Constantine, Algeria


Constantine, Algeria
Constantine
قسنطينة, Qusanṭīnah also known as Kasantina
—  Commune and city  —
A bridge in Constantine

Coat of arms
Nickname(s): city of bridges
Constantine is located in Algeria
Constantine
Coordinates: 36°21′N 6°36′E / 36.35°N 6.6°E / 36.35; 6.6Coordinates: 36°21′N 6°36′E / 36.35°N 6.6°E / 36.35; 6.6
Country  Algeria
Province Constantine Province
District Constantine District
Government
 – President A. Chibane (2007-2012)
Area
 – Total 2,288 km2 (883.4 sq mi)
Population (2008)2008 census [1]
 – Total 448,374
 – Density 196/km2 (507.6/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)

Constantine (Arabic: قسنطينة‎, Qusanṭīnah, also spelled Qasentina also spelled as Kasantina) is the capital of Constantine Province in north-eastern Algeria. It was the capital of the same-named French département until 1962. Slightly inland, it is about 80 kilometres from the Mediterranean coast, on the banks of Rhumel river. Regarded as the capital of eastern Algeria and the centre of its region, Constantine has a population of 448,374 (1,000,000 with the agglomeration), making it the third largest city in the country after Algiers and Oran. There are museums and important historical sites around the city (one of the most beautiful one is the Palais du Bey, in the casbah)

Contents

History

The city was originally created by the Phoenicians, who called it Sarim Batim (royal city). Later it was named Cirta, which in Phoenician means a city carved into the rock. The city was taken over by Numidia, the country of the Berber people, after the Phoenicians were defeated by Rome in the Third Punic War. In 112 BC the city was occupied by Jugurtha who defeated his half-brother Adherbal. The city later served as the base for Roman generals Quintus Caecilius Metellus Numidicus and Gaius Marius in their war against Jugurtha. Later, with the removal of King Juba I and the remaining supporters of Pompey in Africa (c. 46), Julius Caesar gave special rights to the citizens of Cirta, now known as Colonia Sittlanorum.

In 311, during the civil war between emperor Maxentius and usurper Domitius Alexander (a former governor of Africa), the city was destroyed. Rebuilt in 313, it was subsequently named after emperor Constantine the Great, who had defeated Maxentius. Conquered by the Vandals in 432, Constantine returned to the Byzantine Exarchate of Africa (i.e. North Africa) from 534 to 697. It was conquered by the Arabs in the 7th century, receiving the name of Qusantina.

The city recovered and in 12th century was again a prosperous market, with connection to Pisa, Genoa and Venice. Since 1529 it was intermittently part of Ottoman Empire, ruled by a Turkish bey (governor) subordinate to the dey of Algiers. Salah Bey, who ruled the city in 1770–1792, greatly embellished it and built much of the Muslim architecture still visible today.

In 1826 the last Bey, Ahmed Bey ben Mohamed Chérif, became the new head of state. He led a fierce resistance against French forces, which invaded Algeria four years later. By 13 October 1837, the territory was reconquered by France, and from 1848 on until 1962 it was an integral part of the French motherland and centre of the Constantine Département.

In World War II, during the campaign in North Africa (1942–43), Constantine and the nearby city of Sétif were used by the Allied forces as operational bases.

Geography

Constantine is situated on a plateau at 640 metres (2,100 ft) above sea level. The city is framed by a deep ravine and has a dramatic appearance. The city is very picturesque with a number of bridges over Rhumel river and a viaduct crossing the ravine. The ravine is crossed by four bridges, including Pont Sidi M'Cid. Constantine is the railhead of a prosperous and diverse agricultural area. It also a centre of the grain trade and has flour mills, a tractor factory, and industries producing textiles, wool, linen and leather goods.[citation needed] Algeria and Tunisia serve as its markets.

Climate

Climate data for Constantine
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 78.8
(26.0)
77.9
(25.5)
82.8
(28.2)
88.9
(31.6)
94.1
(34.5)
101.7
(38.7)
112.1
(44.5)
110.8
(43.8)
102.2
(39.0)
93.6
(34.2)
84.4
(29.1)
78.4
(25.8)
112.1
(44.5)
Average high °F (°C) 56.1
(13.4)
56.7
(13.7)
60.4
(15.8)
65.5
(18.6)
73.2
(22.9)
79.3
(26.3)
86.9
(30.5)
87.8
(31.0)
77.4
(25.2)
69.3
(20.7)
61.0
(16.1)
55.4
(13.0)
69.08
(20.60)
Average low °F (°C) 38.3
(3.5)
38.8
(3.8)
40.5
(4.7)
44.6
(7.0)
52.7
(11.5)
56.5
(13.6)
61.2
(16.2)
61.2
(16.2)
56.7
(13.7)
50.9
(10.5)
45.3
(7.4)
38.1
(3.4)
48.73
(9.29)
Record low °F (°C) 14.5
(−9.7)
17.1
(−8.3)
23.4
(−4.8)
32.5
(0.3)
39.6
(4.2)
40.8
(4.9)
43.0
(6.1)
42.8
(6.0)
39.6
(4.2)
31.8
(−0.1)
26.8
(−2.9)
14.9
(−9.5)
14.5
(−9.7)
Precipitation inches (mm) 2.457
(62.4)
2.476
(62.9)
1.803
(45.8)
1.831
(46.5)
1.138
(28.9)
0.685
(17.4)
0.634
(16.1)
0.602
(15.3)
0.85
(21.6)
1.346
(34.2)
2.051
(52.1)
2.657
(67.5)
18.48
(469.4)
Source: [1]

People

Constantine is the native city of the Islamic reformer Ben Badis. It is also the hometown of many noteworthy people in Algeria and France.

Capture of Constantine by French troops, 13 October 1837. Horace Vernet.

Main sights

US Army map of Constantine during ww2

The city is framed by a deep ravine and has a dramatic appearance. The city is very picturesque with a number of bridges and a viaduct crossing the ravine.

  • Gustave Mercier Museum (displays of ancient and modern art).
  • Abd al Hamid Ben Badis Mosque.
  • The Constantine Casbah.
  • Emir Abd al-Qadir University and Mosque.
  • Soumma Mausoleum
  • Massinissa's Mausoleum
  • The Palace of Ahmed Bey.
  • Ruins of the Antonian Roman aqueduct.
  • Ben Abdelmalek Stadium

Nearby is the Roman city of Tiddis and the megalithic monuments and burial grounds at Djebel Mazala Salluste.

The city of bridges

Bridge of the Falls (Arabic:  جسر الشلالات)

The topography of the city is unique and it determines the need for bridges. At the end of the XIX century, Guy de Maupassant wrote: "Eight bridges used to cross this ravine. Six of these bridges are in ruins today." Today the most important bridges are:

  • the suspension bridge also named Sidi-M'Cid (1912) (168m long),
  • the El-Kantara bridge which leads toward north,
  • the Sidi Rached bridge (1912), a long viaduct of 447ms and 27 arches, built by Paul Séjourné,
  • the Devil's bridge,
  • the Falls bridge,
  • the Perregaux bridge.
  • the new cable-stayed bridge of Constantine, designed by Dissing+Weitling architecture
  • the city des chasseurs bridge, which connect the city( cite des chasseurs) to the university site

Education

Constantine has multiple universities: Mentouri, designed by the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, and Algerian architect Rashid Hassaine, Zerzara, and the Islamic University of El amir Abdelkader, Constantine will have another university town under construction in the nouvelle ville

International relations

Constantine, Algeria 1840

Twin towns — Sister cities

Constantine is twinned with:

France Grenoble, France[2]
Turkey Istanbul, Turkey
Tunisia Sousse, Tunisia

References

  1. ^ "meteo-constantine". meteo-algerie.org. http://meteo-algerie.org/meteo-constantine. Retrieved June 28, 2011. 
  2. ^ Jérôme Steffenino, Marguerite Masson. "Ville de Grenoble - Coopérations et villes jumelles". Grenoble.fr. http://www.grenoble.fr/jsp/site/Portal.jsp?page_id=92. Retrieved 2009-10-29. [dead link]

External links


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