Souk Ahras

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Souk Ahras
Suq Ahras / Tagast سوق أهراس / ثاگاسث
City and Commune
City of Souk Ahras
The Golden Lion of Souk Ahras  Symbole of the town
The Golden Lion of Souk Ahras
Symbole of the town
Location of Souk Ahras
Souk Ahras is located in Algeria
Souk Ahras
Souk Ahras
Location of Souk Ahras within Algeria
Coordinates: 36°17′11″N 7°57′4″E / 36.28639°N 7.95111°E / 36.28639; 7.95111Coordinates: 36°17′11″N 7°57′4″E / 36.28639°N 7.95111°E / 36.28639; 7.95111
Country  Algeria
Province Souk Ahras (seat)
District Souk Ahras (coextensive)
Government
 • PMA Seats 33
Elevation 699 m (2,293 ft)
Population (2011)
 • Total 156,745
Time zone CET (UTC+01)
Postal code 41000
Area code(s) +213 (37)
ONS code 4101
Website www.soukahrastourisme.com

Souk Ahras (Berber: Suq Ahras or Tagast; ancient name: Thagast; Arabic: سوق أهراس‎) is a municipality in Algeria. It is the capital of Souk Ahras Province. The Numidian city of Thagaste (or Tagaste), on whose ruins Souk Ahras was built, was the birthplace of Augustine of Hippo and a center of Berber culture.[1][2] It was a city of great culture, described as the very hub of civilization.[3]

Etymology[edit]

The name derives from the Arabic word "souk" which means market, and the Chaoui Berber word ahra (plural ahras) which means lion, in reference to the Barbary lions which existed in the neighboring forests until their extinction in 1930; hence Souk Ahras means market of lions (see also Oran (Wahran) and Tahert for names with a related etymology).

Number of Wild animals killed in Souk Ahras between 1877 and 1892
Year 1877 1878 1879 1880 1881 1887 1891 1892
Lions 3 4 5 3 1  ? 1  ?
Leopards 2 7 5 7 2 8 2 4
Source : Dr.Rouquette, Monographie de la commune Mixte de Souk Ahras, 1904, p. 274

The old name of the Numidian city of Thagaste, derives from the Berber Thagoust, which means the bag, given that the site of the town is located at the foot of a mountain surrounded by three peaks in the form of a bag containing the city. Subsequently, when the Arabic language entered in the region it was called Soukara. In other sources it is cited as the Palace of the African, according to Al-Masudi.

History[edit]

Prehistory[edit]

The town of Souk Ahras, as its region, experienced Aterian culture from the end of the Middle Palaeolithic to the early upper Palaeolithic Ages. After the Aterian, Souk Ahras was inhabited by people of the Capsian culture. Many stone tools dating to this period have been discovered. Stemmed arrows were found on the site of present day Souk Ahras, but also in Tiffech and Taoura, not far from it.

Antiquity[edit]

It was the birthplace of Augustine of Hippo (born 13 November 354 AD) to Monica of Hippo (Saint Monica), he later the Bishop of Hippo and Saint Augustin.[4] Souk Ahras (Thagaste) has played an important role in the political and cultural history of the region because of its strategic position at the crossroads of Numide, Ancient Roman, and Berber civilizations. It was the location of military fortifications (Madaure, Tiffech, Khemissa...) and urban centers.

Thagaste[edit]

The Numidian city of Thagaste or Tagaste, on whose ruins Souk Ahras was built, was situated in the northeastern highlands of Numidia. It was about 60 miles (97 km) from Hippo Regius, (present day Annaba), 20 miles (32 km) southwest of Thubursicum (present day Khamissa), and about 150 miles (240 km) from Carthage (on the coast of present day Tunisia).

Thagaste became a Roman municipium.[5] The city was mentioned by Pliny the Elder. As a municipium, Thagaste was not settled by Roman Italian immigrants, but was inhabited by Romanized native Berbers.[6]

Modern era[edit]

In 1830 Souk Ahras became a colonial settlement of French Algeria (1830 – 1962). Late 19th century connection via the Algerian Railway, and 20th century iron ore and phosphate mining, brought some modern significance and prosperity to the town.

During the Algerian War of Independence (1954 - 1962), Souk Ahras housed the Ouled Bechiah Mounts as an autonomous military base of the Army of National Liberation (ALN), called "Basis of the East".

Geography[edit]

Relief and hydrography[edit]

The town of Souk Ahras is located in a basin surrounded by wooded mountains as the Djebel Beni Salah or Djebel Ouled Moumen.

Souk Ahras is crossed by a major North African river, the Medjerda.

Three dams exist in the region of Souk Ahras, that of Ain-Edalia supplies the town of Souk Ahras and its region with 76 million cubic meters. Dams of Oued Charef and Djedra, provide a capacity of 153 and 35 million cubic meters, respectively. Dam Djedra is intended to supply the town of Souk Ahras with a quantity of 12 million cubic meters of potable water, while 2 million cubic meters will be pumped for irrigation.

Districts of Souk Ahras[edit]

Former city hall of Souk Ahras, now used as a municipal theatre
  • Souk Ahras
  • An-Nasser
  • Diar Ezzarga
  • 1er Novembre 1954
  • 5 Juillet
  • 17 Octobre
  • 20 Août
  • 26 Avril 1958
  • El-Allaouia
  • Ibn Rochd
  • Kouicem Abdelhak
  • Sidi Messaoud
  • Sidi Okba
  • Et-Tagtaguia

Climate[edit]

Algiers has a Mediterranean climate with warm summers and mild winters. Its proximity to the Mediterranean Sea aids in moderating the city's temperatures. As a result Souk Ahras usually does not see the extreme temperatures that are experienced in the adjacent interior deserts. The climate of Algiers, like that of other Atlas cities, features wet winters and dry summers. Souk Ahras on average receives roughly 840.74 mm (33.1 in.) of precipitation per year, the bulk of which is seen between October and April.

Climate data for Souk Ahras
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 13.9
(57)
15
(59)
17.8
(64)
20.6
(69.1)
25
(77)
30
(86)
35
(95)
35
(95)
30.6
(87.1)
25.6
(78.1)
20
(68)
15
(59)
22.8
(73)
Daily mean °C (°F) 8.9
(48)
10
(50)
11.7
(53.1)
13.9
(57)
17.8
(64)
21.7
(71.1)
25.6
(78.1)
26.7
(80.1)
22.8
(73)
18.9
(66)
13.9
(57)
10
(50)
16.7
(62.1)
Average low °C (°F) 3.9
(39)
3.9
(39)
5.6
(42.1)
6.7
(44.1)
10.6
(51.1)
13.9
(57)
16.7
(62.1)
17.8
(64)
15.6
(60.1)
11.7
(53.1)
7.8
(46)
5
(41)
10
(50)
Precipitation mm (inches) 111.76
(4.4)
81.28
(3.2)
101.6
(4)
71.12
(2.8)
45.72
(1.8)
22.86
(0.9)
2.54
(0.1)
10.16
(0.4)
45.72
(1.8)
104.14
(4.1)
109.22
(4.3)
137.16
(5.4)
840.74
(33.1)
Source: World Meteorological Organization (UN)[7]

Demographics[edit]

The inhabitants of the town of Souk Ahras are of Berber origin. They are mainly from the different regions of the wilaya of Souk Ahras and neighboring wilayas. The first tribes having established in Souk Ahras were known as the Papiria,[8] or Babiria from the name of Berber. They were composed of Causses and Syliactae.[9]

The tribes of Mousoulami and Kirina lived there. Including the other tribes: the Hnanchas that grew the most and the Hrakta all of them have Berber origins. These tribes lived in tents and practiced nomadism. They have established later and founded cities for each of them, including the town of Souk Ahras, the old Thagaste.

Demographic Evolution in Souk Ahras
(Source: World Gazzetter lien[dead link], Recensement 1948 pdf)
Year 1901 1926 1948 1954 1960 1966 1974 1977 1987 1998 2010
Population 7500 10600 17025 20700 22800 34400 52100 57173 80015 115882 157329

People related[edit]

Chabane Boualleg: Psychologist and Senator

References[edit]

  1. ^ "A Berber, born in 354 at Thagaste (now Souk-Ahras) in Africa...", Fernand Braudel, A history of civilizations (1963), Penguin Books, 1995, p.335
  2. ^ "...he grew up in an area which was a center of Berber culture.", Augustinian studies, Volumes 7–8, Villanova University Press, 1976, p.134
  3. ^ Elbert Hubbard's Selected Writings By Fra Elbert Hubbard. Time and Chance. p. 435. Retrieved August 4, 2012. 
  4. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg "Thagaste". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913. 
  5. ^ A municipium was an existing city on which the citizenship had been conferred, while a colony was a new foundation or a community to which Roman settlers had been added
  6. ^ Nacéra Benseddik, Thagaste. Souk Ahras, ville natale de saint Augustin, Ed. Inas, Alger, 2005, p.25
  7. ^ "Weather Report for Souk Ahras". 
  8. ^ Enciclopedia italiana di scienze, lettere ed arti, Volume 33, Giovanni Gentile, Calogero Tumminelli, Istituto Giovanni Treccani, Rome online version
  9. ^ Vita Augostino di H'sen Dardour online version

Bibliography[edit]

  • Nacéra Benseddik (2005). Thagaste. Souk Ahras, ville natale de saint Augustin. Algiers: Ed. Inas. 
  • Serge Lancel (2002). Saint Augustine, Hymns Ancient & Modern. Chapter I: Ltd. pp. 3–7. 
  • "The Martyrs of Madaura". Retrieved July 18, 2012. 

External links[edit]