Tunisia Punic Wars Tour (9n/10d)

The Collusseum of El-Djem

The Collusseum of El-Djem

Day 1 Arrival
Welcome To Tunis Arrive Tunis and drive to hotel.

Day 2 Tunis
The Bardo Museum, in a former Royal Palace, houses one of the best collections of Roman mosaics in the world. Afternoon in Carthage; although the ancient city has now been overlain by a modern one, the international ‘Save Carthage’ campaign has revealed many pieces of the jigsaw, and we can glimpse what it may have looked like in Punic and Roman times. At the Byrsa Hill, where Princess Dido is said to have first founded her city, a good section of late Punic housing can be seen. The foundations of the Roman forum, smashed trough these houses, provide the ultimate metaphor for Rome’s destruction and replacement of the Punic city. The foundation levels of the enormous Roman Antonine Baths still dominate the sea-front by the former Presidential Palace; the Punic and Roman harbour is visible between the modern houses and the sacrificial tophet site, where the cremated remains of thousands of children have been found, still retains a sombre atmosphere.

Day 3 Kerkouane
In North Africa Nabeul, Roman Neapolis, in the Cap Bon peninsula, has a small museum with some very fine mosaics, as well as the remains of garum tanks where the fermented fish sauce was made, suprisingly close to some wealthy villas. The ruinous town of Kerkouane is the only Phoenician settlement so far found in Tunisia which was not built over in Roman times. Fascinating details of everyday life have been revealed. This is one of the most fertile regions of Tunisia, and the drive is particularly beautiful. We also see the stone quarries at El Harouaria, from where building material was shipped to Carthage.

Day 4  Dougga
Dougga, possibly the most famous site of Roman Tunisia, stands majestically against a steep hillside, with sweeping views out over the surrounding countryside. The capitol is one of the most aesthetically pleasing ruins in the world, and many of the houses still have mosaics in situ.

Day 5 Bulla Regia
Bulla Regia, a unique Roman town where the houses have major rooms underground. Some of them still with their beautiful figurative mosaic floors. With walls and ceilings still complete you can experience a sense of the space used by the Roman occupants to get away from the heat of the African sun. The Roman settlement at Chemtou had famous red marble quarries which were exploited by Numidians and Romans. The slave camp used by the workers is visible from the hill-top sanctuary, and there is also an extensive but very ruinous nearby town.

Day 6 Thuburbo Maius
Across the plains to Thuburbo Maius, a Roman city lying untouched amidst the fields, in a plain surrounded by distant hills and mountains – a particularly beautiful setting. Continue to Kairouan.

Day 7 Sousse
Sousse museum in its new look The Sousse Museum, full of wonderful mosaics, only very recently reopened after being extensively refurbished. Afternoon on foot in Kairouan, exploring the town’s historic Medina.

Day 8 El Djem
The spectacular amphitheatre at El Djem, one of the largest in the Roman world, a physical expression of the wealth of the region from its olive groves. The huge drum of the seating area still completely dominates the modern town, and can be seen from a great distance across the surrounding plain. The site museum of Roman Thysdrus at El Djem has an exceptional collection of mosaics, which reflect the wealth, and the concerns, of the townspeople who commissioned them. Afternoon free in Kairouan.

Day 9  Oudna
Newly excavated colonia at Oudna, one of the largest cities in Roman North Africa. A short distance away is a section of the aqueduct which carried water 56 miles from Zaghouan to Carthage. This is the most spectacular and interesting stretch where it is carried on arches over the valley of the Oued Meliane.

Day 10 Departure
Transfer to airport for your flight back home

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