Places to Go: Constantine, Algeria

Thursday, January 22, 2015 | Constantine, Algeria (map)

A 1920s footbridge spans the Rhumel River gorge, connecting Constantine's two halves.
In addition to publishing their annual "52 Places to Go" list every January, each month the New York Times Travel section solicits and publishes readers' "Places to Go" recommendations.

This month I decided to toss my hat in the ring with what I hoped was a unique and timely suggestion: Constantine, the unique and timeless capital of Algeria's east, which I've been lucky enough to visit several times. In my writeup, I packed as much color as I could within the strict 100-word limit, and also submitted three photos:
Constantine clings to the cliffs above Algeria's own grand canyon – the Rhumel River gorge, which plunges hundreds of feet below the city's dozen historic suspension bridges. Though little known abroad, Algeria's third largest city is home to lavish Ottoman palaces, an Oscar Niemeyer-designed university, and ornate hotels from the French colonial era. Timgad, Algeria's most impressive Roman ruin, is just down the road. Constantine's already vibrant cultural scene—the peak of which is an annual summer jazz festival—is getting a boost this year, as the city has been named 2015's "Capital of Arab Culture". Special events are planned year-round.
The prize patrol hasn't come knocking on my door yet, so I suppose the NYT Travel editors have identified some other, more worthy destinations. As for my own submission, I'll have to be content with it reaching this blog's, ahem, rather more limited audience.

The Palais du Bey was built by Constantine's last Ottoman ruler, just before the French takeover in the 1830s.
The Emir Abdelkader Mosque, constructed in the 1990s, dominates a Constantine hillside.

1 comment:

Fruitful Fusion said...

I really want to visit Constantine for the beautiful architecture ... oh the bridges!!!

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