Aïn el Acir Fountain
The Aïn el Acir Fountain – The Fountain of the Captive – is situated in Annaba City, Ardh El Khatib in the Caroubier quarter. Overlooking the ravine of the beach Lever de l’Aurore, formerly Ezabib Raml, it lies between the Casbah and the Zaghouane cemetery below.
This historic monument is an Ottoman sebil, probably dating from the 18th century. The sebils are public fountains built at important crossroads, usually outside of mosques and schools. They provide drinking water for passers-by and travelers.
The Aïn el Acir Fountain is a unique piece in Algeria and is a real mix of styles : the beauty of the yellow and green moorish tiles combine with the white grecian marble carved in rococo style, an artistic and architectural trend that developed in Europe between 1700 and 1790.
It is the last of four monumental fountains from the Ottoman era located in the medina quarter, namely Aïn Jerada on rue Alger and Aïn Chraiet and Haoud Soukène on rue El Fida.
There were at that time thirty watering points managed and maintained by the « Caïd El Ayoune » appointed by the Ottoman Khalifa.
Contemporary winesses reported by historians say that this monument was the work of a single european captive during the Ottoman era. The fountain represented for the prisoner a way to redeem himself and so regain his freedom.
During the French occupation it was wrongly referred to as the « Roman fountain » by the French who, on their arrival, thought it must be a Roman relic.
In 1913, a restoration of the fountain was achieved through the efforts of Captain Albert Maitrot of La Motte-Capron, on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary celebrations of the famous Académie d’Hippone.
In 2016, the Town Mayor began the restoration work to return it to its original state.