Tipasa – Algeria

Tipasa, Algeria

Tipaza - Panoramique

Tipasa, renowned for its Phoenician, Roman, early Christian, and Byzantine ruins, is a village located in Northern Algeria, on the Mediterranean coast, is located 65 km West of Algiers.
It offered a harbour and sheltered beaches and was settled by Phoenician sailors seeking anchorage as they travelled along North African coastal routes.

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By the 1st century BC, the North African region in which Tipasa was located, had come under indirect Roman rule.
The Roman emperor Claudius granted Tipasa partial citizenship in 43 BC.

Tipaza - Ruines

It became a colony (with full Roman citizenship) sometime within the next following 150 years.
Under Roman rule, the city acquired greater commercial and military importance because of its harbour and its central position on the system of Roman coastal roads in North Africa.

Tipaza

A wall of approximately 2,300 metres was built around the city for defence against nomadic tribes, and Roman public buildings and districts of houses were constructed within the enclosure.

Tipaza - Roman ruins 2
Tipaza - Roman ruins 3

Tipasa became an important centre of Christianity and the city saw the construction of a large number of Christian religious buildings in the later 3rd and 4th centuries.
Its fortifications did not prevent the city from being conquered by the Vandals about 429.
This ended the prosperity that the city had enjoyed during the Roman period.
In 484, during the persecution of the Catholic church by the Vandals, the Catholic bishop of Tipasa was expelled and replaced with an Arian bishop, prompting many inhabitants of the city to flee to Spain.
In the following decades the city fell into ruin.

Tipaza - Roman ruins 5
Tipaza
Tipaza - Roman theatre

Although some repairs were made following the Byzantine conquest of North Africa in the 6th century, Tipasa remained largely neglected until the modern village was founded in 1857.
Among Tipasa’s important archaeological sites are the pre-Roman necropolises, which contain a number of Phoenician tombs. Ruins from the Roman period include a forum, a curia, four thermal baths, and a theatre, as well as a Christian cemetery and a large Christian basilica with nine naves. To the east of Tipasa’s harbour are ruins of two more Christian basilicas and a cemetery.
Since 2002, it has been declared by UNESCO a “World Heritage Site”.

Albert Camus was a French philosopher, author, and journalist, born in Algeria.
In 1939, he wrote an essay, Noces a Tipaza, essay that «celebrates the marriage of the man with the world».

Tipaza - Tombe Albert Camus
Tipaza - Stele Albert Camus

At the place where Camus liked to admire the scenery, a simple stele makes him a vibrant tribute.
« Je comprends ici ce qu’on appelle gloire : le droit d’aimer sans mesure.».
“I understand here what is called glory: the right to love without measure”.

Tipaza - Sculpture 6

Sahli Djelloul is a woodcarver, native of Tipasa.
He is in his sixties, and since the age of 15, he likes to work with wood.
The tree is a dead olive tree, desiccated but still anchored in the ground!

Tipaza - Sculpture
Tipaza - Sculpture 7
Tipaza - Sculpture 3

His work consists first of all in observing the tree and carving it in the ground, respecting its original shape. Faces, animals, beautiful figures are linked, each giving place to the other throughout the tree.
For example, a root will take the form of a snake crawling on the ground.
It gives life to trees, beauty, and utility to be contemplated again.

Tipaza - Sculpture 5
Tipaza - Sculpture 4

A very big thank you to Fouzi, Malika, Karim, Mounia, Nourredine, Karima, Hafid, Fati, Nersrine and Wassila, and their families, to make me discover their amazing country.
I’ll be back !


Travel Guides - Travel literature

Medina of Fez

Fez is the ancient capital of Morocco, an Imperial city and has retained its status as the country’s cultural and spiritual centre.. Fortress of Bjorn Nord in Fez The Medina has been founded around the 9th century by Idriss II.  It started as a small Berber village,  soon joined by families fleeing Spain and Tunisia.Street in Medina

It also houses the oldest University of Al-Karaouine and with a total population of 156,000, is also believed to be the biggest car-free urban area in the world.

The Medina has been listed UNESCO World site heritage in 1981.

The Medina counts  more than 9,000 streets and dead ends.  The streets in these areas are very narrow, and for obviouse reasons, car free.  But not donkey-free, or motorcyle-free.

Fez, Medina13,380 historic buildings have been listed and with 10,539 retail businesses, it remains the prime commercial centre in Fez.

The entire city is  surrounded by high walls. To enter the medina, you need to go trough historic city gates.

There is only one large public square, located near the geographic center of the medina. This area gives access to buses, trucks, taxis, and some private cars.

There are several other gates open to road traffic, but these roads penetrate the medina only a short distance and end at a parking area.

Golden Gates of Palais Royal

Royal Palace of Fez Royal Palace in Fez

The palace is located in Fes Jdid quarter.  It has an area size of 80 hectares, and is known for the brass gate ornamented with tilework and carved cedar woods.  It is not accessible to the public.

The Blue Gate (Bab Boujeloud)

The Blue Gate is the most iconic gate to the old medina. Blue Gate Blue Gate Market The Medina
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