Batna is the name of both a city and a province in north eastern Algeria. The province, Capital of the highlands situated between the Tell Atlas in the north and the Saharan Atlas in the south, with the Chott el Hodna in the middle, it constitutes a naturally protected passage between south and north. With an estimated 2008 population of 1,128,030 disturbed over about 12,192 km2. Its climate is moderate, hot and dry during summer time; it being 800 metres above sea level the winter is tough, snowy and at times cold.
Batna is the main city of Batna Province and the fifth largest city in Algeria, with a population of around 290,645 disturbed over about 85km² making it one of the most densely populated major cities in the country. Its geographical location offers a natural break through the Atlas Mountains. It is also one of the principal cities of the Chaoui area and is considered the capital of the Aures.
The capital of Aures is 1048m of elevation and situated 435km towards the southeast side of Algiers with 12 urban sections and major crossroads. Batna has a cold semi-arid climate with Mediterranean influences. The region is an agricultural and mountainous area, where the summit of Mount Chelia, at 2,328 metres above sea level, culminates.
The city of Aures has kept its traditions through history and remained faithful to its chaoui culture. It has an important archaeological heritage including the Mausoleo Real Numida of Medracen dating from 300 BC; the remains of Diana Veteranorum Zana armellalit “Zana El-Baida”; the triumphal arch of the Roman Emperor Macrin; and the city of N'Gaous, an ancient Roman city where is located the Mosque of the seven sleepers “Djamaâ Sebaâ Rgoud” ; as well as the bridge “El Kantara” between Batna and Biskra; The Mujahid Museum (museum of Martyrs); the majestic gorges; and the Roman basin of Arris. In addition, we can’t fail to mention The Roman city of Timgad known as the «Pompeii of North Africa» or the ancient Roman city of Tobna and Lambaesis, learning their stories will really captivate the imagination. The presence of these cities shows just how far-reaching the effects of Roman rule really were. Timgad, which was built around the 1st century, had an important role in the control of commerce in those early times.
Finally, not to forget the equally important commemorative place of the outbreak of the revolution in Algeria.
On the 1st of june 1954 the reunion of 22 decided to start Djihad in Batna, the inhabitants of the city revolted against the French authorities at the beginning of colonization. Thereafter they organized the Algerian revolution against French colonialism. The Algerian revolution started at Batna under the chairmanship of Batnéen Mustapha Benboulaïd. On the night of November 1st, 1954, the barracks of the city of Batna was attacked by the mujahedeen. Batna was the 1st military region of Algeria (1954-1962) and one of the most active ones during the revolution. It was considered the command headquarters of the Algerian revolution until independence.
In conclusion, Batna is truly one of the liveliest cities in Algeria that should definitely be on your "to visit” list. It is the best destination for everyone who admires history. In addition to the beauty of the city, the kindness and hospitality of its people is far more captivating, charming every soul that passes by.
Prepared by Mourad Bouzenada (Text and images) Mahmoud Abdessemed (Video) Louiza Kouda (Batna University presentation)