Dougga archaeological site
The Dougga Archaeological Site is undoubtedly the most prestigious archaeological site in Tunisia. Several factors combine to give it a special place in the Tunisian archaeological panorama: its location on a spur overlooking the rich valley of the Mejerdah (Thugga, in the Libyan language, means greenery), the extent of the site which spreads over several tens of hectares and which covers several historical eras, the setting of vegetation – in particular this forest of olive trees several hundred years old – which surrounds it and, of course, the excellent state of conservation of most of the monuments which make up some of which, such as the capitol or the theatre, were “restored” during a campaign led after the First World War by prisoners of war.
So, from the “dolmens” to the Byzantine fortifications, all the stages in the progression of the history of ancient Africa are illustrated on the ground by beautifully crafted monuments, buildings which are among the most elegant or of the Mediterranean basin, such as the capitol, the theatre, the Lybico-Punic mausoleum, or the superb patrician residences.
The archaeological site of Dougga is located in the northwestern region of Tunisia, perched on the top of a hill at an altitude of 571 m overlooking the fertile valley of Wadi Khalled. Before the annexation of Numidia by Rome, Thugga had more than six centuries of history and was, in all likelihood, the first capital of the Numidian kingdom. It flourished in Roman times but declined from the Byzantine period and during the Islamic period. The impressive ruins that are visible today give an idea of the resources available to a Romanized Numidian city.
These remains of an entire city with all its components testify to more than 17 centuries of history. They constitute an exceptional ensemble which illustrates the synthesis between different cultures: Numidian, Punic, Hellenistic and Roman. The Roman monuments were integrated into the urban fabric which remained fundamentally Numidian. Despite its relative importance in the administrative structure of the Roman province of Africa, Dougga has a remarkable collection of public buildings, dating mostly from the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD. Dougga is considered the African city -the best preserved Roman in all of North Africa. As such, it is an exceptional illustration of daily life in antiquity.
The archaeological site of Dougga has been inscribed on the list of world heritage of humanity and erected as a national archaeological park, which will give it a more appropriate development and more complete services.