El Kantara

El Kantara (Arabic: القنطرة‎, romanizedal qantara, lit. 'the bridge'[1]) is a town and commune in Biskra Province, Algeria. The 1911 Baedeker travel guide described it as "one of the most important caravan-stations in E. Algeria." The town is well known for the eponymous gorge nearby, described by locals as the "Mouth of the Desert".[2] The area was named El Kantara by Arab conquerors.[1]

El Kantara
Le défilé d'el Kantara.JPG
DZ-06 El Kantara.svg
El Kantara القنطرة is located in Algeria
El Kantara القنطرة
El Kantara
Coordinates: 35°13′00″N 5°42′37″E / 35.2166°N 5.7104°E / 35.2166; 5.7104
Country Algeria
ProvinceBiskra Province
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)

The gorge is narrow, at only 40 metres (130 ft) wide, but the walls can be as high as 120 m (390 ft).[1]


Roman soldiers of the Third Augustan Legion dubbed the gorge Calceus Herculis (English: Hercules' Kick), in reference to the divine hero Hercules' legendary strength.[1] They also constructed an arched bridge over the river in the bottom of the gorge, in order to allow caravans and military supplies to pass through the town with ease.[1]

In the second century A.D., the town and bridge were guarded by Syrian archers who are thought to have planted the first date palm grove in the region.[1]

Present infrastructureEdit

A highway and railroad follow the same path as the ancient Roman road through the town.[1]

Notable peopleEdit



  1. ^ a b c d e f g Scheffel, Richard L.; Wernet, Susan J., eds. (1980). Natural Wonders of the World. United States of America: Reader's Digest Association, Inc. pp. 197–198. ISBN 0-89577-087-3.
  2. ^ "The Ravine, I, El Cantara, Algeria". World Digital Library. 1899. Retrieved 2013-09-26.

Coordinates: 35°13′31″N 5°42′23″E / 35.22528°N 5.70639°E / 35.22528; 5.70639

Les grandes Familles d'origine Arabe d'El Kantara sont : ABDELAZIZE, BELLAL, HOUFANI, KHIREDDINE, SAADLAOUD, SOURI, YOUB et ZEROUG. Le reste des familles sont d'origine Berbère.