Beni Hammad Fort, also called Al Qal’a of Beni Hammad is a fortified palatine city in Algeria. Now in ruins, in the 11th century, it served as the first capital of the Hammadid dynasty. It is in the Hodna Mountains northeast of M’Sila, at an elevation of 1,418 metres, and receives abundant water from the surrounding mountains. Beni Hammad Fort is near the town of Maadid about 225 kilometres southeast of Algiers, in the Maghreb. In 1980, it was inscribed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, and described as “an authentic picture of a fortified Muslim city”. The town includes a 7-kilometre long line of walls. Inside the walls are four residential complexes, and the largest mosque built in Algeria after that of Mansurah. It is similar in design to the Grand Mosque of Kairouan, with a tall minaret, 20 metres. Excavations have brought to light numerous terracotta, jewels, coins and ceramics testifying to the high level of civilization under the Hammadid dynasty. Also among the artifacts discovered are several decorative fountains using the lion as a motif. The remains of the emir’s palace, known as Dal al-Bahr,
include three separate residences separated by gardens and pavilions. The fortress was built in 1007 by Hammad ibn Buluggin,
the son of Buluggin ibn Ziri, the founder of Algiers. The city became the capital of the Hammadid Berbers, and sustained a siege from the Zirid in 1017. In 1090 it was abandoned under the menace of the Banu Hilal, and was partly destroyed by the Almohads in 1152.