Posted by Vi Warkentin on
I have to admit that I hadn’t done extensive research (which I now tend to do for any travel) with regards to getting around in Tunisia as I thought I’d just rent a car and drive wherever I pleased. But when I arrived at my hotel, I was given a note signed “Your Travel Representative”. My travel representative? I didn’t know I had one. Had the travel agent back home who had booked my flights made some kind of deal with a travel company out here? EXACT WORDS on note (including grammatical errors) “We are pleased to inform you that an information meeting would take place on 3/16 at 2:30 PM at the hotel reception. Would you please do not reserve any excursion before this meeting, in order to avoid any disappointment or misunderstanding.” Being a little green when it came to travel abroad, I figured I’d best attend this “meeting”.
“Sorry, car rental is not possible. You must book all tours with us. Please take time to look through this brochure and carefully choose which tours you would like to go on. Please find me at the front desk when you are ready to book”. And because I was somewhat naive (and honestly thought, at the time, that car rental must not available to tourists because my self-appointed travel representative said so), I got out my credit card and booked some tours.
I haven’t been to Italy (yet) but I never expected to see my first Roman ruins……. in Tunisia.
Our first stop - Thuburbo Majus, founded in 27 BC approximately 60 kms SW of Tunis. Click here for a bird’s eye view via Virtual Globetrotting.
The Capital and Forum (168 AD) - 13 steps up to the fluted columns made by carrara marble. I’ve always been fascinated with columns so it was amazing to gaze up at something that was built so very long ago.
Very little is left of the Temple of Caelestis - the arch and its one remaining punic column.
The columns of Palaestra of Petronii (225 AD), with a fantastic hue of grey-blue, are made of carrara marble, a marble favored as a sculpting material throughout history - Michaelangelo’s “David” also being made of this type of marble. The grounds here were used for boxing and wrestling, a noble art of that time - think of it as a roman gymnasium, of sorts.
Photos of the amphitheatre ruins in the distance, inscriptions and detailed carvings, and floor mosaics.