Bejaia or Bougie is a Mediterranean port on the Gulf of Bejaia in northern Algeria. This area of the Barbary coast witnessed invasions and colonisers through the ages, from Romans to Germanic Vandals, Byzantines, the Berber Hammadid dynasty, Moroccans, Spanish, Ottomans and the French. Under French rule, it was formerly known under various European names, such as Budschaja in German, Bugia in Italian, and Bougie. City landmarks include a 16th-century mosque and a casbah (fortress) built by the Spanish in 1545. The town is overlooked by the mountain Lalla Gouraya, whose profile is said to resemble a sleeping woman; other nearby scenic spots include the Pic des Singes (Monkey Peak) and the Zigouates beaches. All three are contained in the Gouraya National Park.
From here you can visit Djemila. This remarkably well preserved Roman site includes the Triumphal Arch to Emperor Caracalla (A.D. 216), the Grand Baths, the market and the Old Forum that features friezes and a 3rd century altar. Situated 900m above sea-level, with its forum, temples, basilicas, triumphal arches and houses, it is an interesting example of Roman town planning adapted to a mountain location.
Bejaia was a minor port in Carthaginian and Roman times. It became the capital of the short-lived African kingdom of the Germanic Vandals (founded in 429-430), but disappeared and was refounded by the Berber Hammadid dynasty (whose capital it became) in the 11th century. After a Spanish occupation (151055), the city was taken by the Ottoman Turks. Until it was captured by the French in 1833, Bejaļa was a stronghold of the Barbary pirates.
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