Thursday, January 03, 2008

The cave of Miguel de Cervantes

One of the historical spots that the Medina offers since the 16th century is the cave of the prestigious Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616), author of the immortal novel "Don Quixote de la Mancha", edited in 1605.
This cave is always accessible situated in the district of Belouizdad (Algiers) where it is nestled in a hollow of the cliff overlooking the beach in the Bay of Algiers.

The restoration of this natural and historical spot were recently achieved with the sponsorship of the Spanish company Repsol. This place that inspired the writer in his writings is made up of 4 distinct parts: the cave, preserved in a state close to its origin, the shelter, the balcony with a splendid view over the bay of Algiers and the esplanade. This place was built in the past to ease the cave access. In the middle is erected, thanks to the Spanish community Algiers, a stele since 1887 in memory of the captive of Algiers.

(Picture : Fellous Amina)

Miguel de Cervantes spent five years in Algiers after being captured by the flotilla commanded by the Ottoman Mamí Arnaut (meaning Mami the Albanian) on Sept. 26, 1575 while he was returning to the Spain on the galley Sol after his stay in Naples. Cervantes is assigned with his brother Rodrigo as a slave to the Greek Dali Mamí. Finding in his possession letters of recommendations written by the Don Juan of Austria and the Duke of Sessa led his jailers to think that Cervantes was very important and that they could get a good ransom. The price for his release was set at Five hundred gold Ecu. During a second attempt to escape, Cervantes and his companions had to hide in the cave waiting for a Spanish galley that would come on the beach in Algiers. The galley who tried to approach twice the beach was taken by the guards of the king of Algiers Hassan Pasha. Discovered Cervantes was then put under surveillance. 

Back in his country after his liberty was bought by the Trinitarian Juan Gil in 1580, Cervantes put then all his efforts in writing until his death in 1616.

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