Cities in Algeria: Constantine

Cities in Algeria: Constantine Last updated on Monday 19th April 2010

Constantine is one of Algeria's principal cities and an industrial centre for the production of leather goods and linen and wool textiles. It is spectacularly set upon a stone mountain overlooking the Rhumel Gorges 200m below which are spanned by four bridges.

The site of Constantine was first settled by Phoenician traders and called Cirta. In 203BC Cirta became the capital of Numidia during the reign of the Berber chieftain Massinissa and eventually came under Roman domination. Roman influence over Cirta continued for centuries.

During the first years of the Christian Era, Cirta prospered as part of a confederation of Roman city-states and eventually as a colony of Cuicul, site of the city of Djemila, becoming one of the wealthiest cities in all of North Africa. During the 4th century the town was destroyed as the result of an uprising, but rebuilt by the Emperor Constantine who gave the city its modern name.

Constantine was captured by Abu'l Muhajir from Kairouan in the 8th century and came under the domination of a succession of North African dynasties: the Zirids, Hammadids, Almohads and Hafsids, falling to the Ottomans in the 16th century.

Over the centuries of Muslim rule, Constantine became a bastion of Islam and its inhabitants repelled the French for seven years after their occupation of Algiers, until the city was finally captured in 1837. Constantine remains a city with strong Islamic traditions.

Useful Information

Telephone area code: 04

Post Office: Place du 1er Novembre, Telephone office next door. Open 24 hours.

Tourist Offices: ONAT, 16 rue Didouche Mourad, Tel 941403

32 rue Abane Ramdane, Tel 943954

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