One of the most dramatic Capitol buildings in Tunisia and a

4/22/2021, 11:17:16 AM
One of the most dramatic Capitol buildings in Tunisia and a beautiful baptistry . The ruins of the Roman town of Sufetula are about Ikm to the north of the uninteresting modern town of Sbleïtla. This was a wealthy Roman town getting its wealth from olives. It is built up on a grid pattern suggesting it was not built on an earlier settlement. The Byzantines made it their regional capital and military stronghold and a lot of Byzantine work remains. The Arabs destroyed the town in the mid 7thC. It is one of the best preserved sites in Tunisia as the buildings were not robbed for building stones. There is a large parking area surrounded by cafes and tatty tourist shops. Ticket office is a desk in large bare building selling a few postcards and books and basic loos. The museum in a modern building beyond was locked the day we visited. The well preserved 3rdC Arch of Diocletian, with a small Byzantine fort beside it, marks the southern entrance of the town and is the first building you see as you drive to the site. It is a short walk back from the entrance along a well made paved road. There are carefully tended small plots inside the entrance growing flowers with built up earth walls round them to hold the water. Further down the paved road towards the main town site are the remains of two more Byzantine forts on either side main roadway. They are constructed of massive stone blocks with an outside stone stairway. We were reminded of the bastles seen in Northumberland. Next is a building with two olive presses and a Byzantine church with the ruins of a small bath house behind it. There are remains of walls of houses on either side of the road. There are the remains of a massive cistern on the road opposite the great baths. These are one of the more impressive buildings on the site reached down steps from the street. Pillars of the Palaestra still stand and hypocausts can still be seen under the floors. There are several areas of mosaics. The mosaics were still damp from rain earlier in the day with their colours looking bright. So often the mosaics are dry and dusty which leaves the colours looking drab. Source : silvertraveladvisor website

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