Monday, April 1, 2013

Dennis Jarvis' Photo Travelogue: Dougga (Tunisia)

In my introductory post about the many adventures of Dennis Jarvis from Halifax Canada, I promised to build up more on the places he visited and traveled around the world. 

Tunisia-2731 - Arrived at Dougga
Ruins of Dougga Theatre

Starting from his visit to Tunisia, Jarvis' photo-stream first touches upon the ruins of Dougga, also called Thugga. Dougga is an ancient Roman city in the Northern Tunisia, spread over an area of 65 hectares   Due to its place in history, specially the Roman history, it is a UNESCO World Heritage site, believing that it represents “the best-preserved Roman small town in North Africa”. 

The site, which lies in the middle of the countryside, has been protected from the encroachment of modern urbanization  in contrast, for example, to Carthage, which has been pillaged and rebuilt on numerous occasions.

Dougga’s size, monuments and its rich Numidian-Berber, Punic, ancient Roman and Byzantine history make it exceptional. Among the most famous monuments at the site are a Punic-Libyan mausoleum, the capitol, the theatre, and the temples of Saturn and of Juno Caelestis.

Tunisia-2732 - Inside the Theatre
Inside of Dougga Theatre

The Dougga theatre has been restored so that concerts can be held there, holding up to 3500 people. On some of the stones at the theatre and nearby you can still read some engraved words, there are also intricately carved columns still standing.


The Dougga Theatre is a huge structure that catered for the seating capacity of thousands.



The theatre, which was built in 168 or 169 AD, is one of the best preserved examples in Roman Africa. It could seat 3500 spectators, even though Dougga only had 5000 inhabitants. It was one of a series of imperial buildings constructed over the course of two centuries at Dougga which deviate from the classic “blueprints” only in as much as they have been adapted to take account of the local terrain. Some minor adjustments have been made and the local architects had a certain freedom with regard to the ornamentation of the buildings

Tunisia-2739 - Looking Down from the Top

A magnificent theatre and as good or better than others I have seen in the Roman world, not the largest.

Tunisia-2744 - Leaving the Theatre

Jarvis while appreciating the way these archaeological remains have been preserved, is also mouthful of the friendliness of the people of Tunisia, their warm hospitality and sport.

Tunisia-2741 - Friendly People

As for the above photograph, I put this up by itself so I could make a point. I have been in many countries around the world and I will say that the people of Tunisia are very friendly, they did not ask for money when you took their pictures and always offered a smile. This young lady just waved at me for no reason other than to say hi. Also notice the writing at the top of the column and on the block beside her.

I love ancient ruins and building but the best part of travelling is meeting the people and seeing how they live.

So here we come to an end of Jarvis visit to Dougga ruins. In my next post I shall cover 'Kairouan,' a very important place of Tunisia and its relevance to Muslim architecture and graves of companions of the Prophet Muhammad, may peace be upon Him.

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