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Arabic: tabassa
Other spellings: Tbessa

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Tebessa, Algeria

Tebessa, Algeria

City in north-eastern Algeria with 170,000 inhabitants (2005 estimate), at an elevation of 960 metres, in the Aurès Mountains, 20 km from the border to Tunisia.
It is the capital of Tebessa province with 610,000 inhabitants (2005 estimate) and an area of 14,227 km².
Tebessa's economy is based upon a mixture of phosphate mining in el-Kouif 15 km northeast, trade in sheep, esparto grass, and grain. There is also production of carpets.
Tebessa is well-connected with other urban centres of Algeria by road and rail and Kasserine in Tunisia by road.
The city is dominated by a walled 5th century Byzantine citadel, with 12 towers and 4 gateways. There is also a 3rd century Roman quadrifrontal arch and an beautiful Christian basilica 1.6 km north of the city centre. There are also ruins of a Roman amphitheatre, thermal baths and a temple dedicated to Minerva.

7th century BCE: Becomes an outpost of Carthage.
146: Falls to the Romans. It is known as Theveste.
7th century CE: The Arab Muslim invasion into North Africa destroys the economic base of Theveste, and it is turned into a village.
16th century: A small military garrison is established by the Ottomans.
18th century: The French turns Tebessa into a gateway town for Sahara.

By Tore Kjeilen