateau of Algiers, at 11 km south-east of Tipasa. The archaeological site of Tipasa regroups one of the most extraordinary archaeological complexes of the Maghreb, and perhaps one which is most significant to the study of the contacts between the indigenous civilizations and the different waves of colonization from the 6th century B.C. to the 6th century A.D. This coastal city was first a Carthaginian trading centre, whose necropolis is one of the oldest and one of the most extensive of the Punic world (6th to 2nd century B.C.). During this period, Tipasa played the role of a maritime port of call, a place for commercial exchanges with the indigenous population.  Numerous necropolis testify to the very varied types of burial and funerary practices that bear witness to the multicultural exchange of influences dating back to protohistoric times. The monumental, circular funerary building, called the Royal Mauritanian Mausoleum, associates a local architectural tradition of the basina type, to a style of stepped truncated roof covering, the result of the different contributions, notably Hellenistic and Pharaonic. The Roman period is marked by a prestigious ensemble of buildings, comprising very diversified architectural typologies. From the 3rd to the 4th centuries A.D. a striking increase in Christianity is demonstrated by the multitude of religious buildings. Some are decorated with high quality mosaic pavings, illustrating scenes from daily life, or geometric patterns. The Vandal invasion of the 430's did not mark the definitive end of prosperity of Tipasa, but the town, reconquered by the Byzantines in 531, gradually fell into decline from the 6th century. 
Criterion (iii): Tipasa bears exceptional testimony to the Punic and Roman civilizations now disappeared.
Criterion (iv): The architectural and archaeological vestiges of Tipasa reflect in a significant manner the contacts between the indigenous civilizations and the Punic and Roman waves of colonization between the 6th century B.C. and the 6th century A.D.
Integrity: The boundary for the three sites has been clarified and approved by the World Heritage Committee (Decision 33 COM 8D, 2009). It includes the ensemble of vestiges that bear witness to the exceptional town-planning, architectural, historic and archaeological values of the property. The property is vulnerable due to the impact from urban development, unregulated tourism and population growth.
Authenticity: The town-planning and architectural attributes, the decoration and construction materials, all retain their original aspect that express the values, as defined at the time of inscription of the property. However, they are vulnerable through lack of conservation, encroachment of the vegetation, illegal grazing and uncontrolled visitor access.
Protection and management requirements: The legal and management framework of this property includes Laws 90-30 (regional law), 98-04 (concerning protection of cultural heritage), the Permanent Safeguarding and Presentation Plan of the site (PPSMV), the Ground Occupation Plan approved by the communal assembly of Tipasa (POS) and the Protection and Presentation Plan of archaeological sites and their buffer zone (PPMVSA), under preparation codified by executive decree N° 324-2003. A new establishment, the Office of Management and Exploitation of Cultural Properties, in coordination with the Directorate for Culture of the Wilaya (province) now manages the archaeological sites of Tipasa.
*Tassili n'Ajjer (1982) Located in a strange lunar landscape of great geological interest, this site has one of the most important groupings of prehistoric cave art in the world. More than 15,000 drawings and engravings record the climatic changes, the animal migrations and the evolution of human life on the edge of the Sahara from 6000 BC to the first centuries of the present era. The geological formations are of outstanding scenic interest, with eroded sandstones forming ‘forests of rock’. Tassili n'Ajjer is a vast plateau in south-east Algeria at the borders of Libya, Niger and Mali, covering an area of 72,000 sq. km.  The exceptional density of paintings and engravings, and the presence of many prehistoric vestiges, are remarkable testimonies to Prehistory. From 10,000 BC to the first centuries of our era, successive peoples left many archaeological remains, habitations, burial mounds and enclosures which have yielded abundant lithic and ceramic material. However, it is the rock art (engravings and paintings) that have made Tassili world famous as from 1933, the date of its discovery.  15,000 engravings have been identified to date. The property is also of great geological and aesthetic interest:  the panorama of geological formations with "rock forests" of eroded sandstone resembles a strange lunar landscape. Criterion (i): The impressive array of paintings and rock engravings of various periods gives world recognition to the property.  The representations of the Round Heads Period evoke possible magic-religious practices some 10,000 years old, whereas the representations of the Cattle Period depicting daily and social life, and which are amongst the most famous prehistoric parietal art, have an aesthetic naturalistic realism.  The last images represent the taming of horses and camels. Criterion (iii): The rock art images cover a period of about 10,000 years.  With the archaeological remains, they testify in a particularly lively manner to climate changes, changes in fauna and flora, and particularly to possibilities provided for farming and pastoral life linked to impregnable defensive sites during certain prehistoric periods. Criterion (vii): With the eroded sandstone forming "rock forests", the property is of remarkable scenic interest. The sandstone has kept intact the traces and marks of the major geological and climatic events. The corrosive effects of water, and then wind, have contributed to the formation of a particular morphology, that of a plateau carved by water and softened by the wind. Criterion (viii): The geological conformation of Tassili n'Ajjer includes Precambrian crystalline elements and sedimentary sandstone successions of great paleo-geographical and paleo-ecological interest. Humans lived in this area by developing cultural and physiological behaviour adapted to the harsh climate; their vestiges date back to several hundreds of thousands of years. The rock art of Tassili n'Ajjer, is the most eloquent expression of relationships between humans and the environment, with more than 15,000 drawings and engravings testifying to climate changes, wildlife migrations, and the evolution of humankind on the edge of the Sahara. This art depicts water-dependent species like the hippopotamus, and species which have been extinct in the region for thousands of years. This combination of geological, ecological and cultural elements is a highly representative example of a testimony to life. Integrity: The property contains all the key rock art sites and landscapes representing its natural beauty and all the sites of biological and ecological diversity that compose the attributes of Outstanding Universal Value. The boundaries and the size (72,000 sq. km) of the property ensure the maintenance of the geological process and the cultural heritage integrity of the site. Authenticity: The richness of the cultural heritage of rock art and archaeological vestiges, together with the natural diversity of the ecosystem, fauna, flora and wetlands, fully reflect Outstanding Universal Value. It is vulnerable to deterioration caused by climatic phenomena, and to damage caused by visitors. Protection and management requirements: Given the contemporary geostrategic challenges, and the new patterns of territorial development and rehabilitation of the bordering Saharan regions, and in the framework of the cultural heritage law (Law 98-04 on the Protection of Cultural Heritage), the Ministry of Culture introduced a new category of protection of cultural and natural values: the cultural park - a concept of protection of geographical spaces in which the different cultural and natural values are interlinked and juxtaposed in an intelligible configuration.
Based on this identification, rules for organization and management have been defined, as well as the structures and mechanisms that govern these spaces, from the prehistoric cave to the existing urban fabric, in a general territorial development plan, a legal and technical instrument for policy and planning that associates the sectors of culture, the interior and local collectivities, the environment, forests. Thus, sustainable management of the heritage of Tassili is included in the framework of the implementation of the Cultural Heritage Law and its texts of application  concerning the creation and organization of the Tassili Park Office, a public establishment of an administrative nature (EPA), the missions of which are the protection, conservation and enhancement of the cultural and natural heritage. This establishment is run by a director appointed by decree, and managed by an Advisory Board which includes representatives of the various ministerial departments and local representatives. It has an annual operating budget for the implementation of the Action Plan, in the framework of a participatory management policy integrating the different partners, and a capital budget for the realization of major development projects and infrastructures.
The research programmes underway in the Park respond, firstly, to the major challenges in the conservation of the fragile and vulnerable cultural and natural heritage subjected to extreme weather conditions, then to the demands of socialization, education and the promotion of best practices for the sustainable use of the cultural and natural diversity amongst the park residents. The property management also reflects the strong regional value of Tassili n'Ajjer as one of the essential elements of an ecological belt, which includes plant and animal species typical of the Sahara, as well as tropical and Mediterranean species, adapted to the rigors of the climate. Tourism activity which generates income and jobs for local people is subject to conditions which ensure better use of natural and cultural resources. Tourism is strictly controlled; the groups of visitors are always accompanied by an official guide. One of the long-term imperatives in this immense property will remain tourism management.
* Al Qal'a of Beni Hammad Fort (1980)
In a mountainous site of extraordinary beauty, the ruins of the first capital of the Hammadid emirs, founded in 1007 and demolished in 1152, provide an authentic picture of a fortified Muslim city. The mosque, whose prayer room has 13 aisles with eight bays, is one of the largest in Algeria. The Qal'a of Beni Hammad is a remarkable archaeological site located 36 km to the north-east of the town of M'Sila. This ensemble of preserved ruins, at 1,000 m altitude, is located in a mountainous setting of striking beauty on the southern flank of Djebel Maâdid. The Qal'a of Beni Hammad was founded at the beginning of the 11th century by Hammad, son of Bologhine (founder of Algiers), and abandoned in 1090 under the threat of a Hilalian invasion. It is one of the most interesting and most precisely dated monumental complexes of the Islamic civilization. It was the first capital of the Hammadid emirs and enjoyed great splendour. The Qal'a comprises, within 7 km of partially dismantled fortified walls, a large number of monumental vestiges, among which are the great Mosque and its minaret, and a series of palaces. The mosque, with its prayer hall comprising 13 naves of 8 bays is the biggest after that of Mansourah and its minaret is the oldest in Algeria after that of Sidi Bou Merouane. The ruins of the Qal'a bear witness to the great refinement of the Hammad civilization, an original architecture and the palatial culture of North Africa. Criterion (iii): The Qal'a of Beni Hammad bears exceptional testimony to the Hammadid civilization now disappeared. Founded in 1007 as a military stronghold, it was elevated to the level of metropolis.  It has influenced the development of Arab architecture as well as other civilizing influences, including the Maghreb, Andalusia and Sicily. The archaeological and monumental vestiges of the Qal'a of Beni Hammad, among which are included the Great mosque and its minaret as well as a series of palaces, constitute the principal resources that testify to the wealth and influence of this Hammadid civilization. At the time of inscription, the attributes that characterise the property were the remains of the 7 km of fortified walls and all the monumental vestiges contained therein. The State Party intends to propose the revision of the boundaries of the property and to establish a buffer zone to protect the exceptional environment of the site. The integrity of the property is assured but the vestiges remain vulnerable to natural degradation and weathering. All the attributes of the property such as the archaeological vestiges, the surrounding walls, the mosques, palaces and minaret form a coherent ensemble and remain intact. Protection and management requirements: The protection of the site relates to National Law 98-04 concerning the protection of cultural heritage. The management of the site is entrusted to the Office of Cultural Properties Management and Exploitation (OGEBC), with the site manager being responsible for everyday management. The OGEBC is responsible, besides public service missions, protection, maintenance and presentation, of the implementation of the protection and presentation plan of the site (PPMVSA). This is done in coordination with the Directorate for Culture of the Wilaya of Setif, and specifically with a service responsible for conservation and presentation of cultural heritage. The need for funding and specialised professional personnel is still very important for the implementation of the plan. The management must focus on the restoration and conservation programme of the vestiges. The site is hardly visited - a few thousand visitors annually - and tourism does not constitute a threat for its conservation.
* M'Zab Valley (1982)
A traditional human habitat, created in the 10th century by the Ibadites around their five ksour (fortified cities), has been preserved intact in the M’Zab valley. Simple, functional and perfectly adapted to the environment, the architecture of M’Zab was designed for community living, while respecting the structure of the family. It is a source of inspiration for today’s urban planners. Located 600 km south of Algiers, in the heart of the Sahara Desert, the five ksour (fortified villages) of the M'Zab Valley form an extraordinarily homogenous ensemble constituting, in the desert, the mark of a sedentary and urban civilization possessing an original culture that has, through its own merit, preserved its cohesion throughout the centuries. Comprised of ksour and palm groves of El-Atteuf, Bounoura, Melika, Ghardaïa and Beni-Isguen (founded between 1012 and 1350), the M'Zab Valley has conserved practically the same way of life and the same building techniques since the 11th century, ordered as much by a specific social and cultural context, as by the need for adaptation to a hostile environment, the choice of which responded to a historic need for withdrawal and a defensive imperative. Each of these miniature citadels, surrounded by walls, is dominated by a mosque, the minaret of which functions as a watchtower. The mosque is conceived as a fortress, the last bastion of resistance in the event of a siege, and comprises an arsenal and a grain store. Around this building, which is essential for communal life, are houses built in concentric circles up to the ramparts. Each house constitutes a cubic cell of standard type, illustrating an egalitarian society founded on the respect for the family structure, aiming at the preservation of its intimacy and autonomy.  At the beginning of the first millennium, the Ibadis created in the M'Zab, with local materials, a vernacular architecture which, with its perfect adaptation to the environment and the simplicity of its forms, is an example and an influence for contemporary architecture and town-planning. Criterion (ii): The anthropic ensembles of the M'Zab Valley bear witness, by their exceedingly original architecture dating from the beginning of the 11th century and by their rigour and organization, to an outstanding and original occupation model for human settlements of the cultural area of central Sahara.  This model settlement has exercised considerable influence for nearly a millennium on Arab architecture and town-planning, including architects and town-planners of the 20th century, from Le Corbusier to Fernand Pouillon and André Raverau. Criterion (iii): The three elements constituting the urban ensembles and settlements of the M'Zab Valley: ksar, cemetery, and palm grove with its summer citadel, are an exceptional testimony of the Ibadis culture at its height and the egalitarian principle that was meticulously applied by the Mozabite society. Criterion (v): The elements constituting the M'Zab Valley are an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement, representative of the Ibadis culture that, through the ingenious system for the capture and distribution of water and the creation of palm groves, demonstrates the extremely efficient human interaction with a semi-desert environment. Integrity (2009): The boundaries of the site are well defined and include all the attributes of the property. Restoration operations of historical cultural and cult monuments (mausoleums and mosques), the defensive system (surround, watchtowers, ramparts and house ramparts) and the hydraulic system, contribute towards the maintenance of integrity. Despite the effects of pressure from town development and minor damages caused by occasional flooding, the attributes of the property are not threatened and the M'Zab Valley property still retains intact its conditions of integrity. Authenticity (2009): The authenticity of the site can be attributed to its configuration, divided into sections, the layout and traditional constructions of the ksour, particularly in the intra muros areas. The maintenance of traditional functions in these areas has strengthened the viability of the property and contributed towards the maintenance of its integrity.
Protection and management requirements (2009): The management and protection of the M'Zab Valley property are entrusted to the Office for the Protection and Promotion of the M'Zab Valley (OPPVM), the main tasks of which concern the enforcement of legislation concerning the protection of cultural heritage, the constitution of a data bank of the monuments and sites and promotion, research and training in the fields of traditional building and artisanal crafts. In conformity with these tasks, and in the framework of Law 98/04 concerning the protection of cultural heritage, the M'Zab Valley has been promoted to the Safeguarded Sector, with provisions in conformity with the maintenance of its integrity. The M'Zab Valley has experienced a much accelerated urban and demographic growth since the beginning of the 1980s due to its strategic location between the north and south of the country. The development of a safeguarding plan would enable the safeguarding and valorisation of the cultural heritage of the Valley notably through the control of urban growth in the vicinity of the palm groves, flood areas as well as the constitutive elements of the natural landscape.
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Last updated : 11-Jul-2019

This article was produced by South African History Online on 21-Mar-2011

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