Situated at 900m (3,000 ft) above sea level, Makthar is an ancient settlement founded by the Numidians as a defense against the Carthaginians. It was later controlled by the Romans and used as a stronghold against the local Berber tribes. Makthar was eventually destroyed by the Banu Hillal tribe in the 10th century. It remains as one of the finest Roman remains in Tunisia today.
When visiting Makthar, there are several notable archaeological wonders to keep an eye out for:
- Trajan Forum – The Trajan forum was built by its citizens in 116AD upon awarded Roman citizenship to parts of the local elite of Mactaris under Trajan. On the south side is the Arch of Trajan, an ancient Roman triumphal arch.
- Large Baths – The Great Baths in Makthar was constructed approximately in 200AD and is considered to be among the best preserved of its kind in North Africa. The walls rise up to 15 meters tall and the floors are decorated with a beautiful mosaics.
- Schola Juvenum – The Schola Juvenum was a youth club for Roman boys to gather and to participate in minor militia duties such as tax collection. There were about 70 members in the Schola Juvenum in Makthar. Participation in this organization is considered a prerequisite to enroll in the Roman military service. The building of the Schola Juvenum was constructed around the year 200AD.
- Pre-Roman Structures – You can see a group of megaliths which are structures built from enormous stone slabs as a place of collective burial and for worshiping the cult of the dead. Graves of ancient Numidian kings and Punic nobleman can also be found here.
At the entrance to the archaeological site in Makthar is a museum where you can find some mosaics and other artifacts excavated from this site.
Fun Fact: There are occasional snowfall in this town during the months of January and February.
If you are interested in visiting Makthar, our travel experts are happy to assist you to plan an unforgettable Tunisia tour.