Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Constantine, the capital of the province of the name in Algeria, stands about 50 miles inland from the port of Philippeville on the site of the ancient Cirta, and occupies a rocky height, 2,100 feet above sea-level, being cut off on three sides by a deep ravine, through which flows the Rummel. The original town was destroyed by fire in 311 A.D., and Constantine the Great, who rebuilt the place, gave it his name. The stones of the existing walls, the old bridge over the ravine, a part of the kasba or citadel, now a hospital, are Roman. The streets and houses of the oriental town as it existed before French occupation are tortuous, dirty, and dilapidated, but the modern quarter is well laid out with broad thoroughfares, trees, and fountains. The Place Nemours and the Place du Palais are fine squares. Among the public buildings are the mosque of Souka-er-Rezel (1143), now transformed into a Catholic church, that of Sidi-el-Kattani, the great mosque (Djama-Kebi) on the site of an ancient Pantheon, the harem of Salah, and the town-hall. There are the usual schools, hospitals, and other buildings of a provincial capital. A considerable trade is carried on with the coast and the interior, and the chief manufactures are woollen goods and saddlery. Originally the residence of the kings of the Massylii and the birthplace of Massinissa and Jugurtha, it declined under Rome. Caesar gave a part of the territory to Sittius, who founded the Colonia Sittianorum. It was destroyed in the rebellion of the usurper Alexander against Maxentius. Passing into Turkish hands, it became the seat of a bey under the Dey of Algiers, but in 1826 asserted its independence, which it maintained until conquered by Marshal Valee in 1837. The province has an area of 67,576 square miles, and is bounded E. by Tunis.