First broadcast date
In Punic language, Tipaza means crossing point. Its ancient past makes it a historical and archaeological city.
The town is located on the coast, at the foot of Mount Chenoua, at the end of the Sahel hills. This port-city was chosen by the Phoenicians on the way to the Pillars of Hercules, to set up one their famous counters. The ancient remains show the importance of Tipaza that flourished remarkably under the reign of the Numidia sovereign Juba II;
It was one of the best residential towns on the Mediterranean coast, and its ruins testify to its former splendor.
The presence of the sea and the contours of the Chenoua and the Dahra give the city a particular landscape and make it a popular destination.
EPTV - 1st national channel
- Tourism and cultural sites / Archaeological sites
Credits / Cast
- Abdelaziz Rahim - Director
- Algeria - Centre - Tipaza
In ancient times, Tipaza, forever immortalized in the Albert Camus novella, Noces à Tipasa (Nuptials at Tipasa), published in 1938, was a considerably important port city marked by the successive Punic, Roman and Christian civilizations. The supposed, but disputed source of its name means “passage” or “a place of passage”, which summarizes its complex historic situation. It was a Phoenician counter established on the Mauretanian coast around the end of the sixth century BC and a coastal trade hub, this city, 60 kilometers away from Algiers, is in direct proximity to Cherchell (Cherchel), known in ancient times as Caesarea. The Numidian king Juba II (50 BC – 23 AD), brought back triumphantly by Caesar in 46 BC when he was still a child, raised in Rome within the elite, made this city the capital of his kingdom, which he inherited from Augustus in the year 23 BC. Juba II is remembered as an erudite king, a lover of Greek and Latin culture which he discovered in Rome. The erroneously called “Tomb of the Christian Woman” is in fact the Mausoleum for his first wife, Cleopatra Selene, daughter of Mark Anthony and Cleopatra VII. Under the reign of the emperor Claudius, Tipaza became a municipium and did not become a roman colony until the reign of Hadrian. The monuments that today make up the city’s archeological sites date back to these times. Thanks to the archeological exploration of French archeologist Stephane Gsell, who rediscovered the sites since at end of the nineteenth century, the ancient city has been rediscovered and reclaimed by the local population, thanks in part also to his Archeological Guide of the Surroundings of Algiers, Cherchell, Tipaza, The Tomb of the Christian Woman (1896). The digs undertaken during the mid-twentieth century revealed the existence of a defensive enclosure riddled with fortified doors, and uncovered the city forum, judicial basilica, theater, amphitheater, thermal baths, two temples and, in brief, all the elements of a classic roman imperial city. At the third stage of its history, the Early Christian era marked the sites. The Christianization of the city took place between the fifth and sixth centuries BC, visible through the fact that some buildings were now used for Christian goals and the building of three cimeterial basilicas with their respective funerary enclosures. The importance and beauty of their situation is one of the characteristics of the actual Tipaza sites. Algerian TV chose Tipaza for a reason. It was classified as a World Heritage Site in 1982 and became a touristic hotspot. It illustrates and tells the story of an official dialog of continuity between ancient times fraught with cultural diversity and the current Algerian state, the contemporary legitimate heir of these successive traditions that no culture can claim as solely their own. The modern management of the city, commented by the director of the Tipaza touristic village, are made to welcome Algerian families as well as eventual foreign families from Europe or the Maghreb. This national assimilation of the ancient Roman city’s heritage is echoed in this report within the advertisment for this « traditional art that truly represents [our] heritage”.
Stéphane Gsell, Guide archéologique des environs d’Alger, Cherchel, Tipasa, Tombeau de la Chrétienne, 1896
Serge Lancel et Mounir Bouchenaki, Tipasa de Maurétanie, Alger, Ministère de la Culture, 1990 (2ème édition).