Djemila, another Roman city.

Djemila is another Roman city that is very well preserved. It is from the first century AD and was first populated by Roman soldiers from Italy, but it soon became a trading center and it was populated with 20000. Caracalla rebuilt part of the city with an Arch of Triumph, a new forum and a theater i a hillside.DSCF0496DSCF0513DSCF0528

In the fourth century Christianity was popular and a baptistery and a basilica were built and part of the city was called Christian quarter,DSCF0485bDSCF0489

Many of the houses had mosaic, but these were moved to a too small and overloaded museum. It was not allowed to take pictures inside the museum, but I took one before I was stopped.DSCF0467

It was plenty  of details to take pictures of and here are some.

I took some pictures of people as well, some without they being aware of it, and some I asked first.

Headstones from Timgad.

By the entrance a number of Roman head stones were put up.DSCF0420

As can be seen they were roughly the same size,shape and layout. But looking at them they were very different and it was very interesting to look closer at them. They should probably describe the person and I found myself trying to figure out exactly that.

The first must have been a farmer, he has a sheep. But he must also have grown grapes, may be making wine? I like to think that! The second is a more conventional farmer with both cow and sheep.

The first must be a mother with four children living on a farm. May be she had lost two children now riding on dolphins above her head? What are the two male figures holding her and her children up ? Aret hey workers on her farm? Are they relatives supporting her? The second is a  couple, and they look happy as do the three faces above them.

The first is clearly a loving couple, and may be the person above their head is smiling. But the second picture is a mystery to me, a nude female on a headstone?

I really enjoyed this visit, both the historical side of it, a genuine Roman city, but also the chat with the two girls who loved me blue eyes and asked if I had a son! I said yes, and they were interested until they heard his age.

Timgad, a Roman city.

Timgad was a Roman city from the first century AD. It was probably a military camp for the legions guarding the southern border. It was planned for 15000 people but the number of inhabitants increased fast. It was abandoned around 600 AD and was discovered in 1880.

It is a good example of Roman city planning with streets, library, 14 baths, theater, forum, ramparts, layout, and arch of triumph.

Unfortunately the weather was not nice, a drizzle of rain (!) and cold, but I really enjoyed strolling up the main street up to the arch. Going through the arch I found myself talking to young girls.DSCF0432b

We had a slight language problem as their English was only a bit better than my French, that does not say much. But we managed to communicate. They were facinated with my blue eyes, they thought blue eyes were so beautiful! I sang “Beautiful, beautiful brown eyes” to them, but I don’t think that made any impressions except giggles.

Numidian Mausoleum.

The Numidians were Berbs living in todays Algeria, part of Tunisia and part of Libya. They ruled before the Romans and when the Roman empire collapsed. Africa until the Islamization. They have left some huge mausoleums, and we saw two, one close to the capital Alger, and the other not far from Constantine.

The mausoleums were huge and I wonder how many tons of rocks the workers had to transport and lift. The one we actually visited was restored but was in rough shape. We could not go inside so we just went around it.

Amberd castle.

The highest mountain in Armenia is Aragat (not Ararat that is in Turkey). On the south slope of Aragat at an altitude of 2300 m above sea level is the castle Amberd. To me it is a mystery why they built a castle at that location, there is nothing to defend up there, the closest small village are many kilometers away. But there it is more than 1000 years old. It was destroyed by the mongols in 1236 and was left alone for 700 years. It is a large building and must have been hard to conquer.

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In the eleventh century a church was naturally built nearby out on the edge to the valley.

Wild leeks grew in the area and many local people were picking them for their cooking. I never thought about leeks as a wild plant. Of course all vegetables originally were wild plants.

Garni -a hellenistic temple.

The only Greco-Roman temple in Armenia with a colonnade is Garni. It was built around 76AD and was a pagan temple. After Armenia became christened the place became a summer palace for the king, and there are several other remains on the site.Garni it situated on the brink to a to a canyon-like valley. The temple was ruined in a big earth-quake in 1679 and was  rebuilt 300 years later.

It was a steep fall down to the river below and a strech had really nice columns of basalt and that was also the material used in the columns in the temple.

Ananuri – castle and church.

Upon a hilltop at the end of a lake is Ananuri, a complex of castle and church. It was first built in the 1200s and was used 600 years. We did not see much of the castle, mostly ruins.

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The church was in much better shape, and again the difference between relatively new decorations and the old fresco painting caught my attention. I definitely like the old style best.

Of course the church was decorated on the outside. It was much more stone carving on the outside than on the inside of the churches. I particularly liked this angel who seems angry, with a moustache and carrying fire (?) in his hands.

The entrance door was really decorated.

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And of course grapes.

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