Tunisia Christian Heritage Tour – 8 Days

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  • els-sidibousaid-seaview2DAY 1   ARRIVAL D
    Upon arrival in Carthage International Airport, you will be met by your private driver / guide and taken to your hotel for check-in. Depending on your time of arrival, you will begin with a tour of the picturesque Village of Sidi Bou Said. Dinner will be served in the hotel.

    After Breakfast, our tour will depart for the ancient archaeological site of Carthage. Under the Roman Empire this city was the largest in North Africa and an early center of the Christian faith. Some of the specific areas we will see at the site are the Carthage Church Ruins, Byrsa Hill, Perpetua & Felicitas Martyrdom Place, the Carthage National Museum, La Malga Cisterns, Antonine bath, Sanctuary of Tophet and the Punic Port. Tunisia produced two fathers of the church: Tertullian and Saint Augustine, as well as Martyred Saints: Perpetua, Felicitas, and Cyprian.

    After breakfast, our tour will take us about an hour from Tunis to the Roman Archaeological site of Dougga, which is one of the best preserved Roman ruins in Tunisia, and recognized as a World Heritage site by UNESCO. The Victoria Church, which stands in the northeast of the site, is the only Christian building that has been excavated at Dougga so far. At the end of the 4th century or beginning 5th century, the Christian community erected this unusually designed little church in the midst of a pagan cemetery.

    From here our tour will take us to Saint Joseph’s Thibar, a 19th century monastery devoted to agricultural and industrial utilisation, as well as apostolic work among villagers through practicing charity, justice and mercy.

    After breakfast, our tour will depart for Le Kef. The city’s architecture bears witness to its Jewish and Christian heritage. The Dar Kouss church was built in the fifth century. At 30 meters in length and 14 meters in width, it is one of the biggest churches built in the early-Christian era. The synagogue of El-Kef is known as the Ghriba “the mysterious”. The current design of the building dates back to the seventeenth century. From here our tour will take us to Haidra. This Roman archeological site holds many impressive structures that have survived the ages in good condition. From the Byzantine Fortress to the the Church of Melleus, and the Arch of Septimius Severus, many imposing columns and interesting inscriptions and decorative markings are still intact and well preserved. However, one of the best places to actually see is the Underground Bath Complex with its series of reasonably intact bath chanbers and corridors open for exploration.

    After breakfast, our tour will depart for Sbeitla, once a flourishing ancient city of which the spectacular remains are among the best Roman ruins in the world. This startling site, also at times known as Sufetula, thrived as a Roman settlement from the 1st century AD before becoming a Christian centre, Then a Byzantine city and then after a brief period under Prefect Gregory, was taken over by the Muslims.
    From here our tour will take us to the coastal city of Mahdia. Here we will see the Borj El Kebir (The Great Fortress), the Sailor’s cemetery, the Mahdia Medina, and the Fatimid Port.

    After breakfast our tour will depart for El Jem, the largest roman colosseum built in Africa. This arena held up to 35,000 spectators that watched gladiators fight for entertainment and Christians be martyred for their faith. From here our tour will take us to Sousse, where we will visit the Sousse Archaeological Museum and enjoy the maze of spectacular shopping inside the old walled city, the medina. Also in Sousse, we will visit the underground “Bon Pasteur” catacombs. When Christians were persecuted under the Roman Empire, they hid in these underground caves and also buried their dead there. The Bon Pasteur catacombs consist of 240 galleries stretching over 5 kilometres with an estimated 15,000 burial chambers. The catacombs existance, little known to the average Tunisian, is proof of Tunisia’s past as a Christian country.

    After breakfast our tour will depart for Enfidha where we will visit a Byzantine church turned into a small museum with several mosaics and artifacts from the Christian era. From here our tour takes us to the Berber village of Takrouna with its beautiful landscape views. From here, on our way to Zaghouan, we will stop in Uppenna and see where archeological excavations have begun to uncover mosaics with epitaphs to Christian martyrs who’d lived locally. Zaghouan is a city with the site of two particularly interesting mosques. One is a Christian church that was converted into a mosque after Tunisia gained its independence from France; its erstwhile clock tower is now a minaret. The other mosque is a fine example of Ottoman octagonal architecture. In Zaghouan we will also visit the Temple of Waters (Nymphaeum) and the Hadrian Aqueduct.

    After breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport for departure.


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