About Carthage Roman Villas and Kobba Bent el Rey
The Carthage Roman Villas site holds the ruins of a number of Roman luxury houses and Roman insulae, or apartment blocks. They are located in Carthage, Tunisia’s most famous site of ancient Roman ruins.
History of Carthage Roman Villas and Kobba Bent el Rey
Tunisia is home to a collection of stunning Roman ruins. It was the stage for the first Roman siege on African soil between 149-146BC. The Romans hugely changed the landscapes of the places where they settled in Tunisia, building structures such as great amphitheatres and villas which were richly decorated with mosaics and paintings.
By the turn of the first century AD, Carthage was the second largest city in the western half of Rome’s empire. It was eventually destroyed in 698AD; however, the remains which still stand there are a testament to its rulers.
The Carthage Roman Villa and Kobba Bent el Rey site is believed to have housed some of the wealthier inhabitants of Roman Carthage. Though the site is thought to have suffered during the Vandal invasions, the Kobba Bent el Rey is particularly well-preserved, being a residential ruin which dates back to the 4th century.
Carthage Roman Villas and Kobba Bent el Rey Today
While many of these houses have little left to see today, the notable exceptions are the ’House of the Aviary’ (Villa de la volièr) which contains an intricate mosaic showing birds nesting among the tress.
Another highlight is the structure known as Kobba Bent el Rey, or Baths of Dido, a vaulted underground building dating from the early fourth century. The Kobba Bent el Rey is considered to be among the best preserved residential ruins in Carthage.
Other sites in the area include the Antonine Baths. Originally built from 145 to 165 AD, mostly during the reign of the Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius, the Antonine Baths were among the largest baths to be built in the Roman world and were the largest such complex in North Africa.
The site is popular amongst tourists and locals alike. Entry is free for Tunisians on the first Sunday of every month and on public holidays. For tourists, access to all of the historical sites of Carthage costs 10dt. The strategically-positioned site is also particularly beautiful, with a panoramic view of the surrounding area crowning what is a fascinating day out.
Getting to Carthage Roman Villas and Kobba Bent el Rey
The Roman Villas and Kobba Bent el Rey are reachable in around 10 minutes by foot and 2 minutes by car via Route de La Goulette. From the centre of Tunis, the site is reachable in 20-30 minutes via the N9, or Avenue Habib Bourguiba/R23/Route de La Goulette/RR23 and R23/RR23.