" Ha´dra: border Roman city" Top 5 Page for this destination Tunisia Off The Beaten Path Tip by Elisabcn
Tunisia Off The Beaten Path: 144 reviews and 270 photos
Welcome to the Wild West! Haïdra is a border city: from here Algeria is only at 43Km. And it is also a forgotten city . . . forgotten by locals, by tourists and even by archaeologists . . . and it’s a pity because it’s really huge and very interesting!!! I guess there are more underground remains waiting to be discovered than visible remains.
We are talking about the remains of Ammaedara, one of the most ancient Roman cities in Africa. The Augustus’ Third Legion settled here by the Ist century AD to protect the fertile valleys against the rebellious tribal lords of the Algerian and Tunisian mountains. After defeating these tribes, Ammaedara was populated with retired soldiers and became a prosperous trading town.
It’s difficult to have a “vue d’ensemble” of Haidra: it is really huge and the land is not flat. The fact that the road from Kalaat Khasba passes through the middle of the site, does not help either. And it’s difficult to imagine how the city was in ancient times because the site has monuments from different periods, styles and people. For me the best way to enjoy Haidra is admiring monument by monument, looking at them individually and sometimes in relation to the landscape. There are really very interesting monuments kept in very good conditions, like the Third Legion Cemetery, the Arch of Septiminius Severus (192AD)
(pictures 1 and 3), the reconstructed Church of Melleus (built during the IVth century using the famous Chemtou marble and with interesting inscriptions telling about the conflicting times when the Byzantines were replaced by the Vandals) or the Underground Baths,
(picture 5) built during the last period of Haidra. But in a country like Tunisia with so many Roman sites, what makes Haïdra so special is its non-Roman buildings (see my next tip) because they are rare. Haïdra is gorgeous at sunset. Consider 3-4 hours to visit it well.
Directions: West of Tunisia
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