Timgad, The Algerian Roman Ruin

Timgad is a Roman Ruin that is located on the northern slopes of Aures Mountains. The complex was built during the reign of Emperor Trajan in AD100. It was formerly known as Thamugadi and was created as a military colony.

Its square enclosure was designed using the cardo and decumanus layout in line with the then progressive urban planning. It features 2 perpendicular routes running through the city. Apparently the city was designed at the height of Roman town planning development. The complex is thus endowed with some of the most beautiful Roman architectural marvels. It served the function of showing-off Roman grandeur in the Numidian region.

Timgad’s layout is based on the orthogonal grid that originated from decumanus.  It follows the military axis from the Theveste to Lambesis roads and the Cardo road on the north-south axis. Among the prominent features in the area include the forum and its annexes, the theater with a sitting capacity of 3,500, the temples, market and baths. On the north eastern sector of the city you will find the public baths, and a library.

The city grew so rapidly that by mid-2nd century it could not be contained in the narrow confines of the original plan. It spread beyond the ramparts perimeter with new public buildings coming up in the new quarters to the west. Among the most prominent private buildings included the House of Sertius, also known as the House of Hermaphrodite.

In the Early Empire rule, the city was regularly maintained, the city were especially paved with limestone slabs. Public buildings were especially well restored with decors of sumptuous mosaics.

The early Christian period saw Timgad become a bishopric and even gained more fame when its Bishop Optat became the spokesman of the Donatist heresy in the 4th century. In year 430, a Vadal invasion weakened the city which emboldened the local Aures mountains tribesmen to destroy the city. The city only saw revival in the 6th century after the Byzantine Reconquista. However, consistent Arab attacks brought a lot of destruction of the city to a point that it had to be abandoned in the 8th century.

The city retains its Roman heritage and would be a good place to visit during your tour of Algeria.

by Kennedy Runo on 08/04/2015 in Sightseeing