Timgad (Arabic: تيمقاد; known as Marciana Traiana Thamugadi) was a Roman city in the Aurès Mountains of Algeria. It was founded by the Roman Emperor Trajan around CE 100. The full name of the city was Colonia Marciana Ulpia Traiana Thamugadi. Emperor Trajan named the city in commemoration of his mother Marcia, eldest sister Ulpia Marciana, and father Marcus Ulpius Traianus.
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Located in modern-day Algeria, about 35 km east of the city of Batna, the ruins are noteworthy for representing one of the best extant examples of the grid plan as used in Roman town planning. Timgad was inscribed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982. 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 (east–west-oriented street) and the cardo (north–south-oriented street) lined by a partially restored Corinthian colonnade.
Founded by Trajan in 100 CE as a colony for army veterans, the Colonia Marciana Traiana Thamugadi, and built by soldiers stationed at Lambaesis. Although its plan is overwhelmingly military, there is little doubt that Thamugadi was intended to be a town, not a military base. Its square shape comprises a grid of 111 blocks, each 20 square meters; most were subdivided into properties for the individual settlers, while a good number were given over to public buildings. Following a Byzantine period, it was sacked by the Berbers in the 7th century and abandoned. The encroachment of the Sahara on the ruins was ironically the principal reason why the town is so well preserved. Because no new settlements were founded on the site after the 7th century, the town was partially preserved under sand up to a depth of approximately one meter until it was excavated in 1881.
The triumphal arch of Trajan is located at the west end of the decumanus, originally 12 meters high, it was partially restored in 1900. The arch is principally of sandstone, and is of the Corinthian order with three arches, the central one being 11' wide. The arch is also known as the Timgad Arch.
The Capitoline Temple is dedicated to Jupiter and is of 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 CE. One of the sanctuaries featured iconography of (Dea) Africa.
The forum was placed more or less centrally, where the main north-south street met the main east-west street. The square (50 x 43 meters) was surrounded by shops, a public lavatory, the judicial basilica, a temple dedicated to Trajan and his military victories and, in the north-east corner, the so-called Maison des Jardinières.