Historic sites in Tunisia

If you’re looking to explore Historic Sites in Tunisia and the surrounding area then you can explore our interactive map above or navigate further by using the links below.

There’s a fantastic selection of  Historic Sites in Tunisia and you can plan some great things to see on your trips by browsing our selection. Once you’ve explored the  Historic Sites in Tunisia you can use our itinerary planner tool to plan out your trip and then print off a free pocket guidebook.

Our database of historic sites is growing all the time, but we may not cover them all. Remember, if you know of other  Historic Sites in Tunisia, you can always add them to Trip Historic now by visiting  our upload page.
 

Tunisia: Site Index

Photo by davehighbury (cc)

Bulla Regia

Bulla Regia was an Ancient Roman settlement in Tunisia, now famous for its subterranean villas.

DID YOU KNOW?

Bulla Regia is a significant Ancient Roman archaeological site in Tunisia with a fascinating set of subterranean villas and other monuments.

Tunisia was annexed into the Roman Empire in approximately 46 BC, under Julius Caesar. Previously a Berber site, Bulla Regia flourished under the Romans, who built a series of monuments and public buildings in the area, such as its amphitheatre.

Amongst the remains at Bulla Regia, there are its famous two-storey villas, with the lower storey located underground to protect its inhabitants from the elements. A further characteristic of these villas is the fact that many of them contain original Roman mosaics, still in situ.

Bulla Regia features as one of our Top 10 Tunisian Visitor Attractions.

Photo by upyernoz (cc)

Byrsa Hill

Part of the Archaeological site of Carthage, Byrsa Hill contains a number of remains from the original Punic city of Carthage as well as the Carthage National Museum and St Louis Cathedral.

DID YOU KNOW?

Byrsa Hill forms part of the Archaeological site of Carthage and contains a number of interesting historical places to explore.

Once the ancient citadel of this powerful city, Byrsa Hill was the military centre of ancient Carthage and was besieged and destroyed by the Romans in 146BC. However, when the Romans rebuilt the city Byrsa Hill remained central to their administration and a number of important public buildings were constructed on the site.

Today, the principle attractions to see on Byrsa Hill are the Carthage National Museum and the ruins of the ancient Punic city - known as the Punic Quarter.

The museum contains a wealth of exhibitions and information about the history of Carthage, while the Punic Quarter - sometimes called "Hannibal’s neighbourhood" contains the ruins of a Carthaginian residential neighbourhood, complete with street grids and houses and a series of Punic tombs.

Also to be found on Byrsa Hill is the impressive 19th century St Louis Cathedral. Byrsa Hill features as one of our Top Tunisian Attractions.

Photo by aymen hs (cc)

Carthage

Carthage was once one of the most powerful cities of the ancient world. Today, the ruins of ancient Carthage can be found on the outskirts of modern day Tunis.

DID YOU KNOW?

Carthage was one of the most powerful cities of the ancient world and spawned the powerful Carthaginian Empire which dominated much of the western Mediterranean. The ruins of this famed city can be found on the outskirts of modern day Tunis.

Carthage itself was central to the history of the ancient world. Legend states that the city was founded by the Phoenician Queen Dido in the 9th Century BC and the ancient metropolis certainly rose to prominence over the next 500 years.

However, three long and brutal wars with Rome, known as the Punic Wars, eventually led to the downfall and destruction of Carthage in 146BC. It is said the Romans salted the earth so nothing more could live on the site of the once-dominant city.

Having destroyed the Carthaginian Empire however, the Romans later realised the potential in the strategic location of the site. In the 1st Century AD they re-founded Carthage and it grew to become one of the most important cities of the Roman Empire.

As Rome’s power waned, Carthage was briefly captured by the Vandals in the 5th Century AD before Byzantine forces re-took the city. In 698AD, after many years of hard fighting, the city was finally captured by the forces of the Umayyad Caliphate who founded the new city of Tunis nearby, leaving the ancient metropolis to fade away.

Time has significantly taken its toll on the site and little remains of ancient Carthage today and much of what remains is spread over quite a broad area. The best way to begin exploring these ruins is probably by visiting Byrsa Hill and the Carthage Museum. The museum hosts a collection of Carthaginian (Punic) and Roman artifacts including marble sarcophagi and a model of Punic Carthage.

Other key points of interest include the impressive Antonine Baths, the Roman Amphitheater, Roman villas and reconstructed Roman theatre of Carthage. Among the best preserved Punic remains are the Magon Quarter, Punic Port and unnerving Sanctuary of Tophet.

You can explore all the sites of Carthage on our Carthage Sites Map feature and Carthage also features as one of our Top 10 Tourist Attractions in Tunisia.

Photo by nonanet (cc)

Carthage National Museum

Carthage National Museum contains a wide selection of artefacts and exhibitions from the Punic, Roman and Byzantine periods of Carthage. It is a good place to begin you exploration of the ruins of this ancient city.

DID YOU KNOW?

Carthage National Museum - sometimes simply called Carthage Museum - is one of the most important museums in Tunis and contains a range of interesting exhibitions and artefacts from the Carthaginian and Roman periods.

Amongst the many exhibits are displays examining life in ancient Carthage, the conflicts with the Roman Republic and the eventual destruction of the Punic city by Rome.

Also examined is the new Roman city and the Roman period itself as well as the story of Byzantine rule and the Arab conquest.

The museum includes a range of interesting finds, from jewellery, weaponry, tombs and funeral masks to Roman mosaics and day-to-day household items. Additionally, there is an interesting model of the Punic city.

Carthage National Museum is an excellent jumping off point for your exploration of the other sites of ancient Carthage, and provides stunning views over the ruins and the modern city.

Photo by Neil Rickards (cc)

Carthage Punic Port and Museum

The Carthage Punic Port and Museum hold the remains of the ancient military naval base of the Punic city of Carthage.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Carthage Punic Port and Punic Port Museum can be found in the area of the ancient Carthaginian harbour near modern day Tunis.

This ancient superpower built its reputation on its mastery of the seas and the ancient Port of Carthage would have once help over two hundred of the most powerful warships of the time.

Originally destroyed after the Roman capture of the city in 146BC, it was later revives by the Romans themselves to serve the growing commercial needs of the now-Roman city of Carthage.

Today there are a handful of remains and ruins on the site as well as the small Punic Port Museum which has a number of models reconstruction what the Punic Port would have looked like in its prime.

Photo by gr33ndata (cc)

Carthage Roman Theatre and Odeon

The Roman Theatre and Odeon in Carthage are the remains of the ancient public buildings which once held more than 5,000 spectators. The theatre has been significantly restored.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Roman Theatre of Carthage is a restored ancient Roman theatre complex in Tunis which is now used to host a range of events.

Originally built during the time of Roman control of Carthage, the theatre is believed to have been destroyed during the Vandal invasions of the 5th century AD.

Originally able to seat at least 5,000 spectators, the Roman theatre of Carthage would have been a central meeting place in the ancient city.

Now restored, it is no longer clear how much of the structure is original, but it is fair to say it can be viewed as more of a reconstruction than an ancient ruin. The same can’t be said however for the Odeon of Carthage which stands across the way from Carthage Roman theatre. This site would have been viewed for musical entertainment and was a more intimate setting than its close neighbour. The Odeon has not been restored and its ruins can still be seen today.

A number of statues found at the site of the Carthage Roman Theatre and Odeon are now on display in the Bardo Museum.

Photo by elainne_dickinson (cc)

Carthage Roman Villas and Kobba Bent el Rey

This site contains the well preserved remains of the wealthier elements of Roman Carthage, including a 4th century underground villa.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Carthage Roman Villas site holds the ruins of a number of Roman luxury houses and Roman insulae - or apartment blocks.

The area is believed to have housed some of the wealthier inhabitants of Roman Carthage and is thought to have suffered during the Vandal invasions.

While many of these houses have little left to see today, the notable exceptions are the ’House of the Aviary’ (Villa de la volièr) which contains an intricate mosaic showing birds nesting among the tress and the structure known as Kobba Bent el Rey or Baths of Dido, a vaulted underground building dating from the early fourth century. The Kobba Bent el Rey is considered to be among the best preserved residential ruins in Carthage.

Photo by EvanManphis (cc)

Dougga

Dougga is an impressively well-preserved and UNESCO-listed ancient site in Tunisia.

DID YOU KNOW?

Dougga (Thugga) in Tunisia is the location of the extremely well-preserved ruins of an ancient site inhabited by a series of cultures, notably the Numidians, the Punics, the ancient Greeks and the Romans.

Dougga boasts a series of impressive ruins amidst its seventy hectares, including a 3,500-seater theatre, an amphitheatre, temples such as those of Juno Caelestis and Saturn, public baths, a forum, a trifolium villa, two triumphal arches and the remains of a market.

Dougga has a variety of cultural influences, having been a thriving Numidian capital first established in the fifth century BC and later being incorporated into the Roman Empire in 46 BC, as part of Julius Caesar’s annexation of eastern Numidia.

Therefore, whilst most of its existing remains date back to the second and third centuries AD, there are several sites that predate this period. In fact, even the layout of Dougga can be traced as having remained the same as it had been under the Numidian civilisation.

However, one of the oldest ruins at Dougga are those of a six-tiered Punic-Libyan Mausoleum thought to date back to the second or even third century BC.

The incredible state of preservation of Dougga combined with its mix of cultural influences led UNESCO to list it as a World Heritage site in 1997. Grand and full of fascinating sites, Dougga is one of Tunisia’s most interesting archaeological sites and features as one of our Top Tunisian Tourist Attractions.

Photo by carolune (cc)

El Jem Amphitheatre

El Jem Amphitheatre is a magnificent UNESCO listed third century site in Tunisia.

DID YOU KNOW?

El Jem Amphitheatre (El Djem) in Tunisia, also known as Thysdrus Amphitheatre after the original Roman settlement in this location, stands in the midst of a quiet town. This incredibly large and well-preserved Roman amphitheatre is El Jem’s star attraction and draws visitors from around the world.

From the outside, the El Jem Amphitheatre bears a striking resemblance to its older and larger – although not significantly larger – counterpart in Rome, The Colosseum. In fact, with its abundant original characteristics such as its tiered seats, arches and elliptical stone walls, which are intact up to 35 metres in places, many argue that the El Jem Amphitheatre is in better condition that the Colosseum.

Constructed by the Emperor Gordian between 230 and 238 AD, El Jem Amphitheatre was vast and able to accommodate up to 35,000 spectators (some even say up to 60,000). The structure measures 162 metres long and 118 metres wide, making the El Jem Amphitheatre the largest of its kind in North Africa.

Having managed to survive the destruction of the city carried out in 238 AD, the damage which one can see at the El Jem Amphitheatre can be attributed to its stint as a citadel in the seventeenth century. At this time, it was hit by cannon fire and suffered greatly. It was also quarried for its treasures and masonry over the years, yet still remains one of the most evocative Ancient Roman structures in the world and has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1979.

El Jem Amphitheatre features as one of our Top Ten Tunisian Visitor Attractions.

Photo by US Army Africa (cc)

Enfidaville War Cemetery

Enfidaville War Cemetery is a World War II Commonwealth graveyard in Tunisia.

DID YOU KNOW?

Enfidaville War Cemetery in Tunisia is a World War II Commonwealth cemetery housing the graves of 1,551 soldiers who died in the course of the North Africa Campaign, particularly the Tunisia Campaign. Of these graves, 88 are unidentified.

The Tunisia Campaign was fought between Allied and Axis forces from 1942 to 1943, with the Axis surrendering on 13 May 1943. The area in which the Enfidaville War Cemetery is located and the surrounding area of Tarkouna saw fierce fighting near the end of this campaign and most of those buried there perished in the period of March to May 1943. The town of Enfidaville was itself captured by the Allied Eighth Army on 19 April 1943.

Haidra

Haidra contains the remains of the Roman city of Ammaedara and includes a number of interesting ruins including the large Byzantine fort and underground Roman baths.

DID YOU KNOW?

One of the earliest Roman settlements in North Africa, Haidra in Tunisia contains the remains of the Roman city of Ammaedara. Well off the beaten track, Haidra – also called Hydrah – attracts few tourists and even the archaeological excavations have been few and far between.

Founded in the first century AD, Ammaedara was originally a legionary outpost, used by the Third Legion Augusta during their campaign against the rebellious Numidian leader Tacfarinas – a deserter from the Roman auxiliaries who led his people in an uprising against Rome during the reign of the Emperor Tiberius.

After the defeat of the rebellion, Ammaedara was settled by veterans from the campaign and grew into a thriving Roman city. Indeed, remains of the cemetery of the 3rd legion have been identified on outskirts of the site.

It is unclear as to whether a pre-Roman settlement existed at Haidra. Though the foundations of a Punic temple to Ba'al-Hamon were found near the site, there is little additional evidence of a major settlement.

The Romans ruled the region until the Vandal invasions of the 5th century AD and the ruins of Haidra contain evidence of the period of Vandal rule as well as the subsequent Byzantine period which followed after Justinian’s successful re-conquest.

Today Haïdra contains a number of interesting ruins dating from the various periods in the city’s history. Perhaps the most impressive is the imposing Byzantine fortress - built around 550 AD on the orders of Justinian, it acted as a defensive stronghold for the newly conquered Byzantine lands.

Dating to around the same period is the Church of Melleus which is in a reasonable state of preservation with a number of surviving columns and interesting inscriptions from the 6th and 7th centuries on the paving stones. Evidence of the Vandal period survives in the form of the Vandal Chapel - dating to the reigns of King Thrasamund and King Hilderic in the early 6th century AD.

Of the other ruins at Haïdra, the most prominent is the Arch of Septimius Severus. Built in 195 AD it remains very well preserved with decorative markings still intact. However, one of the best places to actually explore is the underground bath complex, a series of reasonably intact bath chambers and corridors which you can still wander around freely.

Scant remains of the original market and theatre can also be seen as well as just one surviving column from the ancient temple that stood on the capitol. Other elements to explore at Haïdra include the Roman cemetery and the three mausoleum towers – impressive structures that have survived the ages in pretty good condition.

Photo by iambarr (cc)

Kasserine

Kasserine was an ancient Roman settlement known as Cillium, the remains of which can be seen today.

DID YOU KNOW?

Kasserine, also known as Cillium, is a city in central Tunisia with several Ancient Roman monuments and ruins.

Founded in approximately the second century AD, Kasserine became a Roman colonia known as Colonia Cillilana or just Cillium.

Just west of the main city of Kasserine, visitors can see the remains of this city, including a large ancient theatre which is carved out of the hillside, a triumphal arch and several fallen columns.

Set slightly further away from the rest of the ancient ruins, and just off the main road, is the impressive Mausoleum of the Flavii, a huge looming three-story tower-mausoleum.

Cillium is a quiet site with few people making the effort to visit the remains, particularly given the proximity of better-preserved Roman sites, such as Sbeïtla, nearby.

Photo by Neil Rickards (cc)

La Malga Cisterns

Amazingly well preserved ancient storage tanks, these cisterns supplied water to the ancient city of Carthage and, though slightly off the beaten track, are well worth a visit.

DID YOU KNOW?

La Malga Cisterns are vast ancient storage tanks used to supply water to the ancient city of Carthage.

An aqueduct system  - the Zaghouan Aqueduct - that ran for over 100km brought water to the ancient metropolis and the Malga Cisterns were used to store that water and then run it through to the city and to supply the Antonine Baths.

Converted for other uses - such as stable blocks - after the fall of Rome, the Malga Cisterns have survived remarkably well and are certainly one of the more interesting Roman sites to explore.

La Malga Cisterns features as one of our Top Visitor Attractions of Tunisia.

Photo by Tab59 (cc)

Medina of Tunis

The Medina of Tunis is the historic quarter of Tunis and a UNESCO World Heritage site.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Medina of Tunis, the historic quarter of the capital of Tunisia, is a labyrinth of some seven hundred monuments and buildings, many dating to the period between the twelfth and the sixteenth centuries.

The Medina of Tunis was founded in the seventh century following the fall of Carthage, but flourished in the twelfth century under the rule of the Almohad Dynasty and then under the Hafsid Dynasty up to the sixteenth century, both being Berber dynasties. During this time, Tunis was a thriving centre of commerce and culture, the result today being an impressive collection of surviving mosques, palaces and monuments.

The oldest mosque in the Medina of Tunis is the Al-Zaytuna Mosque or “Mosque of Olives”, which is thought to date back to the seventh or eighth century. The Sidi Mehrez Mosque in the Souk Ejjadid, with its distinctive white domes, is one of the most noticeable in the Medina of Tunis, it dating back to 1675.

Today, visitors enter the Medina of Tunis via the Bab el Bahr, a gateway also known as the Porte de France, a reminder of Tunis’ time under French rule (1881-1956). It was also under the French that the importance of the Tunis of Medina declined as the city expanded. There is a map of the Tunis of Medina next to the gate, allowing visitors to get their bearings and orange signs can be found throughout pointing to various sites.

The Medina of Tunis is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of our Top 10 Tunisian Tourist Attractions.

Photo by dalbera (cc)

Roman Amphitheatre of Carthage

Once holding over 30,000 spectators, the Roman Amphitheatre of Carthage was one of the biggest ancient stadia in North Africa. Today much of the site lies in ruins but it is still worth a visit.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Roman Amphitheatre of Carthage was once a major Roman stadium, the ruins of which can be found near modern-day Tunis.

Probably built at the end of the first century AD, it is believed to have been able to hold up to 35,000 spectators.

Unlike other Roman Amphitheatres in North Africa, such as El Jem, the Roman Amphitheatre of Carthage has been mostly lost to ruin. Although there are sources which intimate it was still intact in the early middle ages, its materials were systematically looted for other building projects and little remains today.

A Roman circus near the site was thought to be able to hold at least double the number of spectators but has been all-but-lost to history and there is little if nothing to see.

The Roman Amphitheatre of Carthage is about 1.5km from Byrsa Hill and the National Museum of Carthage.

Photo by archer10 (Dennis) (cc)

Sanctuary of Tophet

The Sanctuary of Tophet is an ancient Cartheginian burial site containing a vast number of children’s graves.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Sanctuary of Tophet holds the remains of a vast number of children’s graves dating back to the Punic period of Carthage.

Many historians have speculated that the Carthaginians practised child-sacrifice during times of serious hardship, though this point is hotly disputed.

Today this eerie site can be found near the Punic Port and the Sanctuary of Tophet also contains a Roman necropolis.

Photo by Historvius

Sbeitla

Sbeitla in Tunisia flourished as a Roman city from the 1st century AD.

DID YOU KNOW?

Sbeitla in Tunisia was once a flourishing ancient city, the spectacular remains of which are among the best Roman ruins in the world.

This startling site, also at times known as Sufetula, thrived as a Roman settlement from the 1st century AD before becoming a Christian centre, a Byzantine city and - after a brief period under Prefect Gregory - being taken by the Muslims.

Today, Sbeitla’s ruins hint at the great city that once stood here. Most of the sites date back to the 2nd or 3rd centuries AD. The highlights include its Temples of Jupiter and Minerva, both located in the beautiful forum. There are arches dedicated to Diocletian and Antionius Pius, a bath vessel complete with colourful mosaics and evidence of street planning including dwellings and roads.

There is also a museum at the site which examines the history of the area and includes an array of finds from Sbeitla. This incredible site features as one of our Top 10 Tourist Attractions of Tunisia.

Photo by upyernoz (cc)

The Antonine Baths

One of the largest ancient bath complexes ever built, the ruins of the second century Antonine Baths are a real treasure to explore.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Antonine Baths was a huge Roman bath complex in ancient Carthage, the well-preserved ruins of which can still be viewed today.

Originally built from 145 to 165 AD, mostly during the reign of the Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius, the Antonine Baths were among the largest baths to be built in the Roman world and were the largest such complex in North Africa.

The baths could cater for a multitude of visitors and contained a number of rooms and chambers standard to such ancient bath complexes, including the Frigidarium (cold room), Caldarium (hot room) and Tepidarium (hot bath).

Although it would have once existed of many stories, the remains that can be seen today are mostly from the lower level.

Despite lacking its original grandeur, the fascinating ruins of the Antonine Baths are certainly worth exploring and provide a picturesque location, positioned as they are against the backdrop of the ocean.

The Bardo Museum

The Bardo Museum is an archaeological museum in Tunisia most renowned for its Roman mosaic collection.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Bardo Museum (Le Musee National du Bardo) in Tunis is Tunisia’s national archaeological museum and contains artefacts from throughout the country’s history.

From prehistoric items to Punic ceremonial artefacts believed to be connected with practices of human sacrifice and right through to art from the Islamic era, the Bardo Museum offers a great overview of Tunisia’s past and the development of its culture.

The most celebrated exhibit at the Bardo Museum is its collection of Roman mosaics. Mostly dating from the second and third centuries, but going up to the seventh century AD, this collection has been amassed from Tunisia’s many archaeological sites, including El Jem, Dougga and Sousse.

Vibrant and intricate, the mosaics at the Bardo Museum depict everything from nautical scenes of boats and fish to images of deities and legends. One of the most famous mosaics is that of Virgil shown between the Muse of Tragedy and the Muse of History.

The Roman items do not stop at these famous mosaics however. Visitors can see numerous Roman sculptures and artefacts, many from Roman Carthage.

The Bardo Museum’s building has a long history of its own, having been a Hafside Dynasty palace originally built in the thirteenth century and renovated in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The Bardo Museum also features as one of our Top 10 Tourist Attractions in Tunisia.

The Kasserine Pass

The Kasserine Pass in Tunisia was the site of a major US defeat during World War II.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Battle of the Kasserine Pass was a World War II battle which formed part of the clash between Allied and Axis forces to gain control of Tunisia, known as the Tunisia Campaign. It would be the worst defeat the US had yet experienced in the course of the war.

In February 1943, the German-Italian Afrika Korps led by General Erwin Rommel attacked US forces, mostly the U.S. Army's II Corps, who were defending a two-mile wide valley within the Dorsal Mountains in Tunisia. This gap, known as known as the Kasserine Pass, was seen as a weak point by Rommel, who aimed to push the Allies out of Tunisia and improve his supply lines.

The Battle of the Kasserine Pass was fought between 19 and 25 December and resulted in the retreat of US forces as well as significant losses on their part. With over a thousand men killed in the battle and hundreds being taken as prisoners of war, the Americans suffered a disastrous defeat. Yet, in the aftermath of the Battle of Kasserine Pass, they made significant changes which would serve them in later battles.

There is little to see here now except to travel along the battle site.

Photo by Erik Pitti (cc)

The Magon Quarter

The Magon Quarter in Carthage holds the remains of a small Punic residential site and section of the ancient defensive wall.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Magon Quarter contains the remains of a small Punic residential area dating back to the Carthaginian city of Carthage.

The Magon Quarter is relatively small and there aren’t many remains to see, though the site does contain a section of the ancient city wall, dating back to the fifth century BC.

The North Africa American Cemetery

The North Africa American Cemetery is a World War II military graveyard in Tunisia.

DID YOU KNOW?

The North Africa American Cemetery in Tunisia is a military cemetery and memorial site, mostly for casualties of World War II. In particular, the North Africa American Cemetery houses the graves of those who were killed in campaigns in North Africa and the Persian Gulf.

Located in Tunisia, which was the site of fierce fighting between Allied and Axis powers, especially between 1942 and 1943, the North Africa American Cemetery is home to 2,841 graves and a Wall of the Missing inscribed with the names of 3,724 soldiers who went missing in action. There is also a chapel.

Photo by Neil Rickards (cc)

The Zaghouan Aqueduct

Built by the Emperor Hadrian, the Zaghouan Aqueduct supplied water to the Roman city of Carthage and stretched for over 100 miles.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Zaghouan Aqueduct - or Aqueduct of Hadrian - was a Roman aqueduct which supplied water to the ancient city of Carthage, the ruins of which can still be seen today.

Built around 130 AD, during the reign of the Emperor Hadrian, the Zaghouan Aqueduct was constructed as a response to a number of years of drought which had hit the area.

The aqueduct was partially restored in the 19th century but today lies mostly in ruins. Some of the best remains can be found about 3km south of the village of Mohammedia (marked on the map).