Ermak Travel Guide


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Location: Djémila Map

Former name: Cuicul, Curculum

Inhabited: 1st- 6th century

Tel. 036 945 101

Entrance Fee: DA20, student DA10

Open: 9am- 12pm, 1:30- 5:30pm

Emperor Nerva (96 - 98 AD)




Description of Djemila

Djémila or Cuicul as it was known back then, was constructed by the Romans during reign of emperor Nerva (96 - 98 AD). The site was chosen at the confluence of the two rivers. Djemila is an extensive ancient Roman town that was added to a UNESCO World Heritage Site List. Unlike many Roman cities in Europe, Djemila was largely abandoned and hence it escaped a fate of vandalism by the local population. The city was inhabited by farmers and wheat traders that sold grains to all corners of the Roman Empire. In the ancient times Northern Algeria had much milder climate, that was perfect for growing crops without a threat of a sudden freeze. Residents of Djemila enjoyed their status as a major food supplier.


Two major streets, the Cardo Maximus and the Decumanus Maximus, created the two highways around which the city gradually grew. Initially the city was populated by the Roman army veterans who got their share of land. During reign of Caracalla New Forum was added to the city. In the 4th century AD Christianity spread through out the city. Its presence is marked by Baptistery as well as Christian Quarters situated in the South part of the ruins at the entrance. In the 5th- 6th century AD the site was abandoned probably due to invasion of Vandals from Europe during The Great Migration. The Arabs who conquered these lands did not rebuild the city, but they certainly marveled at the wonder of the ancient engineering giving ruins its today name of Djemila, which means "beautiful" in Arabic.


Logistics of getting there and back might be tricky. Make sure you start yearly in the morning then the sun is low and are the temperatures. Get a bus or a taxi driver. Personally I would suggest a bus. You can pinch in with other tourists to make it safer and more reliable trip. There are no hotels or motels in the village of Djemila itself. The closest you will get to civilization is probably Setif situated 50 km southwest of the site.



Djemila Theatre


Djemila Theatre used unique layout of the local terrain. Roman engineers preferred not to waste much time and material so local theatre was constructed on a side of a mountain, thus reducing the cost of any supporting structures.


Djemila Baptistery


Djemila Baptistery is one of the earliest Christian churches in Djemila and the whole Roman Empire. It is hard to tell then did Christianity first appeared in the city. Early Christians were persecuted for three centuries by the Roman emperors. So little evidence have been left behind out of fear they would be tortured or killed. However after Edict of Milan in 313 by emperor Constantine Christianity became tolerated within borders of the Roman Empire. Baptistery that was constructed in the fourth century AD is a clear evidence that by the time Constantine became head ruler Christianity was already well established in the city with many prominent city elders among its followers.









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