Dougga Things to Do

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Most Recent Things to Do in Dougga

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    Square of the Winds

    by Willettsworld Written Aug 29, 2008

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    The Square of the Winds was built around A.D. 190 as an extension to the forum. It takes its name from the "rose of the winds" incised in the paving in the 3rd century, with the names of the twelve winds (Septentrio, Aquilo, Euraquilo, Vulturnus, Eurus, Leuconotus, Auster, Libonotus, Africus, Favonius, Argestes and Circius).

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    Forum

    by Willettsworld Written Aug 29, 2008

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    To the west of the monumental Capitole, stands the Forum which was built on the orders of General Solomon and laid out between A.D. 14 and 37. It measures 38.5m/126ft long by 24m/79ft wide) and was originally surrounded on three sides by porticoes of red-veined marble columns with Corinthian capitals of white marble. Opening off it were a number of public buildings. In the 6th century the Forum, Capitole and the Temple of Saturn were all incorporated in a Byzantine fortress with two added towers, built with stone taken from surrounding buildings.

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    Capitole

    by Willettsworld Written Aug 29, 2008

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    This is Dougga's landmark as it sits at the summit of the hill in which the town is built on and can be seen from virtually anywhere. Built in A.D. 166 or 167, it is one of the finest and best preserved Roman temples in North Africa and is dedicated to the triad of Jupiter, Juno and Minerva. It's in remarkable condition with 10m-high walls and six mighty Corinthian columns - each 8m high - supporting the portico. The massive walls are the finest known example of a construction technique called opus africanum, which uses large stones to strengthen walls built of small stones and rubble. An inscription on the architrave gives the names of the donors of the temple and contains a dedication to the Emperors Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus. The badly weathered carving on the pediment depicts a man being carried upward by an eagle, perhaps symbolizing the deification of the Emperor Antoninus Pius. In the rear wall of the cella, which is almost square (13m/43ft by 14m/46ft), are three niches for statues of gods - a semicircular one in the middle for Jupiter, flanked by square niches for Juno and Minerva. In the basement of the temple was an aisled crypt, which may have been used as a church. Here the excavators found the white marble head of the cult statue of Jupiter.

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    Dar el-Echab

    by Willettsworld Written Aug 29, 2008

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    This was one building that was being repaired when I was visiting. The building is known as Dar el Acheb, thought to be a temple built in A.D. 164-166, with a rectangular doorway leading into a walled courtyard.

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    Baths of Ain Doura

    by Willettsworld Written Aug 29, 2008

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    If you arrive at the Nouvelle Dougga entrance, these baths are among the first ruins you'll come to when walking up the hill on your left hand-side. They consist of baths, latrines (semi-circular in plan with a diametre of 25.7m) and cisterns (measuring 28.5m long by 25m wide and with a capacity of 3000 cu m).

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    History

    by Willettsworld Written Aug 29, 2008

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    The Capitole and Forum
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    The choice of site, on a steeply sloping hillside (hence the town's name, from tukka, a sheer rock), suggests that this, like Sicca Veneria (Le Kef) and Bulla Regia, was a Numidian foundation. In the 2nd century B.C. the settlement was enlarged by the Numidian king Masinissa to form a royal residence. The remains of megalithic walls, a temple of Baal, dolmen tombs and a Numidian mausoleum date from this period.

    Around 105 B.C. the first Romans settled round the town, which according to the Greek historian Diodorus Siculus (1st century B.C.) was already "large and handsome". In 46 B.C. Caesar incorporated the town in the province of Africa Nova. The Numidian settlement on the hill remained, while the Romans settled in the plain below. In the course of time the two settlements amalgamated and in A.D. 205 the town was raised to the status of a municipium and all its free citizens were granted Roman citizenship. In 261, when Thugga was renamed Colonia Licinia, the city was at the peak of its development. From this period date most of its magnificent public buildings, financed by wealthy Roman landowners, as well as the many private houses of which remains survive. It was during this period that the town prospered with around 5000 residents.

    Decline set in at the end of the 3rd century. Under Byzantine rule the town was fortified, using stone from ancient buildings but was later abandoned. Later still, refugees from Andalusia settled in the area and re-established the cultivation of olives.

    The site was rediscovered in the 17th century and people continued to live among the ruins until the early 1950's when they were moved to nearby Nouvelle Dougga (New Dougga). Excavation began in 1899 and is still continuing as, when I was there, a few places were being excavated and rebuilt. It was granted a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997.

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    Visit the ruins

    by aemilys Written Oct 10, 2005

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    More beautiful ruins

    If you go off season you may be lucky enough to have the place to yourselves like we did. Aside from the pesky guides that is. Just give them some money and they'll go away. Alternatively if you are in a big group you can split up into small groups and try to outwit them. Good luck

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    An access into the theater

    by JLBG Written Jan 9, 2005

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    This picture was taken from the center of the theater. It shows one of the two central stair-cases that allowed to reach the tiers. The lower entrance is flanked with engraved stones. The upper entrance, though in poor condition is still standing.

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    Dougga festival

    by JLBG Written Jan 9, 2005

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    The theater has been undergoing repairs for decades. If you compare this picture with some of the previous ones, taken about 5 years earlier, you can notice that the lowest tiers have been rebuilt. I guess that more has now been done. In July and August, during the Dougga Festival, classical dramas are performed in the theater and day trips are organized from Tunis.

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    The columns

    by JLBG Written Jan 9, 2005

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    This part of the theater, with its columns, has not been subjected to any repair, except for security reasons, in order to avoid any stone to fall inadvertently on visitors ! On the contrary, the scene has been completely rebuild with the original stones and using the same techniques as the Romans used, in order to allow an actual use as a scene.

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    One of the best preserved theaters

    by JLBG Written Jan 9, 2005

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    The theater of Dougga is one of the best preserved of Roman Africa. Moreover, it has been in permanent repair for the last 50 years. These repairs allow it not only to stand as a testimony of the genius of the Romans as builders but also to work as an actual theater.

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    An audience of 3,500 in the theater

    by JLBG Written Jan 9, 2005

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    The theater of Dougga could accommodate an audience of 3,500 which means that it is not one of the largest of Roman Africa but there are 2 theaters in Dougga and the city had never more than 5,000 inhabitants, which explains its modest size.

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    Temple of Caelestis

    by JLBG Written Jan 9, 2005

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    There remain most of the columns from the temple of Caelestis, heir of Tanit, the major goddess of Carthage. It seems that the temple of Caelestis was later alloted by the Romans to Junon or better Caelestis and Junon were considered as two names for the same goddess..

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    Mosaic in the Licinian Baths

    by JLBG Written Jan 9, 2005

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    Some mosaics remain visible around the site of Dougga, although most of the best preserved examples have now been moved to the Bardo museum in Tunis. This one, of a relatively plain design, is inside the Licinian Baths.

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    Roman or modern washbasin ?

    by JLBG Written Jan 9, 2005

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    At the entrance of the latrine, a stone washbasin is standing, awaiting for visitors to wash their hands (when going IN or OUT ? I hope it was in AND out). If it were to be polished, its style would fit perfectly in many modern bathrooms ! Isn't that amazing ?

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Dougga Things to Do

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