Constantine to Annaba, Algeria
Constantine is a conservative city – almost all the women were wearing headscarves of one sort or another in contrast to other cities, and as I strolled the town one Friday evening I saw only two other women. It is during such moments that one is reminded of just how relentlessly male the public face of much of the Middle East is, in case you had forgotten. My night ended with the first call to prayer of the day at 0250 – the mosque was so close to my windows which had been flung open to catch the slightest breath of wind, that I could hear the microphone being switched on and off.
Bridge over the stunning Gorges du Rhumel
The city owes its name to the Emperor Constantine who founded it in 313AD. but its history goes back more than 2500 years. A Numidian capital under Massinissa in the 2nd century BC, it became Sirta under the Romans and thereafter subject to the same host of invaders as the rest of the country; Vandals, Byzantines, Arabs, Spanish, Turks, French. Little survives of its illustrious past today, but the ongoing renovation of the Palais Ahmed Bey will change this.