Constantine, Algeria

Constantine (Arabic: قسنطينةQusanṭīnah, Berber languages: ⵇⵙⴻⵏⵟⵉⵏⴰ), also spelled Qacentina[3] or Kasantina, is the capital of Constantine Province in northeastern Algeria. During Roman times it was called Cirta and was renamed "Constantina" in honor of emperor Constantine the Great. It was the capital of the French department of Constantine until 1962. Located somewhat inland, Constantine is about 80 kilometres (50 miles) from the Mediterranean coast, on the banks of the tiny Rhumel River (more of a brook).

Constantine is regarded as the capital of eastern Algeria and the commercial center of its region, and it has a population of about 450,000 (938,475[4] with the agglomeration), making it the third largest city in the country after Algiers and Oran. There are several museums and historical sites located around the city. Constantine is often referred to as the "City of Bridges" due to the numerous picturesque bridges connecting the various hills, valleys, and ravines that the city is built on and around.

Constantine was named the Arab Capital of Culture in 2015.[5]



Ville de Constantine مدينة قسنطينة 2
Pont de Sidi Msid - constantine جسر سيدي مسيد - قسنطينة
Constantine 2 قسنطينة
Monument aux morts - Constantine معلم تذكاري - قسنطينة 2
Costantine, algeria05
Gare de Constantine محطة القطار بقسنطينة
Overview of Constantine
Official seal of Constantine

City of Bridges
Location of Constantine within Constantine Province
Location of Constantine within Constantine Province
Constantine is located in Algeria
Location within Algeria
Coordinates: 36°21′N 6°36′E / 36.350°N 6.600°ECoordinates: 36°21′N 6°36′E / 36.350°N 6.600°E
Country Algeria
ProvinceConstantine Province
DistrictConstantine District
Cirta203 BC
 • PresidentA. Chibane (2007–12)
 • Total2,288 km2 (883 sq mi)
Elevation694 m (2,277 ft)
 • Total464,219
 • Density200/km2 (530/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)


Ancient history

General view, Constantine, Algeria-LCCN2001697860
General view, Constantine, 1899

The city was originally created by the Phoenicians, who called it Sewa (royal city). Later it was renamed Cirta, by the Numidian king Syphax, who turned it into his capital. The city was taken over by Numidia, the country of the Berber people, after the Phoenicians were defeated by Rome in the Third Punic War. In 112 B.C., the city was occupied by Jugurtha, who defeated his half-brother Adherbal. The city later served as the base for Roman generals Quintus Caecilius Metellus Numidicus and Gaius Marius in their war against Jugurtha. Later, with the removal of King Juba I and the remaining supporters of Pompey in Africa (c. 46), Julius Caesar gave special rights to the citizens of Cirta, now known as Colonia Sittlanorum.

In 311 AD, during the civil war between emperor Maxentius and usurper Domitius Alexander (a former governor of Africa), the city was destroyed. Rebuilt in 313 AD, it was subsequently named after emperor Constantine the Great, who had defeated Maxentius. Captured by the Vandals in 432, Constantine returned to the Byzantine Exarchate of Africa (i.e. North Africa) from 534 to 697. It was conquered by the Arabs in the 8th century, receiving the name of Qacentina.

Modern history

The city recovered in the 12th century and under Almohad and Hafsid rule it was again a prosperous market, with links to Pisa, Genoa and Venice. After 1529 it was intermittently part of Ottoman Empire, ruled by a Turkish bey (governor) subordinate to the dey of Algiers. Salah Bey, who ruled the city in 1770–1792, greatly embellished it and built much of the Muslim architecture still visible today.

Les colonnes d’assaut se mettent en mouvement.
Siege of Constantine in October 1837

In 1826 the last bey, Ahmed Bey ben Mohamed Chérif, became the new head of state. He led a fierce resistance against French forces, which had invaded Algeria four years later. By 13 October 1837, the territory was captured by France, and from 1848 on until 1962 it was an integral part of the French motherland and centre of the Constantine Département. During the period of French control, Muslim anti-Jewish riots in Constantine in 1934 killed 34 Jews.[6]

During World War II, during the campaign in North Africa (1942–43), Allied forces used Constantine and the nearby cities of Sétif and Bone as operational bases.

In 1880, while working in the military hospital in Constantine, Charles Louis Alphonse Laveran discovered that the cause of malaria is a protozoan. He observed the parasites in a blood smear taken from a soldier who had just died of malaria.[7] For this, he received the 1907 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine.[7] This was the first time that protozoa were shown to be a cause of disease. His work helped inspire researchers and veterinarians today to try to find a cure for malaria in animals.[7]

During the 11th century, Banu Hilal, an Arab tribe living between Nile and Red Sea, settled in Tunisia, Tripolitania (western Libya) and Constantinois (eastern Algeria) which was Constantine party.


Gorges du Rhummel & ponts
Constantine, canyon & bridges

Constantine is situated on a plateau at an elevation 640 metres (2,100 ft) above sea level. The city is framed by a deep ravine and has a dramatic appearance. The city is very picturesque with a number of bridges over Rhumel River and a viaduct crossing the ravine. The ravine is crossed by seven bridges, including Sidi M'Cid bridge. Constantine is the railhead of a prosperous and diverse agricultural area. It is also a centre of the grain trade and has flour mills, a tractor factory, and industries producing textiles, wool, linen and leather goods. Algeria and Tunisia serve as its markets.


Constantine has a Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification Csa), with hot, dry summers and mild, moist winters.

Main sights

Map of Constantine Algeria 1940s
US Army map of Constantine during the Second World War

The city is framed by a deep ravine and has a dramatic appearance. In 1911, Baedeker described it as "resembling the Kasba of Algiers, the picturesque charm of which has so far been marred by the construction of but a few new streets."[10]

|Sheriana Tower Constantine (STC) |Floors: 111 (112) |City: Constantine,El Menia


Sheriana Tower Constantine (STC) Map
Sheriana Tower Constantine (STC)

|Construction Starts: ??? |Construction Finished: ??? |Construction Age: ??? |Planned By: Sami

Nearby are

The City of Bridges

John Beasly Greene (American, born France - (Elcantara Bridge, Constantine, Algeria) - Google Art Project

Bridge El-Kantara, earliest photo, 1856 by John Beasley Greene

Pont des chutes

Bridge of the Falls

Sidi M'Cid

Bridge Sidi-M'Cid

Pont de Sidi Rached

Bridge Sidi Rached

Constantine bridge

Bridge El-Kantara

Old Constantine

Constantine:Old city

The topography of the city is unique and it determines the need for bridges. At the end of the 19th century, Guy de Maupassant wrote: "Eight bridges used to cross this ravine. Six of these bridges are in ruins today." Today the most important bridges are:

  • Sidi M'Cid Bridge (1912), a suspension bridge with a length of 168m,
  • El-Kantara bridge which leads toward north,
  • Sidi Rached bridge (1912), a long viaduct of 447ms and 27 arches, designed by Paul Séjourné,
  • Devil's bridge, a tiny beam bridge,
  • Falls bridge, formed by a series of arches on top of a waterfall,
  • Perregaux footbridge (1925), a suspension bridge,
  • Salah Bey Bridge (Trans-Rhummel viaduct, 2014), the first cable-stayed bridge in Constantine, designed by Dissing+Weitling architecture,
  • Meddjez Dechiche Bridge


Constantine has 2 universities: Mentouri Public University, designed by the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, and Algerian architect Rashid Hassaine, Zerzara maths and architecture university, Emir Abdelkader University which is one of the biggest Islamic universities with many faculties covering religious studies, foreign languages, literature. Constantine's new town "nouvelle ville ali mendjeli" has two big universities: Université Constantine 2 known as "lella nsoumer" offering maths, computer and economy majors, and the new university is actually a university pole with more than 20,000 students, 17 faculties and more than 40,000 residents. It is now the largest African university under the name of "Université de Constantine 3".

International relations

Constantine Algerien 002
Constantine, Algeria 1840


Constantine is served by Mohamed Boudiaf International Airport.

Twin towns — Sister cities

Constantine is twinned with:

France Grenoble, France[12]
Turkey Fatih, Turkey
Tunisia Sousse, Tunisia

Notable people

Constantine has been the hometown of many noteworthy people in Algeria and France.


  1. ^
  2. ^ "(1998-2008)" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-03-12.
  3. ^ "Constantine-Algeria". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 17 July 2015.
  4. ^ Office National des Statistiques, Recensement General de la Population et de l’Habitat 2008 Archived July 24, 2008, at the Wayback Machine 2008 population census. Accessed on 2016-01-27.
  5. ^ Utilisateur, Super. "Constantine Capital of Arab Culture 2015". Retrieved 2017-06-14.
  6. ^ Sharon Vance (10 May 2011). The Martyrdom of a Moroccan Jewish Saint. BRILL. p. 182. ISBN 90-04-20700-7. Muslim anti Jewish riots in Constantine in 1934 when 34 Jews were killed
  7. ^ a b c Bruce-Chuvatt LJ (July 1981). "Alphonse Laveran's discovery 100 years ago and today's global fight against malaria". J R Soc Med. 74 (7): 531–6. PMC 1439072. PMID 7021827.
  8. ^ "Climate Normals for Constantine". Retrieved 17 October 2016.
  9. ^ "Klimatafel von Constantine / Algerien" (PDF). Baseline climate means (1961–1990) from stations all over the world (in German). Deutscher Wetterdienst. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
  10. ^ "General View, Constantine, Algeria". World Digital Library. 1899. Retrieved 2013-09-26.
  11. ^ "Musée Gustave MERCIER - Constantine (Algérie)". Retrieved 2013-03-12.
  12. ^ Jérôme Steffenino, Marguerite Masson. "Ville de Grenoble –Coopérations et villes jumelles". Retrieved 16 May 2013.

External links

Abdelhamid Brahimi

Dr. Abdelhamid Brahimi (Arabic: عبد الحميد براهيمي‎) (born April 2, 1936, in Constantine, Algeria) is an Algerian who first served as minister of planning before becoming the prime minister of Algeria under Chadli Bendjedid. He served as PM from January 22, 1984, until November 5, 1988. He has written several books, particularly about violence in Algeria.

Abdelmalek Sellal

Abdelmalek Sellal (Arabic: عبد المالك سلال‎, translit. ʿAbd al-Mālik Silāl; born 1 August 1948) is an Algerian politician who was Prime Minister of Algeria from 3 September 2012 to 13 March 2014 and again from April 2014 to May 2017.

Ahmed Bey ben Mohamed Chérif

Ahmed Bey ben Mohamed Sherif, also known as Ahmed Bey or Hadj Ahmed Bey (Arabic: الحاج أحمد باي‎) (c. 1784 - c. 1850) was the last Ottoman Bey of Constantine, in the Regency of Algiers, ruling from 1826 to 1848. He was the successor of Mohamed Menamenni Bey ben Khan. As head of state, he led the local population in a fierce resistance to the French occupation forces. In 1837 the territory was conquered by the French, who reinstated the Bey as ruler of the region. He remained in this position until 1848, when the region became a part of the colony of Algiers and the Bey was deposed.

CS Constantine

Club Sportif Constantinois (Arabic: النادي الرياضي القسنطيني‎), also known as CS Constantine or simply CSC for short, is an Algerian club based in Constantine, Algeria. The club was founded in 1898 and its colours are green and black. Their home stadium, Stade Mohamed Hamlaoui, has a capacity of 60,000 spectators. The club is currently playing in the Algerian Ligue Professionnelle 1.


Cirta, also known by various other names in antiquity, was the ancient Berber and Roman settlement which later became Constantine, Algeria. Cirta was the capital city of the Berber kingdom of Numidia; its strategically important port city was Russicada. Although Numidia was a key ally of the ancient Roman Republic during the Punic Wars (264–146 BC), Cirta was subject to Roman invasions during the 2nd and 1st centuries BC. Eventually it fell under Roman dominion during the time of Julius Caesar. Cirta was then repopulated with Roman colonists by Caesar and Augustus and was surrounded by a "confederation of free Roman cities" such as Tiddis, Cuicul, and Milevum. The city was destroyed in the beginning of the 4th century and was rebuilt by the Roman emperor Constantine the Great, who gave his name to the newly constructed city, Constantine. The Vandals damaged Cirta, but emperor Justinian I reconquered and improved the Roman city. It declined in importance after the Muslim invasions, but a small community continued at the site for several centuries. Its ruins are now an archaeological site.

Constantine 1 University

The Université Constantine 1, formerly the University of Mentouri, is a university located in Constantine, Algeria. The university was designed by Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer and built from 1969–1972.

Constantine 2 University

The Université Constantine 2, also known as the Université Abdelhamid Mehri de Constantine (UAMC), is a university in Constantine, Algeria. Founded in November 2011.

Hamza Boulemdaïs

Hamza Boulemdaïs (born November 22, 1982 in Constantine) is an Algerian football player who is currently playing for CS Constantine in the Algerian Ligue Professionnelle 1.

Hassiba Boulmerka

Hassiba Boulmerka (Arabic: حسيبة بولمرقة‎, born 10 July 1968) is a former Algerian middle distance athlete.

Hugues Portelli

Hugues Portelli (born 22 December 1947 in Constantine, Algeria) is a member of the Senate of France, representing the Val-d'Oise department. He is a member of the Union for a Popular Movement.

Portelli is also the mayor of Ermont, a city located in the North of Paris (Val-d'Oise department) as well as a Professor of Political science and Constitutional Law at the prestigious Panthéon-Assas University.

MO Constantine

Mouloudia Olympic of Constantine (Arabic: مولودية قسنطينة‎), known as MO Constantine or simply MOC for short, is an Algerian football club based in Constantine, founded in 1939 by the reformer Abd al Hamid Ben Badis. The club colors are White and blue. Their home stadium, Stade Mohamed Hamlaoui, has a capacity of 60,000 spectators. The club is currently playing in the Ligue Nationale du Football Amateur.

Mehdi Abid Charef

Mehdi Abid Charef (born 14 December 1980 in Constantine) is an Algerian association football referee.


He also participated at the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile and the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup in India

Mohamed Boudiaf International Airport

Mohamed Boudiaf International Airport (IATA: CZL, ICAO: DABC) is an airport in Algeria, located approximately 9 kilometres (5.6 mi) south of Constantine; about 320 kilometres (200 mi) east-southeast of Algiers.

There is rising terrain northwest of the airport. The Constantine non-directional beacon (Ident: CSO) is located 7.3 nautical miles (13.5 km) southeast of the airport. The Constantine VOR-DME (Ident: CNE) is located on the field.

Mohamed Hamlaoui Stadium

Stade Mohamed Hamlaoui (Arabic: ملعب محمد حملاوي‎) is a multi-use stadium in Constantine, Algeria. It is currently used mostly for football matches. The stadium has an actual capacity of 60,000 people. It serves as the home ground of CS Constantine and MO Constantine.

Mounir Zeghdoud

Mounir Zeghdoud (Arabic: منير ذيغدوود‎; born 18 November 1970 in Constantine), Algeria, is an Algerian football former player and the current manager of RC Kouba.Zeghdoud made 34 appearances for the Algeria national football team.

Rabah Bitat

Rabah Bitat (Arabic: رابح بيطاط‎‎; ALA-LC: Rābaḥ Bīṭāṭ; 19 December 1925 in Aïn Kerma – 10 April 2000) was an Algerian politician.

Ramadan Ben-Abdelmalek Stadium

Benabdelmalek Ramdane Stadium (Arabic: ملعب رمضان بن عبد المالك‎) is a multi-use stadium in Constantine, Algeria. It is currently used mostly for football matches. The stadium holds 13,000 people. It serves as a home ground for MO Constantine and CS Constantine.

Ramy Bensebaini

Amir Selmane Ramy Bensebaini (born 16 April 1995) is an Algerian footballer who plays for Ligue 1 club Stade Rennais F.C. and the Algeria national team. He plays primarily as a central defender but can also play as a left-back and a defensive midfielder.


Thibilis (a.k.a. Tibilis) was a Roman and Byzantine era town in what was Numidia but is today northeast Algeria. The site has extensive Roman and Byzantine ruins.

Climate data for Constantine (1961–1990, extremes 1913–1992)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 24.0
Average high °C (°F) 11.5
Daily mean °C (°F) 7.1
Average low °C (°F) 2.6
Record low °C (°F) −8.8
Average precipitation mm (inches) 66.6
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 9 8 9 7 6 3 1 2 4 6 8 7 70
Average relative humidity (%) 76 73 72 70 65 54 42 48 60 68 75 76 65
Mean monthly sunshine hours 155.0 155.4 192.2 210.0 251.1 315.0 356.5 303.8 258.0 213.9 165.0 148.8 2,724.7
Mean daily sunshine hours 5.0 5.5 6.2 7.0 8.1 10.5 11.5 9.8 8.6 6.9 5.5 4.8 7.5
Source #1: NOAA (1961–1990)[8]
Source #2: Deutscher Wetterdienst (extremes, 1913–1992, precipitation days, 1975–1990, humidity, 1975–1986 and sun, 1975–1990)[9]
Constantine District
Aïn Abid District
El Khroub District
Hamma Bouziane District
Ibn Ziad District
Zighoud Youcef District

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