Timgad est une ville du Nord-Est de l'Algérie située dans la wilaya de Batna dans les Aurès, surtout connue pour les vestiges de la ville romaine de Thamugadi à côté de laquelle elle est fondée. C'est un site archéologique de premier plan. La ville romaine, qui portait le nom de Thamugadi (colonia Marciana Traiana Thamugadi) dans l'Antiquité, a été fondée par l'empereur Trajan en 100 et dotée du statut de colonie. Il s'agit de la dernière colonie de déduction en Afrique romaine. Bâtie avec ses temples, ses thermes, son forum et son grand théâtre, la ville, initialement d'une superficie de 12 hectares, finit par en occuper plus d'une cinquantaine. La ville, au vu de son état de conservation et du fait qu'on la considérait comme typique de la ville romaine, a été classée au patrimoine mondial de l'humanité par l'UNESCO en 1982.
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Timgad (Arabic تيمقاد, called Thamugas or Thamugadi by the Romans) was a Roman colonial town in North Africa founded by the Emperor Trajan around 100. The full name of the town was Colonia Marciana Ulpia Traiana Thamugadi. Trajan commemorated the city after his mother Marcia, father Marcus Ulpius Traianus and his eldest sister Ulpia Marciana. The ruins are noteworthy for being one of the best extant examples of the grid plan as used in Roman city planning.
The ruins of the town are located in modern-day Algeria, about 35 km from the town of Batna. The city was founded ex nihilo as a military colony, primarily as a bastion against the Berbers in the nearby Aures Mountains. It was originally populated largely by Parthian veterans of the Roman army who were granted lands in return for years in service.
Located at the intersection of six roads, the city was walled but not fortified. Originally designed for a population of around 15,000, the city quickly outgrew its original specifications and spilled beyond the orthogonal grid in a more loosely-organized fashion.
The original Roman grid plan is magnificently visible in the orthogonal design, highlighted by the decumanus maximus and the cardo lined by a partially-restored Corinthian colonnade. The cardo does not proceed completely through the town but instead terminates in a forum at the intersection with the decumanus.
At the west end of the decumanus rises a 12 m high triumphal arch, called Trajan's Arch, which was partially restored in 1900. The arch is principally of sandstone, and is of Corinthian order with three arches, the central one being 11' wide. The arch is also known as the Timgad Arch.
A 3,500-seat theater is in good condition and is used for contemporary productions. The other key buildings include four thermae, a library, and basilica.
The Capitoline Temple is dedicated to Jupiter and is approximately the same dimensions as the Pantheon in Rome. Nearby the capitol is a square church with a circular apse dating from the 7th Century AD. Southeast of the city is a large Byzantine citadel built in the later days of the city.
The Arch of Trajan in a late 19th century postcard.
The city enjoyed a peaceful existence for the first several hundred years and became a center of Christian activity starting in the 3rd Century, and a Donatist center in the 4th Century.