by Catherine Lavinia
Tunisia is a mine of cultural and historical wealth; from the northern sun soaked beaches to the southern desert of legend, the country breathes its own culture, art, peoples and architecture. Whilst Tunisia is part of Africa, it has a great deal of influence from Europe to the north, and historically has been occupied by several of the great ancient empires – and its appearance and architecture still reflects this today. Tunisia holidays (http://www.thomascook.com/lp/1×6-en6uqa/holidays-tunisia) are a great chance to visit many of the stunning buildings that await.
The city of El Djem is located in the East of Tunisia, and has the best collection of Roman ruins in the whole of Africa. The city was know in Roman times as Thysdrus and today is home to the amphitheatre featured in Gladiator and Monty Python. The structure of this immense building is still very much in tact and is truly a site to behold. Digs continue to be held in this area uncovering gorgeous mosaic flooring and villas that the sand has buried over time.
The small town of Matmatais lies to the south of Tunisia and is an area of great mystery. It is famous for its “Troglodyte” housing complexes, created by digging pits in the ground, then digging caves into the edges of the pit. The mystery is, that despite much speculation no one knows who first settled in this area or when. Matmatais has been used as a location for some of the Star Wars films.
The town of Dougga is the best preserved Roman town in North Africa and is a UNESCO world heritage site. Founded in the 6th Century BC the town is a showcase for buildings from the Pre-Roman, Roman and Byzantine civilizations and there is a great mix of exceptionally preserved churches, bath houses, amphitheatres, markets and auditoriums. There is a museum here too full of smaller artifacts and an explanation of the history of this town.
Visit Tunisia on holiday, but step away from the beaches awhile and see some of the incredible architecture and archaeology that Tunisia has to offer.