Website Category: Frontiers of the Roman Empire
Criteria: (ii) interchange of values (iii) cultural tradition (iv) icon of an era
Location and Values: Timgad is located on the northern slopes of the Aures Massif, about 60 km east of Batna, and 170 km south of the Mediterranean coast. It was built in 100 AD by the Roman Emperor Trajan, as a military garrison town, controlling one of the main passes through the Aures Mountains to the Sahara. Established on a perfect square grid, it is a prime example of Roman town planning.
The town soon outgrew its original plan, and additional structures were added outside the grid. But it was a relatively short-lived settlement, invaded by Vandals in 430 AD and sacked by local tribes at the end of the 5th century. It was revived briefly by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian from 539 AD, but was finally abandoned after the 7th century Arab invasion.
Today the archaeological site is striking for its perfect layout, and includes all the usual elements of a classic Roman settlement – public baths, a library, forum, Capitol, and triumphal arch. Outside the original town stands the later Byzantine Fort, a massive military structure yet to be fully excavated.
Slideshow of Timgad:
Google Earth View: To view satellite imagery of Timgad on Google Earth, click here. This opens a new window, so when you are finished, just close the Google Earth page and you will be straight back here to continue browsing.
Links to other places featuring the frontiers of the Roman Empire: Djemila I Tipaza I Cyrene I Leptis Magna I Sabratha I El Jem I Carthage I Dougga I Volubilis
Other Links: Official UNESCO Site Details