Bulla Regia, Tunisia: Roman Town with Underground Villas

Amphitheatre at the Archaeological Site of Bulla Regia

Bulla Regia is one of the most fascinating and excellently preserved Roman sites in Tunisia. Located in the northwestern part of the country, it used to be Roman city and as such still possess the old housings. Its origins are Berber and most likely pre-date the Punic culture. Some of the ancient Greek ceramics have been found during the excavations which is a sure sign of import. During the ruling of Carthage, there are artifacts revealing the influence of the Punic as the inhabitants used to bury the departed in urns. The city itself has outlived many rulings and influences by Numidians and Romans.

Amphitheatre at the Archaeological Site of Bulla Regia
Amphitheatre at the Archaeological Site of Bulla Regia

Bulla Regia is a magnificent architectural achievement as this is the first time when Romans have built rooms underground. This was a completely new way of construction against the extreme heat of the region. The houses are lavishly decorated with hand-made mosaics that when sprinkled with water assure the coolness of the indoors.  Some of the finest mosaics have been transported and exhibited in the Bardo Museum.

Bardo Museum
Bardo Museum

The first excavations were initiated in the beginning of the 20th century and still continue after successfully revealing remains of the Roman and medieval periods. Bulla Regia is 37 kilometers south of Tabarka and is reachable by car. This is like a true walk through history. You will be amazed how preserved the houses on the site are. Start at the public bath and work your way around to the House of Treasure, the House of the Fisherman and the Christian Basilica (its baptismal tank still intact). End with a walk through the forum and onto the theater. All the tile work you will see has been done by hand and it’s in wonderful condition.

Comfortable pair of shoes will do you really good as there is lots of walking and going up and downstairs. Entering the House of the Hunt, the mosaics have no protection and with a drop of water the colors become vibrant and alive.

The reason Bulla Regia has been so well protected is because of the drifting sands that preserved the abandoned city. The site has excellent exploring conditions if you love Roman ruins and you should allow 3 to 4 hours to see it all.

Exploring Bulla Regia

If you are interested in visiting Bulla Regia, our travel experts are happy to assist you to plan an unforgettable Tunisia tour.

About the author

Kevin Dyck is the founder of Mosaic North Africa and has over 11 years experience living in North African countries. He is an Arabic speaker with a passion for travelers to encounter the diverse cultures and natural beauty found throughout the North Africa region. He currently lives in and works for MNA from Tunis, Tunisia.

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