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El Kef, Tunisia

The archaeological site of Mactaris



The archaeological site of Mactaris adjoins the city of Makthar which is, in a way, a late outgrowth, colonial era, as evidenced by some buildings (as the seat of the delegation) or dwellings with sloping roofs covered with red tiles.

Mactaris is the Latin transposition of the initial place name: Mktrm, which testifies to the lybic origins of the city, as evidenced by the large number of funerary monuments dating back to this civilization and which are inserted in the site. It is about all that remains of this time I as "monumental" legacy.

The foundation of the city itself seems to go back to the 1st century BC, with the installation of punic or Punic colonists who spread the religion, culture and arts of Carthage in the region, and this in a sustainable way. This city survived even after the arrival of the Romans, at the beginning of the first century. It is, however, in Roman times that the essential part of an archaeological heritage is considered as one of the richest and most beautiful in Tunisia. The city reached its peak in the 2nd and 3rd centuries. Its decline began in the fourth century and rushed with vandal and Byzantine invasions.

A monumental gate, which stands today at the entrance of the modern city, welcomes the visitor. On the other side of the road, the site itself is surrounded by a fence. Behind, all the monuments that make up a Roman city, mostly in a beautiful state of conservation: amphitheater, baths (4, in all), forum crowned by an imposing triumphal arch dedicated to Trajan, temples, basilicas, crypts, mausoleums and even ... Roman tax collection!

A whole world! ..

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