tiddis: algeria’s red roman city of the gods

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Castellum Tidditanorum, or Tiddis, is one of the least known and studied archaeological sites in Algeria and potentially one of its richest. Fully thirty hectares have yet to be excavated, and nothing much in the way of excavation has happened since the early 1970s. Located northwest of Constantine, the city dates back to the first millennium B.C.E.

Also called “The city of the gods” Tiddis is built in a strategic position high on a mountain plateau and the striking orange-red color of the natural landscape and many of the temples makes it quite a unique site. Highlights of the site include the many temples built in honor of ancient deities such as Vesta and Ceres and one of the few existing temples dedicated to the cult of Mirtha can be found there. There is also a sanctuary dedicated to Baal Hammon, a Carthaginian deity.

As with most Roman sites, the transition from pagan to christian brought with it the repurposing of temples to churches, and the Byzantine period with it additional fortifications and watchtowers.

One of the most amazing aspects of this site is that from being there you get a sense of what it must have been like to be an archaeologist at the turn of the twentieth century, as at Tiddis there are still pieces of pottery strewn about on the ground ready to be reassembled.

This red “city of the gods” is a must-see, before the site is spoiled.

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