The Watch

Medracen and El-Khroub Numidian Royal Mausolea

Constantine, Algeria

2008 World Monuments Watch

The mausoleum of Medracen, 25 kilometers north of Batna in northeastern Algeria, is a massive conical structure set on top of a 20-meter-high drum that is nearly 60 meters in diameter. An entrance corridor leads to the mortuary chamber, which almost certainly belonged to a Numidian king. There are only six mausolea of this type preserved in Algeria, the most famous among them at the World Heritage site of Tipasa. A few kilometers to the north of Medracen is the mausoleum of el-Khroub, which differs significantly in its construction. It has a large rectangular base, which was probably topped with columns. As two of the very few Numidian monuments preserved in the world, these mausolea have enormous historic value. The mausoleum of Medracen suffers from problems ranging from stone deterioration to looting and structural weakening. Today, prior restorations initiated without sufficient study also threaten the monument. Similar problems are faced by the mausoleum of el-Khroub. Ancient looting of metal clamps inside the tombs also contributes to their deterioration. It is hoped that listing will enable authorities to obtain the resources necessary to protect these remarkable monuments. Last update: 2008

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