The archeological site of Dougga is located in the region of Beja; more precisely in the delegation of Teboursouk. There are some spectacular ruins of Roman-Libyan city which still stand today. In 1997, UNESCO considered Dougga “the best-preserved Roman small town in North Africa”.
The ancient Thugga gained its power due to its mountainous terrain and surrounding landscape, its soil fertility of plains, and its water abundance. These factors contributed not only to create an agricultural and economic force but also to defend the city.
Numidian founders used to call Dougga “Tukka”, which means a sheer rock. At the end of the IVth century BC, It was part of Carthage and ended up during the first half of IInd century BC in the hands of Numidians; allies of Rome against Carthage. It was only in 205 that Thugga has been totally Romanized changing its civic status into «Municipium» where all citizens are Romans.
Nowadays, the archaeological site of Dougga covers a significant number of remains and monuments that hold different functions and establish the history of the ancient city and Tunisia.
Numidian, Punic, Roman or even Byzantines, public or private, religious or recreational, in the center of the city or in the periphery; these are the criteria that help us specify the nature and significance of monuments. For example, despite their antiquity compared to other monuments, the Numidian necropolises situated at the tip of the city are less important than the Libyco-Punic Mausoleum which is considered one of the centerpieces of the site. This mausoleum, sometimes called the mausoleum of Atban, is the very rare work of Royal Numidian funerary architecture that still exists in Tunisia. A bilingual Libyan and Punic inscription found in this monument of the IInd century BC helped us decipher the Punic language.
In this site, we encounter about twenty cult places of different cultures. Some of them reflect the relationship between Punic and Roman cult (Temple of Junon-Caelestis, Temple of Saturn etc.), others give us an idea on the different rituals and practices of Roman cult (Temple of Mercury, Temple of Pluto, the Temple of Augustan piety etc.). The most impressive temple remains the Roman Capitol dedicated to the Capitoline Triad (Jupiter-Juno-Minerva).
The Capitol, the Forum with its 924 m2, the square of the rose of the winds, the market, and the Temple of Mercury form together the monumental core of Roman city. A residential area that dates back to the IInd century is set up below the city center.
Several spa resorts, an Auditorium, a circus, as well as the majestic Theater of Dougga are considered among the best preserved of Roman Africa which can accommodate up to 3500 spectators. These leisure monuments reflect the greatness of the city and the cultural level of citizens.
NB: the archaeological site of Dougga has a parking, a cafeteria and a toilet. We recommend you to take your food with you; the village of Teboursouk is just nearby so get enough food supplies☺.