Batna, the fifth largest city in Algeria, is a fairly new creation having been founded by the French in 1844 as a garrison town. It was in Batna that the Algerian War of Independence against the French started in 1954. Today the sprawling city, with its wide boulevards and sense of French order, serves as a market town for the very fertile surrounding countryside. For visitors, attractions in the town are rather limited and instead Batna serves as a base for some of the most fabulous Roman ruins in existence.
Lying at an altitude of just over a thousand metres, the town is known for having a fairly extreme climate with very hot and dry summers and often bitterly cold winters with snow being a fairly common occurrence. Try and visit in spring or autumn.