Dougga Tunisia.

The wonderfully intact ancient Roman settlement of Dougga is located 110 km south-west of Tunis, the capital city of Tunisia.

On a hilltop (571 metres elevation) overlooking a fertile valley with olive groves and fields of grain, Dougga provides an intimate insight into life in antiquity and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Originally named Thugga by the Numidians founders, Roman Emperor Caesar annexed the city and it became part of the Roman Empire. From the 2nd to the 4th century AD, under Roman rule, the city experienced its greatest period of growth and splendour when its landowners grew wealthy from the region’s agricultural production.

The region became known as the breadbasket of Rome.

The city continued to prosper under Byzantine rule, however declined in the Islamic period. Dougga has been described as the best-preserved small Roman town in North Africa and one of the contributing factors to its preservation is that families continued to live among the archaeological site ruins until 1961. Most of the inhabitants were moved to a new village, Dougga-al-Jadida.

The archaeological site of the ancient town covers around 75 Hectares, and within its borders are fine preserved examples and remnants of life in antiquity. Highlights include the impressive town centre (capitol, forum, market, square), there is a very impressive and well-preserved theatre, public baths, and even a brothel.

The complete Dougga image gallery can be viewed via this link – Dougga Tunisia.

All images, text and content on this website are copyright Steven Sklifas

Sabratha Libya

Magnificently sited on the water’s edge of the palm fringed white sandy west coast of Libya and North Africa, the ancient seaport city of Sabratha shines majestically as one of the most beautiful and spectacular Roman cities of the ancient Mediterranean.

Originally founded as a trading post by the Carthaginians around 500 BC, Sabratha’s importance and wealth attracted settlement by Hellenistic Greeks around the second century BC. With the rise of the Roman Empire, Sabratha continued to prosper and grow under the Empire’s influence and most of the ruins seen today are a legacy of that period.

The ancient theatre is perhaps the most graceful and spectacular of the ancient Roman world and the mosaics of the Roman and later Byzantine eras are also very impressive. Sabratha is one of the three cities of ancient Tripolis, which included Leptis Magna and Oea (Tripoli) and is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The complete Sabratha image gallery.

Apamea Syria.

The majestic Hellenistic ancient city of Apamea is in the Orontes Valley, west-central Syria.

Apamea was founded by Alexander the Great, who had named it Pella after his own hometown and birthplace in the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon.

After the death of Alexander (323 BCE), his vast empire was divided amongst his Generals and officers. Seleucus I Nicator -an army officer of Alexander the Great, founded the Seleucid kingdom, which was an empire which included modern day Syria and Iran.

Around 300 BCE, the city that Alexander founded (Pella) was renamed to Apamea by Seleucus I Nicator. Apame was the name of his Persian Wife. As part of the powerful Seleucid kingdom, Apamea flourished and became an important military base and Hellenistic provincial centre. It was part of the Syrian Tetrapolis (Antioch, Seleucia, Laodicea, Apamea) which comprised the four largest cities founded by Seleucus I Nicator.

The city eventually fell to the Roman Empire around 64 BCE, taken by the great Roman military and political leader Pompey. Apamea suffered serious damage after a severe earthquake in AD 115 and was largely rebuilt after this period. All the archaeological remains seen today are from the second century AD.

The former splendour of the ancient city is showcased by the Grand colonnaded avenue or cardo maximus, which is one of the longest and widest in the ancient world, running nearly two kilometres long and was lined with tall columns capped with decorative entablature.

The celebrated ancient city was notable enough to be visited by Cleopatra and Mark Anthony and Hannibal and, at its height, had a population of 500,000. The past splendours of vast windswept, lonely archaeological site of Apamea cover over two hundred and fifty acres, with a considerable amount yet to be excavated.

Apamea is on the UNESCO Tentative List, which is a list of properties considered being cultural and/or natural heritage of outstanding universal value and therefore suitable for inscription on the World Heritage List.

The site of Apamea was heavily looted at an industrial level during the Syrian War.

The complete Apamea image gallery.

All images, text and content are copyright Steven Sklifas.