Grotte Hamma

Grotte de Cervantès


Useful Information

Location: Below the مقام الشهيد (Mémorial du Martyr, Monument des Martyrs). Boulevard Cervantes.
(36.746993, 3.069165)
Open: no restrictions,
[2021]
Fee: free.
[2021]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst Cave
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension:  
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: yes
Bibliography:  
Address: Cave of Cervantes, Boulevard Cervantes, Algiers
Direction du tourisme, Rue Amara Rachid Base Casbah-Alger, Algiers, Tel: +213-21-43-75-42, Tel: +213-21-43-07-53. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

13-FEB-1888 committee founded to proove if Grotte Hamma is the cave of Cervantès.
24-JUN-1894 a bust of Cervantès inaugurated at the cave.
07-MAY-1895 tricentennial held at the cave with a speech of the Spanish consul Marinas.

Description

This cave is famous, because it played an important role in the life of Miguel de Cervantès Saavedra (*1547-✝1616). Cervantès is the author of Don Quijote, probably the most famous book of all times. He was born in Alcalá de Henares near Madrid, Spain. Later he studied at the University of Salamanca. Because of poverty he became servant and then soldier. In the battle of Levanto he lost his left forearm, but he was so brave that he got a letter of recommendation from the Duke of Sesa. On his way home his ship was ambushed by Algerian pirates and he and his brother were imprisoned. As his family was poor, the ransom was much too high. They were able to pay for his brother, so his brother was released and promised to free him.

Cervantès soon became the head of a small group of Christian slaves, who fled and hid in a small cave at the shore. They stayed here for weeks and two tries by his brother to rescue him from a frigate failed. Finally they all got captured. After several more tries to flee, he is finally freed by his family giving all they have for ransom. After five years he finally reached Spain.

This small cave called Grotte Hamma is presumed to be the location were Cervantès hid with fourteen other fugitives. A committee was founded in 1888, which approved that this cave has all the properties of the cave described by Cervantès. In 1894 a bust of Cervantès was inaugurated at the cave. And in 1895 a tricentennial was held here with a speech of the Spanish consul Marinas.

However, the popularity of the cave goes up and down, and os it was abandoned and restored several times. The 19th century facade, which was sculpted into he rck face, is more or less destroyed by the climate. Extremely cold temperatures every night, which may cause freezing, creates frost weathering on the rocks. The facade was restored several years ago, but the cave is currently abandoned and vandalized. The place is not very important for the locals, probably because its a reminder of the dark side of their history, being former slavers. It is visited mostly by Spanish tourists, and only by the literate ones.