Bab al-Bahr
Béjaïa, Algeria
Bab al-Bahr is one of the oldest surviving gates in the Maghreb (besides Bab Guissa in Fès). It was one of the six gates of Bejaia’s wall built in the mid- to late eleventh century when the Hammadids were masters of the city.
As its name suggests, it was the gate that faces the sea, but not only. It was at the same time the sea entrance of Bejaia. Indeed, by passing under its large arch, boats and small ships entered the city’s port.

This gate incorporates constructive techniques used by the hammadids in Qal’a Bani Hammad, namely: the shape of the pointed arch which was not horseshoe-shaped, and the wall apparatus made of an alternation of rubble and brick courses. The pointed arch is built of radiating brick courses resting on horizontal brick courses which themselves rest on two stone imposts. The gate is surmounted by a semicircular discharging arch, distributing the weight of the wall on either side of the pointed arch.

Currently, a large part of the gate is buried, making it difficult to determine its height, but the opening would have reached about 10 meters high by 6 meters wide.

--Amine Kasmi, 2018

SOURCES:

Marçais, Georges. Architecture musulmane d’Occident : Tunisie, Algérie, Maroc, Espagne, Sicile. Paris: Arts et Métiers Graphiques, 1954.

Lafer, Ali  “Bab al-Bahr (Gate of the Sea).” Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2019.

Cherid, Houria, Lakhdar Drias and Farida Benouis. “Circuit II: Les Hammadides et la naissance des villes fortes au Maghreb central.” In Une architecture de Lumière. Les arts de l’Islam en Algérie (version provisoire et incomplète). Vienna: Museum With No Frontiers, 2017.  


Location
Béjaïa, Algeria
Images & Videos
Documents
Associated Collections
Events
11th century
Style Periods
Dimensions
10 m high x 6 m wide
Variant Names
Bab al-Bahr
Porte de la mer
Transliterated
Porte de la marine
Alternate transliteration
Porte Sarrasine
Variant
باب البحر
Original
Building Usages
gate
military
Materials/Techniques
brick
stone
mortar
Keywords
gates
city walls