Tomb of the Christian Woman
Tipaza, Algeria
The Tomb of the Christian Woman is a royal burial site situated about 12 km from Tipasa, and dating back to the first century BCE. The mausoleum could be the tomb of Juba II and his wife Cleopatra Selene. However, no remains were found at the site. The attribution of the Tomb of the Christian to Juba II remains a mere hypothesis. One thing is certain: the monument served as a tomb for a whole family of Moorish kings.

The mausoleum is a circular building of 61 meters in diameter, with a low square base of 63 meters. It is surrounded by 68 engaged columns of Ionic order. The whole is topped with a cone composed of 33 steps. Built in large blocks of stone held together by lead cramps, it rises to the height of 32 meters, making it the tallest pre-Roman building in the Maghreb. At the four cardinal points, there are four false doors carved in stone, each 6.2 meters in height. The moldings of these false doors take the shape of a large cross. It is very likely that it is for this reason that the local population has named the mausoleum Kbour er-Roumia which means in Algerian Arabic Tomb of the Christian Woman.

This mausoleum was obviously modeled on the Medrassen. Outside, the general shape is the same: it is the same gigantic circular building, adorned with some sixty columns and topped by a stepped truncated cone. The diameter is also roughly the same, however, the Tomb of the Christian Woman is almost twice higher than the Medrassen. In 1982, the monument was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as being part of the near Roman archaeological site of Tipasa.

Berbrugger, Adrien. “Tombeau de la Chrétienne.” Revue africaine 11 (1867).

Dondin-Payre, Monique. “L’Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres et la photographie : les fouilles du Tombeau de la Chrétienne au XIXe siècle.” Comptes rendus des séances de l’Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres 147 (3) (2003).

Gsell, Stéphane. Les monuments antiques de l’Algérie, Vol. I. Paris: Albert Fontemoing Éd., 1901.
Koumas, Ahmed and Chehrazade Nafa. L’Algérie et son patrimoine, dessins français du XIXème siècle. Paris: Éditions du patrimoine, 2006.

Les Mausolées Royaux de Numidie, de la Maurétanie et les monuments funéraires pré-islamiques. Accessed February 03, 2019.
Tipaza, Algeria
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Associated Names
Associated Collections
1st c. BCE
Style Periods
Diameter 61 m; height 32 m
Variant Names
قبر الرومية
الضريح الملكي الموريتاني
Building Usages