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Constantine, the City of the Hanging Bridges

    No other city on the Algerian country or even on the African continent is more associated with high bridges than Constantine. Constantine is the third largest city in Algeria (Northeastern province), about 80 kilometers from the Mediterranean coast. It was called "Cirta" by the Numidian king Syphax who turned it into his capital and later it was renamed "Constantina" in honor of the Emperor Constantine the Great. The city was invaded and ruled by the Phoenicians, the Romans, Ottomans, and French. Constantine‘s geography is unique for having a deep river gorge running right through its center called "the Rhumel River". 

    Constantine is often referred to as the "City of Bridges" due to the numerous picturesque bridges connecting the various hills, valleys, and ravines that the city is built on and around. Some are for cars and vehicles and others are for pedestrians.

The most important bridges are the following:
One of many high bridges that cross the Rhumel River gorge, the highest and most spectacular of all is the Sidi M’Cid suspension bridge that is opened in April 1912.It is also known as the Suspended Bridge with a length of 164m and which remained the highest bridge in the world till the Royal Gorge Bridge in Colorado opened in November 1929. It is Constantine’s iconic monument .It was designed by French engineer Ferdinand Arnodin. The bridge links the Casbah to the slopes of Sidi M’Cid hill. Views of town and the gorge, 175m below, are stunning. It is the most spectacular bridge in Constantine.

El Kantara Bridge which leads toward north is the oldest stone bridge in Constantine. It’s was built in 1863 and bears the markings of Roman and French architectural style. The bridge is 128 meters long and 125 meters high.
Sidi Rached Bridge was designed by in 1912 by Paul Sejourne. It is most memorable because of its length of 447 meters. From it, there is a magnificent and beautiful view over the Rhumel River.
The Devil’s Bridge, a tiny beam bridge, is only for pedestrians. It was built in the 17th century during the Ottoman Empire ruling. The name is associated with the sounds that the river makes below.
 Falls Bridge is formed by a series of arches on top of a waterfall .It was built in 1925. It is 80 meters high and is one of the most beautiful bridges in Constantine.

The Perregaux Bridge was constructed by the French Engineer Ferdinand Arnodin in 1962. It is 125 meters long and is believed to be the smaller version of the Sidi M’Cid Bridge.

The City des Chasseurs Bridge connects the city to the University Mentouri of Constantine. It was designed by the internationally recognized architect Oscar Niemeyer and he is considered a key figure in modern architecture.

The New Cable-Stayed Bridge of Constantine was designed by the famous Dissing Weitling architectural firm and finished in 2012. It is 750 meters long and 130 meters high. It is used by both pedestrians and cars. In 2008, the project was awarded the International Best Architecture Project.

    Actually, this historical city with its fascinating bridges deserves too much care and must gain more of an international recognition. The poet Malek Haddad, born in this city in 1927, once wrote: “You do not introduce Constantine. It introduces itself, and you salute it. It reveals herself and we discover each other.” 

Written by ARAB Sabrina

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