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Tlemcen Overview

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Acclaimed for its vineyards and olive plantations, Tlemcen is a small city located in the Tlemcen Province in north-western Algeria. During the time of Ibn Battuta, Tlemcen was a busy commercial transit centre and even today it holds a lot of importance. When Ibn Battuta left Tangier in 1325 he arrived at Tlemcen and took a less commercial route towards the Mediterranean.

The existence of the city can be dated back to the 4th century when it was established by the Romans. Islam was introduced in Tlemcen in 708 and in the 8th and 9th centuries the town became the Kingdom of Banu Ifran. Tlemcen has grown since then and today has a prominent industrial base with several leather, carpet and textile industries mushrooming in the town.

The long and rich history of the city has made it a centre for culture, music and art. Tlemcen has a cooler climate as compared to Oran and Algiers and hence is one of the most preferred destinations in Algeria. Out of all the cities and towns in the country only Tlemcen has Moorish buildings that can give competition to those in Morocco and Andalusia. The town offers an impressive mix of French and Islamic architecture.

One of the best places for travellers to visit is the tomb of Sidi Bou Mediene and the Masjid adjoining the tomb. The Tlemcen Great Masjid and Sidi Bel Hassan Masjid are also excellent sites to see. The French part of the city or the Ville Nouvelle is one of the best in the entire North Africa.

The best way to explore Tlemcen is by foot; travellers can also hire taxis or take local buses. The main square of the city houses the Archaeological Ethnographic Museum of Tlemcen.

Tlemcen is located close to the Tlemcen National Park, which is one of the three national parks in Algeria. Travellers can enjoy an adventurous time in this park as there are forests, waterfalls and several archaeological sites to visit including the ruins of Mansoura.

For food lovers Tlemcen is one of the best places in Algeria. The city offers a unique blend of Arab and French tastes. The main delicacy of the area is Couscous made from Semolina. Travellers need not worry about finding Halal food in Tlemcen, as there is a large population of Muslims in the city and several Halal restaurants and hotels where they can dine and stay.

Travellers can meander through the Medress district where they can see one of the oldest residential areas of Tlemcen. The El Issaria souq is the best place to shop. Here visitors can find artefacts, blankets, perfumes and many other interesting things to buy.

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