Photographer's Note

Hall of the Bardo museum

This is the oldest and the most important of Tunisian museums. Over a century ago, it was established in the premises of a Beylical palace, for the most part built in the mid XIXth century, and which has retained all the features of a princely residence. It underwent several refurbishments to adapt to the expanding collections and to the ever-increasing flows of visitors, but today it is undergoing a huge restructuring plan to improve its visibility and legibility.
Thousands of objects originating from excavations carried out all over the country during the XIXth and XXth centuries are on display. These are divided into departments between fifty or so rooms and galleries, illustrating the various stages of Tunisia’s history, from prehistory to the middle of the last century, which in chronological order are prehistory, the Punic-Libyic period, the Roman and early Christian periods, with the Vandal and Byzantine eras, and finally, the Islamic period running to contemporary times.
Thanks to its collection of mosaics, the Bardo museum has gained an international reputation for the richest, the most varied and the most refined collection. Amongst the finest pieces it holds are the representation of Virgil surrounded by muses, or the pavement of Dionysos giving Ikarios the gift of the vine, or another celebrating the triumph of Neptune, to mention only a few of the key exhibits. But these are not the museum’s only assets.
Amongst the Bardo’s major exhibits is the “hermaion”, an altar dating to the Mousterian period (-40 000 years ) considered as one of the very earliest forms of human spiritual expression: a conical shaped pile 75cm high and 1.50 m wide , composed of more than 4000 pieces of flint, bones and limestone balls.
From the Punic period there is a superb solid gold armour belonging to a Campanian warrior, jewellery, the stele of a priest carrying a child for sacrifice as well as many refined funerary furnishings originating from various Mediterranean countries belonging to the Museum’s Greek and Egyptian collection.
The Greek collection was providentially enriched by underwater excavations carried out during the 40’s off the town of Mahdia, in the wreak of a ship that sank during a storm around the first century and that was carrying furniture and architectural elements for a Hellenistic era patrician dwelling. Amongst the masterpieces retrieved from the seabed is a superb 1,20m high bronze Agon.
The Roman period has provided the Bardo with most of its collections: mosaics, of course, but also statues, pottery, jewellery, coins, religious objects, utilitarian objects etc.
The Islamic department, housed in an Arab-Islamic setting, encloses objects from various periods, manuscripts, jewellery, carved stone and wood, utilitarian objects. Two small rooms, around an elegant patio, enclose objects that once belonged to the reigning family and a third room contains Jewish religious objects.


Tunis (Arabic: تونس‎, Tūnis) is the capital of the Tunisian Republic and also the Tunis Governorate, with a population of 1,200,000 in 2008. It is Tunisia's largest city.
Situated on a large Mediterranean gulf, (the Gulf of Tunis), behind the Lake of Tunis and the port of La Goulette (Halq al Wadi), the city extends along the coastal plain and the hills that surround it. At the centre of more modern development (colonial era and post) lies the old medina. Beyond this section lie the suburbs of Carthage, La Marsa, and Sidi Bou Said.
The medina is found at the centre of the city: a dense agglomeration of alleys and covered passages, full of intense scents and colours, boisterous and active trade, a surfeit of goods on offer ranging from leather to plastic, tin to the finest filigree, tourist souvenirs to the works of tiny crafts-shops. (Source: planetware & tunisguide & wikipedia)

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Additional Photos by George Rumpler (Budapestman) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 8900 W: 3 N: 20435] (82620)
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