(Photos: Ghezal Tarek)
During the First Century A.D., Rome’s Flavian emperors built up the Roman presence in North Africa. They constructed the city of Mascula, which would become the modern day town of Khenchela in Algeria. Hot springs made the site particularly attractive to settlers, who built a Roman-style bathhouse. Remarkably, it remains in business to this day.
Edward Lewis of the BBC had a chance to visit the large open-air bath. Muddling along in French and Arabic, he was able to learn about the history of the baths from fellow bathers who displayed only warmth and hospitality to him. Like in past centuries, coming to the baths is a daily ritual and opportunity for men to meet, talk and build friendships. So little has changed over the years.