The City of Constantine in the northeast part of Algeria is one of the most picturesque cities in Northern Africa.
Located on both sides of an almost 200meter gorge that splits the city in two, this unique destination is one of the main tourist attractions in the country.
The bridge that connects both sides is known as ‘Gantaret El Hibal,’ which was the highest bridge in the world when it was built in 1912.
In 2018, Constantine was named one of the “Off-the-radar cities to explore” in 2018 by the USATODAY magazine.
Note: Just don’t confuse Constantine town with the Hollywood blockbuster movie starring Keanu Reeves as the main character.
Constantine in the Past
- Constantine in the Past
- Landmarks in Constantine Today
- Where is Constantine Located?
- Where to Stay in Constantine – Hotels
- Safety in Constantine Algeria
- Final Thoughts on Constantine in Algeria
Constantine is one of the oldest cities in all of Africa, having a rich history dating all the way back to 600 BC.
It was the capital city of the Berber Kingdom of Numidia under the name of Cirta and then later became a Roman City in 46 BC.
It was not until the year 313 AD that Citra was renamed Constantine after the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great. There are only some small remains of Roman ruins left inside the city.
However, less than 2 hours away (an easy day trip) is the Roman Ruins of Djemila.
These were proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which Lonely Planet has described as “one of the world’s great archaeological sites.”
Tip: If you want to visit The Djemila, there are busses every hour to Setif, which takes approximately 2 hours.
Landmarks in Constantine Today
Today Constantine is famous for the geography of the city, which makes it a one-of-a-kind destination and a must-visit if you’re in Algeria, Africa.
Apart from the bridges of Constantine, there are plenty of things to do and places to see when visiting Constantine.
Here are some of my favorite spots in the city.
There are eight bridges that connect the two parts of the city across the 2 km (1.2 miles) long Rhummel Gorge. They offer a breathtaking height of 120 m (394 feet) on average, with the highest point being a 175 m (574 feet) tall cliff.
The most famous bridge of Constantine is the Gantaret El Hibal bridge, also called the Sidi M’Cid Bridge.
This bridge was opened to traffic back in April 1912. Until 1929 (for 17 years), it was the highest bridge in the world at 175m (574 feet).
Exploring the City of Constantine on Foot
The best thing to do in Constantine is to explore the city on foot, even though it’s Algeria’s 3rd biggest city (after Algiers and Oran).
The city is compact enough to walk around and explore on foot. But I did clock 32,000 steps on my watch by the time I got back to my hotel in the afternoon.
Tip: If you prefer exploring with a guide, this tour is a great option to walk around and learn about Constantine.
Monument Aux Orts (Monument to the Dead)
The eastern side of the Gantaret El Hibal bridge leads up to the Monument aux Morts or better known as the Monument to the dead of Constantine.
It is a monument built to remember the more than 800 soldiers from Constantine that died while fighting during World War 1.
The monument dates back to 1930 (construction started in 1918). The gate’s design is inspired by the Trajan’s Arch at the famous Timgad Roman Ruins in Algeria.
One of three Roman ruins named Unesco World Heritage sites in Algeria. The other two are Tipasa Roman ruins and Djemila.
There’s a tremendous Panoramic view from the Monument Aux Morts over the plateau below Constantine.
You’ll find a few benches here where local couples like to have a romantic time together.
Kasbah Traditional Neighborhood
The Kasbah traditional neighborhood and market are also worth a visit.
Together with the old French Theater, that’s still in its original shape; these are great examples of French architecture.
Emir Abdelkader Mosque
The Emir Abdelkader Mosque was built in 1994 and is one of the biggest in the country.
It’s also one of the world’s biggest mosques and has a capacity of 15,000 worshipers.
The 107 m tall minarets are visible to see from most of the city. It’s also Algeria’s first modern Islamic university.
Other Sites in Algeria, Constantine
There are a few famous buildings to see around the city like Charles de Gaulle’s old residence (closed for public), the parliament, and there is even an old Jewish synagogue in the town.
And just like Algiers and Oran, there is also an old cable car across the gorge in the town. However, it was unfortunately closed down during my visit.
The old train station (still running ) is another example of the former French colonial history that Algeria was part of.
On the eastern outskirts of the town is the colossal Mosque located, also worth a stop, it’s possible to walk there, but it’s much easier just to take a taxi for about 1USD.
Where is Constantine Located?
Constantine is located in the north African country of Algeria. It is the capital city of the Constantine Province – which is found in the North East. It is located inland, approximately 1h 30m drive away from the coast.
How to Travel to Constantine City, Algeria – Bus, Train, and Plane
There are busses to and from Algiers every half hour throughout the day. The trip between the two cities takes around 5 hours.
Constantine is also connected to Algiers and Annaba by train. There are three trains between Algiers and Constantine a day, two daytime trains (one direct at 7:25 am and one at 12:30 am with a change at Setif), plus a sleeper train at 9:30 pm.
If you travel back to Algiers by train, there is a daytime option at 6:40 am and a night train at 10:49 pm (which arrives back in the capital at 6:26 am). The price is about 8 Euro each way.
There’s a night train from Constantine to Annaba leaving the station at 2:50 am. Train tickets can be booked online. There is no train or bus connection to Tunisia, but there are shared taxis.
Constantine International Airport (Mohamed Boudiaf International Airport), 9km (5miles) from the city center, has several daily flights from major European cities such as Paris, Geneva, Istanbul, Marseille, Brussels, Lille, Lyon, Basel, and to neighboring Tunis. There are also Domestic flights all over Algeria.
You can take a taxi from the airport to the city center. It will cost 200 to 300 dinars $2 – $4.
There’s also an airport shuttle bus for 30 Dinars.
To get around the city, the tramway is the most comfortable. There are ten stations along the 8.1 km long tracks. There is currently work undergoing to connect the tramway with the airport.
Where to Stay in Constantine – Hotels
There are not many accommodation options in Constantine that you can book in advance online.
I stayed at the IBIS Constantine, which is located right night to the main city square.
There is also a bar here serving cold beer, one of few in the city.
Safety in Constantine Algeria
Like any anywhere in Algeria, I felt 100% safe in Constantine. There were no issues walking around the city on my own, even after dark.
Everyone was super friendly and welcoming. I really enjoyed my visit to Constantine.
Final Thoughts on Constantine in Algeria
Constantine is a beautiful tourist destination for anyone who loves unique architecture and north African scenery. You’ll find plenty of popular attractions to visit, and the transportation network makes it relatively easy to explore.
I hope your trip is as enjoyable as mine was.
Did you visit any spots that I didn’t mention? Let me know in the comments section below.