Where? Pretty much in the centre of Dougga, maybe 100 yards from the Forum What? At the Licinian Baths one can still see the original walls, as well asthe tunnel used by the slaves who kept the baths going, with thestructure of the baths in pretty good state of repair, considering theage. The name comes from the Licinii family who donated the baths...more
Dougga is located in the West of Tunisia, about 3 or 4 hours away from Sousse. You shouldn't have a problem to book a tour of the ruins from Sousse or Hammamet - and probably most touristic cities - and you should do it (or go on your own if you please). We were lucky enough to have a private tour, that is, it was just the two of us plus the...more
The Mausoleum of Ateban in Dougga, in the valley, is the only surviving Numidian/Punic structure in Tunisia. (Another was recently discovered at Sabratha in Libya.) The monument was almost completely destroyed in 1842, when the British consul in Tunis extracted from it a bilingual inscription on the facade. It was rebuilt by a French archeologist...more
The Arch of Septimius Severus (5m/16ft wide) was erected in A.D. 205 to mark the town's promotion to the status of municipium, which carried with it the right to its own constitution, administration and civic law. Sepitmus Severus was Rome's first African-born emperor. The arch leads into the road from Carthage to Theveste (Tébessa). There's a...more
Adjoining the House of the Trifolium in Dougga is the complex of buildings known as the Baths of the Cyclopes, with vaulted rooms in the basement. On the south side of the complex are the baths proper, in the frigidarium of which was a mosaic of the Cyclopes (now, like the others, in the Bardo National Museum). A feature of the baths is the well...more
The Baths of Licinius, or Winter Baths in Dougga, were built around A.D. 260 and rebuilt in the 4th century. So far as the sloping site permitted they were laid out on the usual symmetrical plan. On the north side was the almost exactly square entrance hall, surrounded by a colonnade of twelve columns supporting a "tube vault" of the kind found at...more
To the west of the Arch of Alexander Severus lies the Temple of Juno-Caelestis - the Roman equivalent of the Punic goddess Tanit. Its semicircular layout recalls the crescent moon which was the commonest symbol for Tanit. Built between 222 and 235 by Julius Gabinius and his wife Julia Gabinia Venusta, the peripteral temple is surrounded by a...more
No Roman town would be complete without a token arch and Dougga has two. This one is the better preserved of the two, located to the west of the Forum over the city's main western entrance. It was erected between A.D. 222 and 235, probably to celebrate the granting of further privileges to the city.more
To the north of the Capitole, along the remains of a Numidian wall, lie the huge cisterns of Ain Mizeb. There are seven basins here with a total capacity of 9,000 cubic meters/2million gallons. From here water - brought in an aqueduct from a spring 12km/7.5miles west of the town - was distributed to the town's baths and fountains and to some...more
Dougga (or Thugga as it's sometimes known), is the best preserved Roman city in Africa. It's set in a beautiful picturesque setting, surrounded by pastureland and olive-groves over rolling hills in which it overlooks. Take some time to admire the views which are best appreciated at the Temple of Saturn. A shepherd came past with his heard of sheep...more
THE building with the best views over the surrounding countryside is the Temple of Saturn which is located to the north of the large Theatre. It was built in A.D. 195 on the site of a pre-Roman temple of Baal (a few ash-urns and funerary stelae from which were found by the excavators). At the east end is a vestibule with four Corinthian columns;...more
If you follow the path out the back of the theatre and walk over the hill, you'll come to the remains of the Temple of Saturn. Before this, just down the slope of the hill, lies this small Christian Crypt for the Church of Victoria next door. The Crypt contains large stones and sarcophagi.more
One of the highlights of the ruins at Dougga is the Theatre which was built into the hillside in about A.D. 168. It has a diameter of 120m/395ft. The three tiers of seating in the semicircular cavea, with 19 rows in each, rise to a height of 15m/50ft, with an arched corridor running round the top, which, altogether could accommodate 3,500...more
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).more
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...more
Food is in short supply here. There is a very small cafe/shop just across the road from the large theatre but there is also this rather posh restaurant on the road that leads south towards Nouvelle Dougga. As I was visiting Dougga around lunchtime, all I wanted was something simple which there didn't seem to be anything of on the menu (it's full of rather fancy/expensive dishes). So, I asked if I could just have an omlette and fries and I ate it outside at a table looking up at the ruins in the distance.
Excavations began here in 1899 and are still ongoing as I saw one site being excavated when I was visiting. Another area around the Dar el-Echab was being renovated with near stones being laid at the entrance steps.
Travels to places like Tunisia involves a lot of fighting the heat, especially if you, like me (I am still surprised as to why I did that), go there right in the middle of the summer.
Here's a list of useful items to take:
- Hats and other covering: Large brimmed hats that provide head covering and some shade. For women, they are also a proof of modesty, welcomed when visiting old churches and mosques. Scarves and the like covering shoulders and arms can keep the sun off during treks. A cloth hat or scarf can be soaked to help keep the head cool.
- "Squeeze Breeze": this is a water bottle with a sprayer and a battery-operated fan attached. The beach toy to take with you!
- Sun block: While sun blocks may be purchased in Tunisia, people tend to prefer sticking with their own favourite brand (the skin, too, kind of 'gets used' to it), and there's no guarantee you'll find it on the spot. So take your own, if you have preferences!
Where? Below the Temple of Saturn, to the north-east from the main centre of Dougga What? Notable as being the only Christian building so far located in Dougga,the church was finished in the 5th century. You can see the foundations,lower parts of the walls, steps, column basements, etc.more
Where? Close to the temple of Mercury, facing the "Rose of the Winds" square What? Built during the reign of Emperor Hadrian who took an active interest inTunisian provinces of the Roman Empire, the temple was an example ofwhat would be a trend in the Middle Ages - the construction of religiousbuildings as an act of philantropy (in the Middle Ages...more
Where? Just off the "Rose of the Winds" square, facing the ancient market What? Dedicated to Tellus (that's the Roman Earth Mother goddess), the templeis largely in ruins - there is no courtyard to the temple, and the mainedifice used to stand on a podium of four steps in height. Today you canstill see some of the columns of the temple on the very...more