Rome Journal

Andrew moves to Italy. Hilarity ensues.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

makthar daddy

Mactaris (the modern Makthar) is another of these sites that's an hour away from Le Kef. It's up very high (3000' or so) and was the only place I felt chilly in Tunisia.

I visited from Kef, as a stop on my way to Kairouan. My bright idea was to take the first bus there... which left at 5:30 AM. I took it, and arrived at 7:10, almost an hour before the site opened. Such an eager beaver, I am.

I was hoping for some nice morning light, but as it turned out, I just missed the rain. Here's the forum with its monumental arch of Trajan at one end:

One of the bath complexes at the site:

This is the schola iuvenum, a building I've seen alternately described as a place for educating young men in Romanness, and as a "paramilitary headquarters". Take your pick:

And finally, the other baths in Mactaris. I'm pretty sure that they haven't been fully excavated; this big arch should be a lot higher than it is:

The modern town of Makthar is pretty grim, and I wasn't too eager to stick around any longer than I had to. Unfortunately, after an hour or so at the site, I'd missed the next louage out of town and the next bus wasn't until midafternoon. But I persuaded another louage driver to drop me off in Kairouan: he charged me 8 dinars (about $6), which made everybody standing around snicker about how the American was getting ripped off...


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