Tunisia Roman sites by Road

OneTenner

LE
Book Reviewer
Awesome - feeling very envious. I like the inscription above your son's head in the first photo.

As an aside, how bloody big are your son's feet? :-D
The fort has been 'repaired' by the locals, as you can probably tell...
He was ten at the time with size 8 feet although those are issue Magnums in size 9...
He's now 23 ,just short of 6'3" and a right handful....
 

JuniorBod

War Hero
Many, many years ago on hols to tunisia, I remember taking a coach (only way to get there other than car hire, middle of the back of beyond) to El Jem, well worth the trip. I seem to have recall using local transport for the rest, particularly the train to Tunis and Carthage, station on the edge of the rubble, in fact may have even been in rubble central....

Caveat, prior to the current security situation...

Mid 1990s, 94ish...

JB
 

Oyibo

LE
The fort has been 'repaired' by the locals, as you can probably tell...
He was ten at the time with size 8 feet although those are issue Magnums in size 9...
He's now 23 ,just short of 6'3" and a right handful....
I did notice the 'repairs' in your photos. I suspect the Roman cement will last longer.
 

OneTenner

LE
Book Reviewer
I did notice the 'repairs' in your photos. I suspect the Roman cement will last longer.
Oh without doubt!
It's reminded me of one of the oddities I came across in Morocco, we were around Merzouga close-ish to the Algerian border, batting along at about 30km/h and noticed something flapping around in the side of one of the dunes - it was a cement bag! very old - printed hessian, no plastic at all. There was nothing around, no watering stations, no wells, nothing. It'd probably been carried on or pushed by the wind from who-knows-where. Just very odd.
 
Oh without doubt!
It's reminded me of one of the oddities I came across in Morocco, we were around Merzouga close-ish to the Algerian border, batting along at about 30km/h and noticed something flapping around in the side of one of the dunes - it was a cement bag! very old - printed hessian, no plastic at all. There was nothing around, no watering stations, no wells, nothing. It'd probably been carried on or pushed by the wind from who-knows-where. Just very odd.
Did it have "made in dundee" bleach faded by the sun?
 

Oyibo

LE
Oh without doubt!
It's reminded me of one of the oddities I came across in Morocco, we were around Merzouga close-ish to the Algerian border, batting along at about 30km/h and noticed something flapping around in the side of one of the dunes - it was a cement bag! very old - printed hessian, no plastic at all. There was nothing around, no watering stations, no wells, nothing. It'd probably been carried on or pushed by the wind from who-knows-where. Just very odd.
It can be odd coming across things like that in the middle of nowhere, and it does set the imagination going especially when they are evidently of a different era.

When I left the Army in the late '90s I worked for a while in 3 countries in which the Soviet military had been fighting previously. The Soviet remnants of war were fascinating, and sometimes rather macabre.
 

OneTenner

LE
Book Reviewer
It can be odd coming across things like that in the middle of nowhere, and it does set the imagination going especially when they are evidently of a different era.

When I left the Army in the late '90s I worked for a while in 3 countries in which the Soviet military had been fighting previously. The Soviet remnants of war were fascinating, and sometimes rather macabre.
I used to take trips into Libya as well, on top of the onerous local regs requiring guides and policemen, I was never too happy about going off piste due to the remnants of the war - there were occasional cairns of mines, no idea if they were still viable or not, it was always the co-driver in the front vehicle that had the responsibility of spotting them and calling out the avoidance heading.

On a lighter note, a beer stop in Algeria, we didn't know it at the time but we'd drifted about 10km over the border from Morocco....

1590710528291.jpeg
 

OneTenner

LE
Book Reviewer
And finally, Kisavar fort from our overnight camp
1590711142459.jpeg
 

Grumblegrunt

LE
Book Reviewer
more trees and grass in romano times though as I understand it. like the levantit was supposed to be very green and lush.

the camper with appliances on it reminds me of someone at tech in the 90s who used to buy chest freezers and fill them with old toasters, kettles, fridges, microwaves, washers - anything his family could sell and send them on to africa in a container. he used to nick the charity clothing bags as well.
 

OneTenner

LE
Book Reviewer
Can't have been that green or else why bother with the aquaduct?, the oasis at Ksar Ghilane is definitely from that period, clearly an important one to build a fort near it.
The camper van is quite mild by comparison with some i've seen but yer, they'll take (not always purchase) anything they think will turn a profit in Africa, hardly any of what they take over is to keep for themselves. It's worse on the Algeceras / Ceuta ferry as the cost is lower and is only a ~45 minute travel time compared to ~25 hours Marsailles to Tunis. The Tunisians are much less 'grabby' than the Moroccans though, even going into towns & touristy areas in Tunisia was far more pleasant than just passing through most Moroccan villages where the 'African wave' is a way of life, If you don't throw some sweets out for the kids, they'll give you a 'present' of stones in your windows. In Tunisia, the only ones after a 'petit cadeau' were the traffic police...

ETA Northern Tunisia still is a green & relatively pleasant land, lots of farmers pickups around loaded with carrots & spring onions destined for UK supermarkets
 

Grumblegrunt

LE
Book Reviewer
Can't have been that green or else why bother with the aquaduct?, the oasis at Ksar Ghilane is definitely from that period, clearly an important one to build a fort near it.
The camper van is quite mild by comparison with some i've seen but yer, they'll take (not always purchase) anything they think will turn a profit in Africa, hardly any of what they take over is to keep for themselves. It's worse on the Algeceras / Ceuta ferry as the cost is lower and is only a ~45 minute travel time compared to ~25 hours Marsailles to Tunis. The Tunisians are much less 'grabby' than the Moroccans though, even going into towns & touristy areas in Tunisia was far more pleasant than just passing through most Moroccan villages where the 'African wave' is a way of life, If you don't throw some sweets out for the kids, they'll give you a 'present' of stones in your windows. In Tunisia, the only ones after a 'petit cadeau' were the traffic police...

ETA Northern Tunisia still is a green & relatively pleasant land, lots of farmers pickups around loaded with carrots & spring onions destined for UK supermarkets
aquaducts were for cleaner cooler water and more of it as I understand it which also meant they could build away from mosquito infested swampy areas, but we know the romans deliberately destroyed carthage, its forests and inland shipyards where they made the prefabricated ship parts for their navy.

it is also where Hannibal got his north african forest elephants from.

hence the accounts of laying it waste and sowing the land with salt to poison it.

similar in the levant they laid waste to the land to stop the crusader armies from living off the land, lose the trees and the water goes away never to return.

or indeed scotland or the North york moors which were mainly deforested by man.

I liked Tunisia, as you say they were less in your face but I wasn't sure about their egg banjo thing - egg sealed in a pancake then deep fried.

I always want to go to leptis magna over the border - which is a tad more difficult but as I understand it the locals have decided to protect the tourists that do turn up.
 
I worked on an archaeological project at Lamta (Roman city of Leptiminus), but there’s not a lot to see above ground. That said, the beach there was worth a visit for the remains of the Roman guarum vats. In its heyday it was a major producer of the stinky fish sauce.

There was a decent local museum with a selection statues, mosaics and artefacts, and every other town seemed to have something similar.
The Roman mosaics in the Bardo Museum in Tunis are among the most spectacular we've seen anywhere; probably only rivaled by Merida in Spain.
 
ETA Northern Tunisia still is a green & relatively pleasant land, lots of farmers pickups around loaded with carrots & spring onions destined for UK supermarkets
And even some vineyards making passable rosé, if you're thirsty enough and its cold enough.
 
aquaducts were for cleaner cooler water and more of it as I understand it which also meant they could build away from mosquito infested swampy areas, but we know the romans deliberately destroyed carthage, its forests and inland shipyards where they made the prefabricated ship parts for their navy.

it is also where Hannibal got his north african forest elephants from.

hence the accounts of laying it waste and sowing the land with salt to poison it.
Which turned out to be a bit of an own goal, as the Empire (vice the Republic) realized what a great harbour/port site Carthage occupied, and rebuilt on the site.

Karta_Karthago.png
 
My time in Tunisia was backin the early 90s when Ben Ali was very much in charge.

A friend and I walked from the Antonine Baths to the Punic Ports to take some pictures. While were there we were approached by a grumpy fellow weilding an AK47 who 'suggested' that we didn't take snaps - it turned out that the Tunisan department of defence building was next door and they didn't like spies checking out their secrets.
 
My time in Tunisia was backin the early 90s when Ben Ali was very much in charge.

A friend and I walked from the Antonine Baths to the Punic Ports to take some pictures. While were there we were approached by a grumpy fellow weilding an AK47 who 'suggested' that we didn't take snaps - it turned out that the Tunisan department of defence building was next door and they didn't like spies checking out their secrets.
We had a similar experience taking photos up the hill (to the north?) of the Antonine Baths, where apparently Ben Ali had his seaside villa/palace. Back south and a little way inland there was a very good, if small and poorly maintained, Byzantine Christian site. We were the only visitors and got talking with the curator, who was a very fluent English speaker, and I seem to recall was an archaeologist by training. He was very critical of the regime, with its penchant for populist spending on football stadiums and the like rather than preserving (inferred non-Islamic) historical sites: 'bread and circuses'!
 
We had a similar experience taking photos up the hill (to the north?) of the Antonine Baths, where apparently Ben Ali had his seaside villa/palace. Back south and a little way inland there was a very good, if small and poorly maintained, Byzantine Christian site. We were the only visitors and got talking with the curator, who was a very fluent English speaker, and I seem to recall was an archaeologist by training. He was very critical of the regime, with its penchant for populist spending on football stadiums and the like rather than preserving (inferred non-Islamic) historical sites: 'bread and circuses'!
There were armed guards patrolling the sea front near the presidential palace, and a suspicious number of serious looking chaps in leather jackets and shades in the surrounding streets. We were with an Americal colleague who'd spent the previous couple of summers working on UNESCO funded excavations in Tunis. I seem to remember visiting some sites well off the beaten track including an impressive underground thing, the name and location of which escapes me at the moment.
 
I seem to remember visiting some sites well off the beaten track including an impressive underground thing, the name and location of which escapes me at the moment.
In the Tunis area? There is an impressive pre-Punic temple site between Carthage and Tunis.
 

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