Amphitheatre of El Jem

El Jem was no doubt a thriving Roman agricultural region producing both olive oil and wheat and the grandiose coliseum, second only in size to that of Rome itself, attests to its wealth. Arriving at this small city from Sousse ...

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El Jem was no doubt a thriving Roman agricultural region producing both olive oil and wheat and the grandiose coliseum, second only in size to that of Rome itself, attests to its wealth. Arriving at this small city from Sousse or Sfax, the sight of this amphitheatre rising in the distance like a Colossus is both wondrous and slightly strange as the present surroundings give no hint of its former importance.

Built around the year 200, it was the scene of those games and circuses, often cruel and bloody, provided by ancient Rome. Today, the cries of martyrs and beasts have been replaced by the haunting strains of a concerto or the precise beauty of a fugue as world famous orchestras and artists perform at the classical music festival held at the coliseum each summer.

El Jem has opened workshops where artists are re-discovering the art of mosaics and their creations are truly worthy of this site and its history. You can compare these artworks with those in the museum by the coliseum.

El Jem

Site of Carthage

Carthage Museum: (00216) 01 34 10 77
Who has not heard of Hannibal and this city who dared brave the might of Rome? Now the ruins of both these great empires lay open to the sun and wildflowers. Declared a national monument the...

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Carthage Museum: (00216) 01 34 10 77
Who has not heard of Hannibal and this city who dared brave the might of Rome? Now the ruins of both these great empires lay open to the sun and wildflowers. Declared a national monument the town of Carthage and nearby Salammbo abound in vestiges of the Punic and Roman empires, baths, dwellings, temples, shrines and the fabulous naval port of the Carthaginians.

The hill of Byrsa, where in the 8th century BC, Carthage was founded by the legendary Princess Elissa-Dido, is a storehouse of history .Newly restored, the former cathedral of Saint Louis, which crowns the hill is now a cultural centre and the nearby national museum of Carthage holds an impressive collection of Punic statues, steles and urns. How strange that this breathtakingly beautiful site should have been the theatre of such violence, as a Roman historian wrote of the fall of Carthage "the city was then razed and burnt to the ground and the accursed land covered with salt to ensure its barrenness."

For a thousand years, Phoenicians were masters of the Mediterranean and over 200 war ships and innumerable merchant vessels were sheltered in the nearby port of Salammbo. At its center the Admirals Island still exists and archaeologists are reconstituting the pavilion with its shrine and docks. Next to the ports the ancient sanctuary of the goddess Tanit (Tophet) a quiet, shady square of hundreds of funeral steles.

The Romans returned to Carthage and built on its ruins a new Carthage resplendent with great buildings, theatres, villas and baths. Carthage became the administrative capital for Africa and its importance can be seen in the Antoinine Thermal baths, one of the largest built under the Roman empire with the "cool room" an amazing 47 meters long and 15 meters high. The Roman theatre is still used today for the summer festival of Carthage.

Magnificent ruins of ancient Carthage

Kasserine

Kasserine is the capital city of the Kasserine Governorate, in west-central Tunisia. It is situated below Jebel ech Chambi, Tunisia's highest mountain. Its population is 76,243 (2004).


A city in the Republic of Tunisia with abo...

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Kasserine is the capital city of the Kasserine Governorate, in west-central Tunisia. It is situated below Jebel ech Chambi, Tunisia's highest mountain. Its population is 76,243 (2004).


A city in the Republic of Tunisia with about 75,000 inhabitants (2005 estimate), situated in western-central part of the country, east of the Chaambi Mountain, Tunisia's largest at 1544 meters, in the Aurès Mountains. It is the capital of Kasserine governorate with 440,000 inhabitants (2005 estimate) and an area of 6,712 km². The economy of Kasserine is based on varieties of activities, like being a market centre, olive cultivation, growing of esparto grass and production of paper pulp, oil production, growing of grain, the raising of sheep and cattle. The cellulose factory has emissions of chlorine, causing at times a bad environment. Kasserine has good road and rail connections to other urban centres of Tunisia like Tunis and Sousse.


Situation and characteristics

Kasserine lies on the Oued el Habeb in the upland steppe country of central Tunisia, surrounded by the country's highest hill, Djebel Chambi (1,544m/5,066ft), to the northeast, Djebel Semmama (1,314m/4,311ft) to the northwest ... More > and Djebel Selloum (1,373m/4,505ft) to the southeast. Thanks to its situation it is an important traffic junction and market town (market on Tuesdays); but it is now mainly an industrial center. In the largest industrial plant in central Tunisia, established in 1963, the esparto grass which grows in the surrounding steppe is used in the manufacture of cellulose and paper.

 

History


The town was founded by the Romans, probably in the second century A.D., under the name of Cellium, and in the third century was raised to the status of a colonia. With the fall of the Roman Empire it declined in importance, and until the colonial period remained no more than a small market center for the surrounding villages. The French built a railway station and settled European colons on the land.

Kasserine Pass, to the northwest, was the scene of a decisive battle of the Tunisian campaign in World War II, which contributed to the collapse of German resistance in northern Africa.

Archaeological Museum of Sousse

Sousse's excellent archaeological museum occupies the south of the kasbah, and holds one of the finest collection of mosaics in the country within its two courtyards and one room, as well as a resident mosaicist demonstrating t...

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Sousse's excellent archaeological museum occupies the south of the kasbah, and holds one of the finest collection of mosaics in the country within its two courtyards and one room, as well as a resident mosaicist demonstrating this painstaking work, and you can even have a go yourself! The other room houses various objects from Punic times.

(+216) 732190 11

Bardo National Museum

The Bardo Museum is a restored 13th century palace and is home to the world’s largest collection of Roman mosaics and is therefore a must-see for anyone with an interest in history. It also has many other antiquities from Ancie...

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The Bardo Museum is a restored 13th century palace and is home to the world’s largest collection of Roman mosaics and is therefore a must-see for anyone with an interest in history. It also has many other antiquities from Ancient Greece, as well as some from the Arabic region and Tunisia itself, ranging straight from prehistoric eras to contemporary jewellery.

It is ranked, along with the Cairo Museum, as one of the two great museums of North Africa.

Le musée national du Bardo, Le Bardo-2000, Tunis, Tunisie.

(00216) 1 513 650

www.informatique-tunisie.com

Archaeological Museum of Sousse

Sousse's excellent archaeological museum occupies the south of the Kasbah and holds one of the finest collection of mosaics in the country within its two courtyards and one room.

It also has a resident mosaicist demonstrating t...

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Sousse's excellent archaeological museum occupies the south of the Kasbah and holds one of the finest collection of mosaics in the country within its two courtyards and one room.

It also has a resident mosaicist demonstrating this painstaking work, and you can even have a go yourself! The other room houses various objects from Punic times.

Ave du Maréchal Tito, Medina, Kasbah, Sousse

 

Museum of Popular Art and Tradition

Formerly known as Dar Ben Abdallah Museum, the Museum of Popular Art and Tradition is a palace, built in 1796. Great care was taken over the architecture, where a lavish vestibule leads to a patio paved with marble and surround...

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Formerly known as Dar Ben Abdallah Museum, the Museum of Popular Art and Tradition is a palace, built in 1796. Great care was taken over the architecture, where a lavish vestibule leads to a patio paved with marble and surrounded by columns, the walls are lined with stucco and ceramic tile, and each room has an intricately painted ceiling.

The four rooms around the patio are home to exhibits on the bourgeois Tunisian families of the 19th century. There are dresses, embroidery, weaving, wedding accessories, and various other types of finery. We also have children's toys and clothes from ancient times that have their own display room. The kitchen of the palace has been well preserved, and a lot of kitchenware is exhibited there in its original space.

Rue Ben Abdallah, 1008 Tunis.

National Museum of Carthage

The National Museum at Carthage is beside the Cathedral of St. Louis, on Byrsa Hill and holds a collection of Punic and Roman treasures, jewellery, household items, weapons, deathmasks, a marble sarcophagi as well as a model of...

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The National Museum at Carthage is beside the Cathedral of St. Louis, on Byrsa Hill and holds a collection of Punic and Roman treasures, jewellery, household items, weapons, deathmasks, a marble sarcophagi as well as a model of Punic Carthage. There is a beautiful view from outside the museum over Carthage, the Punic harbour, Tunis and the distant Bou Kournine mountain.

The museum provides a comprehensive historical outlook before you can explore the various archeological sites -  he Amphitheatre, Tophet sanctuary, Antonine Baths and Punic ports - which will help you envisage life in the third largest city in the Roman Empire.

Place de l’UNESCO, Boîte postale 3, 2016 Carthage, Tunisie.

(00216) 71 730 036

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