Showing posts with label Algeria. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Algeria. Show all posts

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Hammam Maskhoutine Springs in Algeria

Hamman Maskhoutine, is also called “bath of the damned" is a thermal complex and commune located in Hammam Debagh, of Guelma Province, Algeria. The dramatic, multicolored travertine walls of the spring have attracted thousands of visitors since the era of the Roman Empire. The bath facilities installed by the Romans at the spring can still be used today. Hammam Maskhoutine is also used to refer to the hot springs and the legend that named the town. Hammam Dbegh is the official name of the town itself, and Hammam Chellala is the name of the thermal complex and cascade. During the Roman occupation, the town was called Aquae Thiblitanae, due to its proximity to Thibilis.
The amazing Hammam Meskhoutine hot springs have formed numerous amazing travertine formations including approximately 30 m tall mound with beautiful rimstone pools and petrified waterfalls. Most impressive group of powerful springs mound flow Travertine for most part is bright white but there are several places where the iron compounds and microorganisms have colored the travertine in various shades of red, orange and brown. Interesting formations are also several travertine trenches surrounded by walls have been formed by lime-rich thermal water flowing towards the river and precipitating the lime along its way. Some smaller ones are still "active" - with thermal water flowing through them. Some are older and "abandoned" by water, dry and crumbling.
The water is saturated with minerals such as iron and calcium carbonate. These minerals, as well as the heat, have been regarded as therapeutic for sufferers of ailments such as rheumatism and arthritis. Hammam Maskhoutine is actually a group of 10 different hot springs in a single valley. The temperature of the water in the springs can be as hot as 98 °C even can boil eggs in the outflow channels. There are many springs around the world which have same and higher temperature. Water in the springs has rather low mineralisation, with low levels of lime, chlorine and some iron salts. The overall flow rate of the thermal complex is 1,650 liters per second: approximately 100,000 liters per minute. On the site there are also numerous formations of conoid shapes.
A sad story behind the Arabic names of this town when a loval legend in which a man married his sister. As the wedding procession, including the incestuous couple, moved up the valley, a curse caused the skies to darken, and the whole wedding party was struck with lightning and turned into stone. Thus, the billowing shapes of the Hammam Maskhoutine spring are believed to come from the still-frozen wedding party and their celebratory robes. In spite of this horrific story the area around Hammam Meskhoutine is peaceful, pastoral and green. These springs have been well known since the antiquity, thus around 6 km long distance along the right bank of Chédakha River are scattered numerous thermal springs.

Friday, 19 September 2014

The Royal Mausoleum of Mauretania

The Royal Mausoleum of Mauretania is actually a tomb situated on the road between the cities of Cherchell and Algiers, in Algeria. Well, this is the final resting place of Berber Juba II and Cleopatra Selene II, who were the last king and queen of Mauretania. Cleopatra Selene II was the only daughter of the well-known Queen Cleopatra of Egypt and her husband Mark Antony. 

The mausoleum was built in 3 BC by King Juba II himself intended not just for him and his wife, but as a dynastic funeral monument for their royal descendants. The tomb is famous by numerous names. It is occasionally referred to as the Mausoleum of Juba and Cleopatra Selene. In Arabic, the mausoleum is called the Kubr-er-Rumia or Kbor er Roumia. While in French it is call Tombeau de la Chretienne or "the tomb of the Christian woman", because there is a cross-like shape of the division lines on the false door.

The mausoleum was constructed according to ancient mausoleums found in Numidia and their architectural design created from mausoleums originates in Egypt and Anatolia. Although the circular mausoleum is constructed from stone and stands on a square base with a pyramid or cone comparable structure at the top. The measurement of tomb is between 60 to 61 meters in diameter but originally believed to be 40 meters tall. Because with the passage of time and natural elements have decreased its height to about 30 meters.

This monument has been the victim of pillage very early on. The base of the monument was once ornamented with 60 Ionic columns whose capitals were stolen. Therefor in the center of the tomb there’re two vaulted chambers “whose contents were perhaps also ransacked by treasure seekers”, that can be reached by a spiral passage approximately seven feet in height and 489 feet in length. The burial chambers are detached by a short passage, and are cut off from the gallery by stone doors prepared by a single slab which can be moved up and down by levers.

Though early rulers tried several time to destroy the monument. But in 1555, the Pasha of Algiers furnished orders to pull down the mausoleum, but the attempt was reckless when big black wasps swarmed out and stung some of the workers to death. At the end of the 18th century, the attempt of Baba Mahommed got in vain to destroy the monument with artillery. However later on the French occupied Algeria the monument was well used by the French Navy for target practice. Lastly, in 1866 it was explored by order of the Emperor Napoleon III, after which the site was ordered to be protected and preserved.

In 1982, the mausoleum along with nearby archeological sites containing monuments from the Byzantine and the Phoenician ages were recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Though these archeological sites remains are protected, but the ruins face continuous threats from urban construction and expansion, open sewage drainage run offs, meager maintenance, and continuous vandalism. Due to these constant problems, these archaeological remains face an indeterminate future.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013