Kasserine - History and Facts | History Hit


Kasserine, Tunisia

Kasserine was an ancient Roman settlement known as Cillium, the remains of which can be seen today.

Antara Bate

17 Jun 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Kasserine

Kasserine, also known as Cillium, is a city in central Tunisia with several Ancient Roman monuments and ruins.

Kasserine history

Founded in approximately the second century AD, Kasserine became a Roman colony known as Colonia Cillilana or just Cillium.

Under Roman Emperor Vespasian or Titus, it was elevated to the rank of municipium, and under the Severan dynasty (193-235) to that of colonia (Cillilana). It became Roman territory following the defeat of Carthage in 146 BC, belonging to the provinces of Africa, Africa Vetus, Africa Proconsularus, and finally Africa Byzacena following the reforms of Diocletian in 314 AD.

Kasserine Pass, to the northwest, was the scene of a decisive battle of the Tunisian campaign in World War Two, which contributed to the collapse of German resistance in northern Africa.

Kasserine today

Just west of the main city of Kasserine, visitors can see the remains of this city, including a large ancient theatre which is carved out of the hillside, a triumphal arch and several fallen columns.

Set slightly further away from the rest of the ancient ruins, and just off the main road, is the impressive Mausoleum of the Flavii, a huge looming three-story tower-mausoleum.

Cillium is a quiet site with few people making the effort to visit the remains, particularly given the proximity of better-preserved Roman sites, such as Sbeïtla, nearby.

Getting to Kasserine

Kasserine is the capital city of the Kasserine Governorate, in west-central Tunisia. It is situated below Jebel ech Chambi, Tunisia’s highest mountain.

The nearest airport is Gafsa Ksar Airport, which is around a 2 hour drive away from the south via the P15 then P17.