The El Jemm Museum
Located about one mile (1.6 kilometers) south of the El Jemm Colisseum, the El Jemm Museum opened in 1970 to house a large collection of Roman mosaics that were discovered in 1960 and 1961, and that had been scattered among the Bardo Museum (in Tunis), the Sfax Museum, and the Sousse Museum. Designed in the style of a Roman villa, the museum contains three large exhibition rooms surrounding a central courtyard with a fountain and banana trees. Each room features several large intricate mosaics from Thysdrus, the Roman predecessor of modern El Jemm.
In addition to its extensive collection of mosaics, the museum also displays Roman sculptures, glassware, ceramics, terra-cotta statuettes, terra-cotta lamps, coins, and metal objects. Also of interest is a small area of excavations located behind the museum where the ruins of Roman peristyle houses have been unearthed.
The El Jemm Colisseum
The most popular attraction in El Jemm, and the only reason that visitors would otherwise go there, is its well-preserved Roman ruin, the El Jemm Colisseum. Almost as large as the colisseum in Rome, the colisseum in El Jemm towers over the town and can be seen from miles away over the flat Sahel Plain. It has been listed as a World Heritage Site.
It is believed that the colisseum was constructed between 230 A.D. and 238 A.D. by the African pro-consul Gordian, a local landowner and patron. The colisseum is 453 feet (138 meters) long, 374 feet (114 meters) wide, and 98 feet (30 meters) high. Its seating capacity was about 30,000, which was more than the population of Thysdrus (the Roman name for the town which is now El Jemm), suggesting that people came from all over the area to watch events.
The colisseum was used for gladiatorial combats, circuses, and animal shows. Wild animals were placed in the arena to be pitted either against each other, armed gladiators, or unarmed people.
During its history, the colisseum has been used as a defensive position during the several military campaigns that have taken place in central Tunisia. In 647 A.D., Byzantine troops holed up in the colisseum after their defeat at Sbeitla. In 697 A.D., the Berber princess Al-Kahina was beseiged by Arab forces during their conquest of North Africa. And in the seventeenth century, the troops of Mohammed Bey blasted a hole in the western wall to displace locals who had rebelled against his taxation policies.
The must do was a trip on Le Lezard Rouge (the red lizard) railway.
Another fabulous day and a very English pastime. A few hours on the steam train through staggering vistas.
Great value, very serene.
The gateway to the Sahara. My family took the obligatory camel ride into the Sahara and had a very enjoyable day. As our youngest was too young to travel I took him to the Al Mouradi hotel - a cooling drink for him, a lovely coffee for me!
This is a very other-worldy place! You will undoubtedly recall Star Wars when you get here!
A subterranean troglodyte village and set in a vast expanse of desert.
This was a must to see but is really touristy. See it while you can, I 'm not sure it is sustainable.
On the western edge of the Atlas Mountains this was a day stop. The troglodyte village is a sight to be seen and the inhabitants were very welcoming. Although I don't recall any hotel or places to eat being there.
Chott el Jerid
What an extraordinary place!
The Chott El Djerid is in central Tunisia. It is is a shallow depression that transects the country. This is Maghreb country and the salt levels are a site to view with awe.
We braved a walk on the salt pan and would advise care. My wife was carrying our youngest and a dog was getting too excited and jumped up. My wife fell on her knees which became infected.
The treatment was to paint one knee with red liquid and the other with green! Perhaps the doctor thought she was a naval vessel!
Inland from Souse, on the map as Al-Qayrawan.
This is one of the most venerated sites in Islam. Kairouan is a sacred city and should be viewed with respect.
As well as taking in the cultural centres we took time to see traditional carpets being made.
The whole family were transfixed, to the point we ordered a carpet to our design but based on the Bedouin birthing rug and had it shipped home!
The absolute must is the Amphitheatre at El Jem - it is a true gem! (sorry).
I felt this was by far superior to a visit to the Colosseum in Rome!
Stunningly well preserved, we were unhassled, free to roam and able to get a grasp on the magnitude of this wonder.
PS hang on to your ticket - you are eligible to visit the very worthy museum as well!
Our only trip north; situated on the edge of modern Tunis, the capital.
we visited the punic ports but found it difficult to piece things together. A must for followers of history and archeologists but not our top spot.
One of Tunisia's top tourist sites.
Try to get over the over exploitation and take time to visit the Medina.
I remember sitting with a carpet seller and taking coffee together. We talked of world events and were very relaxed. I was not hassled (here) I very much enjoyed the moment.
A must is to spend time in El Forte Ribat.
It is a wonderful historic building and the site used to film the Monty Python film 'Life of Brian'.
It is very cheap and certainly not crowded; take time to wander around and soak up the views from the castle walls.
Whilst in this lovely town the Bourguiba Mausoleum, the rsting place of Habib Bourguiba who is considered the father of Tunisia.
An impressive walk up to this cool and calm building.
The city of Carthage was founded in about 750 B.C. by the Phoenicians, who called it Qart Hadasht, meaning "New City." The new city was founded to consolidate the Phoenician hold on North Africa, and was located at a strategic place on the Gulf of Tunis. By about the fifth century B.C., Carthage was the most powerful city in the western Mediterranean area, and was an archrival of Rome. After several attempts, Rome finally defeated Carthage in 146 B.C. The Romans almost completely destroyed Carthage, and built their own city on top of the ruins. The Roman city soon became the second most important city in the Roman Empire after Rome, and had between 200,000 and 700,000 inhabitants.
Nowadays, there is very little left of ancient Carthage for visitors to see, other than a few standing walls here and there. Most of the visible ruins are actually Roman. And the ruins are spread over a wide area, and are therefore not easy to see in a short period. There are six main archaeological sites, including Byrsa Hill, the Roman amphitheater, the Roman villas, the Antonine Baths, the Sanctuary of Tophic, and the Punic ports.
Pictured here are some of the ruins on Byrsa Hill. It is thought that Byrsa Hill was a district of temples and other religious structures. The National Museum of Carthage is located at the summit of Byrsa Hill, along with the nineteenth-century French Cathedral of Saint Louis. The museum has good exhibits about Carthage, and contains some interesting artifacts.
Ile de Djerba - Borj El K'bir
Borj El K'bir is a castle constructed in 1432 under the Sultan Abu Faris Al Mutawakkill, it is aslo known as Borj El Ghazi Mustapha. The castle was seat of many who ruled over island of Djerba, Ottomans, Numidians, Arabs, Spaniards and French until 1956 when upon Tunisian independence it became part of Houmt Souk and the capital of Djerba.Related to:
- Family Travel
Ksar Hedada (its also used name Hadada) and its ghorfas are most famous from the film "Star Wars: the Phantom Menace" by George Lucas. The shooting was at 1997 and Lucas used this historic monument to create the town Mos Espa in Galactic planet Tatooine.
The old guarter of Ksar Hedada, including ghorfas, belong to the local hotel which is in its most part incorporated in the ksar.Related to:
- Family Travel
The Residence is right on the beach near Carthage, with it's own stretch of beach offering various...more
Honestly? We didn't stay at the Mouradi. Why am I writing a tip about it, then? There was a bit of...more
One of the oldest hotels in Djerba was the first one over the lagoon for years, which could be seen...more
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