Ain Tounga

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Tunisia is stuffed with Roman remains. The guide books feature the main sites but there are many other places scattered around the countryside which don’t get a mention in the books and there may be little or no information on the web.

Aïn Tounga is such a site. We found it marked on the Rough Guide map of Tunisia. We asked our driver if we could visit there on the way between the ‘must see’ sights of Thuburbo Majus and Dougga.

The remains are unsigned along a rough track behind the small settlement of Aïn Tounga.

It receives few visitors. There is no ticket office and the site hasn’t been excavated, although there is a guardian, who was delighted to see visitors and accompanied us showing us the main sites. They are in a delightful setting among the olive trees with goats and sheep grazing.

There are the remains of an impressive 6thC Byzantine fortress standing to nearly its full height with corner towers. Inside is a mass of overgrown masonry. Behind the fortress are the ruins of the Roman town of Thignica scattered over the hillside. A large archway lead to the market area lined with shops along the roadway. The walls are standing 3’ high in places. We could see the remains of wells and cisterns and evidence of underground living rooms. There wasn’t a lot left of the capitol building. There was the remains of a large amphitheatre with semicircular walls still standing, but little left inside. There was a second temple complex next to what was described as the summer baths.

We had the site to ourselves and really enjoyed wandering around. It is well worthwhile finding.

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