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capital city of Tunisia
archaeological site in Tunisia
Ruins of the largest Roman baths outside Rome itself. The site also has a Punic cemetery, some old houses, some Punic kilns, a chapel, some graves, and mosaics. Guides are available in a number of languages, and may be worthwhile as the site is large. It is illegal to take photographs in the direction of the presidential palace. Doing so, especially when traveling alone, may land you in jail for up to 3 years, though the guards don't appear too concerned.
Most remnants excavated from the ruins have been stored in the cavernous museum located on Byrsa Hill, documenting both the Punic and the Roman eras. Signs within the museum are entirely in Arabic and French. On the second floor, the part nearer to the staircases showcase artifacts from Roman times, and the inner part the artifacts of the earlier Punic period. Fascinating artifacts such as alabaster jars and jewelry remain. The descriptions of the Roman conquest and the legend of Dixon are also vivid, but sadly, inaccesible to English speakers. The museum grounds offer sweeping views of the coast and city, and also include the ruins of some Punic streets, the former site of a public library, numerous sculptures, a chapel or church, some excellent mosaics and some coffins. A few benches under the trees with a great view make for a good resting spot. Unfortunately many items about the grounds are unlabelled, so a guide may be useful (or eavesdrop on a tour group if you can). Ignore the shifty guy trying to charge you 1 DT to use the toilet. As of Nov 2018 visitors are allowed to access museum grounds only, while museum building is closed for reconstruction.
You can walk past the president's well-guarded palace, which includes a private boat moor and helicopter pad, on the main road. You can also see it from the Antonine Baths, and the ruins above (cross under the TGM railway bridge, then turn right up the hill).
St Louis Cathedral forms one edge of the museum, but does not appear to be open - it was completed in 1890.
Built on an excavation site, it lies above the former Carthaginian basilica (Dermech Basilica). Permanently closed.
An eviscerated Roman amphitheatre constructed in the first century CE, ringed by forested, rolling hills. Interesting for a quick stroll, but it is unlabelled in any language. May therefore be more interesting with an enthusiastic guide. Worth a look. The adjacent forest may be a nice spot for a picnic.
A Roman circus used for chariot racing, it was modeled on the Circus Maximus in Rome and other circus buildings throughout the Roman Empire. Measuring more than 470 m in length and 30 m in width, it could house up to 45,000 spectators. Not much left of it nowadays though.
archaeological site in Tunisia
seaside resort in Tunisia
Whilst not as impressive or extensive as the Ribat in Monastir this fortified holy site is a worthwhile visit and served as home to a branch of Islamic warriors very similar in nature and creed as the Hospitaller Knights that lived in Rhodes. Climbing to the top of the watch tower affords you fantastic views over the Medina.
A surprisingly tranquil place despite its location in the middle of the city. Built c. 850 AD, this mosque is simple and austere in the Aghlabite style, no decoration whatsoever aside from a string of angular Arabic and curved arches. Even the prayer room is covered in reed mats instead of the usual carpet. You must be properly dressed to enter, but green wraps can be rented for a token fee to cover up.
One of the finest Islamic buildings in North Africa and rewards closer inspection. Non Muslims are not permitted into the prayer hall, but the doors are open to allow you to view inside. Access to the main courtyard is available to all. The columns throughout the complex were taken from Carthage, the wooden ceiling from Lebanese cedar wood. In the courtyard, there are indents into the floor with varying sizes for camel or dromedary hoofs, or human feet, for washing before prayers. On the tiny platform in the middle of the courtyard, there is also four black pins on a board that tells the prayer times by the sun. Facing the prayer room, on one of the left columns is also a last black pin marking the night prayer by moonlight.
This fortified monastery is located next to the sea and provides a great visit with most of the ruins open to clamber over. It may be familiar as it has been used in several films as a stand in for Jerusalem, most notably Monty Python's Life of Brian. You can climb the tower and have a nice view over the coastline and city.
Raqqāda is the site of the second capital of the 9th-century dynasty of Aghlabids, located about ten kilometers southwest of Kairouan. The site now houses the National Museum of Islamic Art. Which specializes in medieval Islamic art and includes works from Kairouan, Raqqada and Al-Mansuriya, a former princely city built in the Fatimid period.
The ancient city of Leptiminus is located about 10 km south of Monastir. It was founded by Phoenician sailors around the 12th century BC. The modern city of Lamta was built on top of this ancient city, thus leaving almost nothing of it. Although some remnants from the times of Leptiminus can still be found in this museum.
Built in the 9th century and then enlarged over the centuries. It now includes a prayer room and a minaret, and doesn't have a courtyard inside. Off-limits to non-Muslims.
mosque in Tunisia
The amphitheater dominates the modern town, and was also featured in several scenes of the film Gladiator. The amphitheater is best seen at dawn or sunset, and this is also the best time for taking photographs. While the grounds may be closed during sunrise or sunset, photographs of the site from the surrounding streets are certainly possible.
Located on the southern side of the peninsula on which the old city was located; built in 916 CE, after the founding of the city within the walls built by the Caliphate on an artificial platform reclaimed from the sea.
It has a large selection of mosaics and one restored Roman Villa, which has all the mosaics in place and gives a real feel for their style of living. Adjoining this is the rest of this area of Roman Thysdrus, with the streets and floor plans laid out over a large area showing the variations to the house and villa plan.
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