The Zaghouan Aqueduct - History and Facts | History Hit

The Zaghouan Aqueduct

Ben Arous, Ben Arous, Tunisia

Built by the Emperor Hadrian, the Zaghouan Aqueduct supplied water to the Roman city of Carthage and stretched for over 100 miles.

Antara Bate

24 Nov 2020
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About The Zaghouan Aqueduct

The Zaghouan Aqueduct, also known as the Aqueduct of Hadrian, was a Roman aqueduct that supplied water to the ancient city of Carthage, the ruins of which can still be seen today.

Built around 130 AD, during the reign of the Emperor Hadrian, the Zaghouan Aqueduct was constructed as a response to a number of years of drought which had hit the area.

The Zaghouan Aqueduct history

The town of Zaghouan in northeastern Tunisia lies on the northern slope of Mount Zaghouan at an elevation of 4,249 feet. It was built on the ancient Roman site of Zigus. The Roman aqueduct and canal network built in the 2nd century BC under the emperor Hadrian was used to bring water more than 80 miles from Zaghouan to Carthage.

Zaghouan Aqueduct is one of the best-preserved Roman aqueducts among the hundreds built throughout Europe and North Africa.

Over the centuries, the aqueducts endured attack and abandonment followed by restoration and revaluation. The two destructive attacks were that of the Vandals in the 5th century and that of the Hilalians in the 13th century.

The aqueduct continued to function until at least the end of the Vandals (536 AD). It is believed that during the Byzantine period, which was marked by frequent political unrest and insecurity in the rural areas, the aqueduct began to deteriorate, though without going completely out of service.

More than six centuries later, Sultan Hafsid, gave new life to the aqueduct by making the necessary refurbishment from 1250 to 1267, to link it with the new construction, at the Kasbah of Tunis which run through the gardens of Ras-al-Tabia, of Bardo and Rabta.

The Zaghouan Aqueduct today

The aqueduct was partially restored in the 19th century but today lies mostly in ruins. Some of the best remains can be found about 3km south of the village of Mohammedia.

Today visitors can admire the high columns of the ancient aqueduct, reminiscent of the former grandeur of the city of Carthage.

Getting to the Zaghouan Aqueduct

The aqueduct is around half an hour’s drive from Tunis Carthage Airport. The nearest train station is Oudna.  It is around 10 mins drive from the Uthina Archaeological site.

Featured In