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Djemila - Algeria

Map showing the location of the Roman ruins at Djemila UNESCO world heritage site near Setif, Algeria

Website Category: Frontiers of the Roman Empire  

Area: 0.3km2 

Inscribed: 1982

Criteria: (iii) cultural tradition (iv) icon of an era

Location and Values:  Djemila is the location of all that remains of the ancient Roman town of Cuicul.  It lies on a strategic mountain ridge at an altitude of about 900m, some 40 km north-east of Setif and 60 km from the Mediterranean coast.  Established in the 1st century AD, it flourished during the 2nd and early part of the 3rd centuries, outgrowing its original defensive wall.  Its layout was less formal than many planned Roman towns, with streets aligned according to the demands of the hilly landscape.  It is a place of extraordinary beauty that was never destined to become a grand city.  Like its neighbour, Timgad, 120 km to the south-east, it integrated Christians into its urban fabric in the 3rd century, fell to the Vandals in 431 AD, and had a brief renaissance under the Byzantines during the first half of the 6th century, only to be abandoned after the (7th century) Arab invasion.

The site was excavated between 1909 and 1957, but much archaeological and restorative work remains to be done.  Some fine mosaics have been uncovered and the site includes good examples of the usual civic structures (baths, forum, triumphal arch, capitol, theatre, market and temples), as well as some fine houses, and a Christian Quarter which includes two basilicas, a chapel and a baptistery.  Its most striking feature is, however, its location and the way its magnificent buildings have been integrated into the mountain landscape.

Slideshow of Djemila: 

Google Earth View:  To view satellite imagery of Djemila on Google Earth, click here. This opens a new window, so when you are finished, just close the Google Earth page and you will be straight back here to continue browsing.

Links to other places featuring the frontiers of the Roman Empire:   Timgad  I  Tipaza  I  Cyrene  I  Leptis Magna  I  Sabratha El Jem Carthage  I  Dougga  I  Volubilis 

Other Links:     Official UNESCO Site Details

View across the Forum to the Arch of Caracalla in the Roman town of Djemila, a UNESCO world heritage site near Setif, Algeria Colonnades flanking the Forum of the ancient Roman town of Djemila (formerly Cuicul) , a UNESCO world heritage site near Setif, Algeria The Arch of Caracalla viewed from across the Forum of the ancient Roman town of Djemila (formerly Cuicul) , a UNESCO world heritage site near Setif, Algeria Marble statuary at the museum at the ancient Roman town of Djemila (formerly Cuicul) , a UNESCO world heritage site near Setif, Algeria



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