Visitors are few and far between, which is a shame. Children could be told many stories about this mausoleum which looks like a huge haystack from afar. Some say it was built in tribute to Cleopatra Selene II, daughter Egyptian Queen Cleoptra, and wife of Mauritanian King Juba II. Others think it is a mausoleum built to protect the remains of Juba II and his wife. It is this version that has always been favored by historians and archaeologists. The King is said to have wanted a burial place equal to those of his numidian ancestors like Madghacen, or to the pyramids of the Egyptian pharaohs.
The lower structure was built in concrete made of crushed stones and red clay. The base of the monument was decorated with 60 Ionic columns, and the dome made of 33 tiers, mounted with a statue that is no longer in place. Inside, it looks like Egyptian vaults, but no royal tomb was ever found to this day.
A few kilometres west of the tomb lay the ancient ruins of the roman city of Tipasa, which are designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Well worth a visit, the ancient city is a place of rare beauty, lined with tourist stalls and traditional restaurants, including the infamous Chez Ali Bab. On your way, do not forget to stop in the splendid fishing harbour of Bouharoun.
Royal Mausoleum of Mauretania
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