Roman ruins at Djemila: Remains of theater building (the scaena), seen looking down from the sloped seating (the cavea)
A colony founded by the Roman emperor Nerva in a mountainous area 80 km west of Constantine. The original inhabitants were Roman veterans, and it was later settled by families from Carthage and other African towns. It has been the site of a Christian community from the mid-3rd century CE. The ruins are designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The city was slowly abandoned after the fall of the Roman Empire around the 5th century and 6th century. The Muslims later dominated the region but did not reoccupy the site of Cuicul, which they renamed Djemila (“beautiful” in Arabic). Buildings present in Djemila include a theatre, two fora, temples, basilicas, arches, streets, and houses. The exceptionally well preserved ruins organize themselves around the forum of the Harsh, a large paved square, the entry to which is marked by a majestic arch. Excavation and restoration began in 1909.