✈️Tourism-Tlemcen’s historic sites: Large numbers of tourists drawn by extraordinary beauty


The historic and natural sites of Tlemcen recorded, in the first half of August, a large influx of tourists who came to discover the ancestral past of the capital of Zianides.

The Royal Palace, located in the citadel of El Mechouar (13th century) in the heart of the city, which is a reconstruction of one of the four palaces of the Zianid era, is a real attraction for visitors.
On a daily basis, hundreds of Algerian families and foreigners visit this architectural palace, inaugurated during the Islamic cultural event of Tlemcen in 2011.


The religious complex of Sidi Boumedienne with its mausoleum, mosque and Khaldounian Medersa, located on the heights of the village of El Eubbad, in addition to the minaret of Mansourah are also among the most attractive historical sites of Tlemcen.

Tlemcen is not limited to archaeological and historical sites, visitors are also attracted by waterfalls, forests and caves. This exceptional natural beauty has always inspired poets and singers.
Tlemcen has more buildings dating from the 12th to the 15th century than any other town in Algeria. With the exception of the Great Mosque built by the Almoravids in the 12th century, most of the city’s medieval buildings strongly reflect the influence of Moorish (Muslim) Spain. The Mosque of Sīdí bel Ḥassan (1296, now a museum), the Méchouar, or citadel (1145, now a military hospital and barracks), the Sahrij, or Great Basin (a 14th-century reservoir, now dry), and the Grotto of Rabbi Ephraim ben Israel Ankawa (15th century) are notable landmarks. Tlemcen’s winding, narrow, arched streets are crowded with shops, cafés, and mosques. The ruins of the Marīnid city of Mansoura to the west has notable examples of Hispano-Moorish art.

Top Places to Visit in Tlemcen

1. Grand Mosque

Tlemcen’s Grand Mosque is one of North Africa’s most important Islamic buildings. Begun by the Almoravid leader Youssef ben Tachfine around 1091, it has been substantially rebuilt several times over the centuries but retains some important early features, including the mihrab, elaborately decorated in stucco and carved stone, and a fine cupola with a massive chandelier. More impressive, however, is the atmosphere of reverence that fills the building. There are 133 steps to the top of the minaret, the oldest in this part of the Maghreb and the highest in town. To visit the mosque, you must dress conservatively.


2. Mosque & Tomb of Sidi Boumediene

About 1.6km southeast of the city centre, as the crow flies, lies one of Algeria’s most beautiful complexes, the mosque and tomb of Sidi Boumediene, which remains a place of huge spiritual significance for Algerians even today. Across the way stands the mosque, built by Abou el-Hassan in 1328. The building is both grand and beautiful. A stairway leads to a massive entrance porch and, through massive bronze-clad cedar doors, to the mosque, an open-sided, rectangular prayer space, beautifully proportioned and finely decorated in tiles and carved stucco.


3. Tlemcen Museum

Given the wealth of history in these parts, you would be forgiven for expecting the museum to be equally rich. It is not. Arranged over two floors, the collection is basic and the arrangement is confusing, with Almoravid, Merenid and Zianid coins, brass lamps, carved stile and stucco all jumbled together. Among the treasures are 15th-century carved epitaphs from royal tombs. Also worth finding are the 1940s oil paintings by local artist Abdelhalim Hemeche.


4. Mechouar

The Mechouar, a 12th Century citadel, is one of the town’s centrepieces. The Zianide ruler Yaghmorassen moved his residence here in the early 14th century and a mosque was built in the 1310s. The Ottoman admiral Barbarossa used it as his stronghold in the 16th century and the French followed suit, using it as a barracks and hospital. Today the Mechouar offers a place of peace inside its massive walls and across its broad esplanade. The entrance is on Ave Cdt Ferradj.


5. Mansourah

Mansourah – the victorious – never lived up to its name. It started as the camp where Merinid sultan Abou Yacoub settled his army in 1299, when he besieged Tlemcen. The siege lasted eight years, during which the camp became a residence, complete with palace and mosque. Just as the city was about to fall, the sultan was murdered by one of his slaves and the Merinids retreated. Remains of the 12m-high walls that protected the camp stretch across the olive groves far into the distance. The main sight here is the remains of the massive mosque, rebuilt by Sultan Abou el-Hassan of Fès when he came to besiege Tlemcen in 1335.







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