It is time to tell the whole story, or I should say the legend. Enlarge the first photo and read the legend of the place.Once upon a time, there lived here a powerful tribe. Sidi-Arzaq was the proudest and the boldest of all the tribe's men. He was wealthy and powerful but it was said that he did not do its five daily prayers. It was even whispered...more
On the first photo, in the background, the witnesses.The second and the third photo show the whole bridal procession with the children in the background.The sacrilege incestuous bride, the dishonest qhadi, the unfaithful witnesses, the impious friends and relatives, they all have been turned to stone, accompanied by the rumblings of hell, heard...more
Arriving in Hammam Meskoutine from the main road (N20) Annaba-Constantine is unimpressive. First of all, the road sign says Hammam Debbagh and not Hammam Meskoutine. Are we mistaking ? Our friend from Annaba must not be wrong as he has asked his way from locals, but is it WHAT he wanted us to visit (he has not said anything about the place !)The...more
Hammam means "bath", then no wonder if the Romans had built here hot bath. It was then named Aquae Tibilitanae because it was close to the city of Tibilis (8 km south) built on the plateau of Ras-El-Akba. However, there does not remain much of it : these few stones should be all what is remaining from the Roman bath, unless there is more to...more
If you enlarge the photo, you will see that names have been carved on the cliff and on the soil. That is what these girls are doing. As everywhere else, they are the names of people who came here and want the world to know, they also can be the names of two lovers. Amazingly, though they are all local names, they are all (at least nearly all)...more
The man with the Polaroid camera proposed us to have a photo with the animals. As we told him that we had our own camera, he did not insist. He did not mind that we took pictures of the eagle and of the gazelle. I am sure that when there will be tourist coming to Hammam Meskoutine, they will have to pay, even to get close to the animals, not...more
The dama gazelle (Gazella dama) lives in the northern par of the Sahara. It weighs 40 - 85 kg (90 - 190 lb). It stands 88 - 108 cm (34- 42") at the shoulder.. It lives 12 years. It can run as fast as 80 km/h for a few minutes. It is protected as it is an endangered species. The dama gazelle was once one of the most numerous and widespread of...more
The eagle is really impressive. It is the Golden eagle, Aquila chrysaetos. It is now very rare in Western Europe, much less both in Eastern Europe and in the Maghreb. It can be 80 to 97 cm tall and its wingspan can be from 190 to 130 cm. With its powerful bill (enlarge the photo), it can kill and tear off prey weighting several kilos.more
Enlarge the first photo. You will see that there is a man in a blue overall and with a Polaroid camera that owns an eagle, a "gazelle" from the desert and a "guerba" (a goatskin use to keep water for drinking.The second photo shows better the eagle with the guerba underneath.On the third photo, the photographer shows how the eagle can perch on the...more
Though there are no foreign tourists, there are some visitors. As I said, we visited Hammam Meskoutine on a Friday, which means that people were resting. Most visitors are obviously living in the village or in very neighboring places. Together with our Algerian friend, we came from Annaba (80 km) and I would not be surprised if we had been among...more
The two photos presented here are close-ups that wee shot in order to better show the variety of colors of the draperies.On the first photo, from left to right, you can see snow-white minerals, a part where it is various shades of chamois, with greenish colors in the bottom, because of the algae. There is a part in the middle, which is dark brown...more
This series of photo were taken from the lower level and show fully the draperies of Hammam Meskoutine mineralized waterfall. The first photo gives a general view of the falls, with people walking on top, near the edge.On the second photo, you will see a few locals (not a single tourist around !) resting on benches as it was a Friday (= Sunday in...more
This photo was taken from the top level but a little further. It shows altogether the top level with its steamy gullies, the mineralized waterfall and the lower level, with people wandering. Again, the size of the people will give an idea of the height of the fall (you must enlarge the miniature).more
When water flows from one level to another, it builds a rim that keeps the water (first photo).The western side of the mineralized plateau ends abruptly. If you enlarge the second photo, you will see a man walking underneath. Its size will tell you how high it is (about 20 meters, I feel).The third photo shows a row of car parked at the feet of the...more
When the highly mineralized waters cool down, the minerals deposit on anything. The photo shows a small branch that had fallen down into the water, not long ago (a few days ?). The leaves are still green but are already coated by a light layer of minerals. After a few weeks, it would be completely mineralized. We saw a plastic bottle that was...more
On the plateau, several shallow basins have been arranged (first photo). We did not know exactly for what purpose and our group was wondering about it (second photo), but that allows the water to cool, as our friend checks (third photo) : the temperature is now low enough to drip one hand into it !more
When the flow is less important, the deposits are made more in several thin layers that grow one on top of each other with colors than will vary according to the composition of the water at the moment it crystallizes. It builds a kind of huge “mille-feuilles”, not highly digestible !more
I have not found any precise data on the mineral composition of the water. It is said that they are highly mineralized and lightly sulfurized, with a composition closely related with the waters of Balaruc or of Plombières (84°C) and of Bagnères-de-Bigorre in France. They were analyzed as early as 1839 by Mr Tripier, military chemist. He wrote that...more
Out of the collector, water flows naturally southwards into several gullies that draw a strange delta (enlarge the first photo). Following the wind, the view is either clear or topped by rot egg smelling steam (enlarge the second photo).In the background, the plateau where runs the water seems to drop sharply (third photo).When the wind falls down,...more
The water is 98°C, one of the hottest springs in the world together with some springs in Iceland. It flows in several directions. A man made narrow channel such as the one shown on the first photo drives the water northwards across the plain where stand the stoned bridal procession. Because of the temperature of the water, steam surrounds the...more
In Hammam Meskoutine (also transcript as Mesghoutine), the "kh" is pronounced like in German the "ch" in "buch". Hammam Meskoutine is translated either by "the bath of the incestuous", "the bath of the damned" or "the bath of hell".At the entrance of the village, the name on the road sign is Hammam Debbagh but the name of Hammam Challala is also...more
This is not really a restaurant but only a caf? where we had a drink. I chose mint tea.
They had this stucco carving on their ceiling.
To get to Hammam Meskoutine, you need a car.
From Annaba, road N21 leads to Guelma.
From Guelma, road N20 leads to Constantine.
15 km south to Guelma, a small paved road, on the right if you come from the North (Annaba or Guelma) leads to Hammam Meskoutine/ Hammam Debbagh.