AIA Tours: land

Tunisia: Phoenicians to Romans, Mosaics to Mosques

Tour Dates: October 14-24, 2021 (11 days)

Tour Leader(s): Nejib ben Lazreg ,

NOTE: This tour has been cancelled for 2021, a departure for 2022 is in the planning stage. To be notified when the tour is available, please call 800-748-6262 or email aia@studytours.org

This fascinating itinerary features all seven of Tunisia’s cultural UNESCO World Heritage sites, including fabled Carthage, with its museum’s unparalleled collection of Punic artifacts; Dougga’s splendid 3,500-seat theater and temples; Kairouan’s Great Mosque; and El Djem’s marvelous 30,000-seat ancient amphitheater. Other highlights include the leadership of our distinguished Tunisian archaeologist and visits to Bulla Regia’s underground Roman villas, Temple of Apollo, and 4th-century theater; Thuburbo Majus’s Forum, Temple of Mercury, and sunken winter baths; and the Bardo Museum’s renowned exhibits of ancient mosaics.

Seize the opportunity to also visit the cultural treasures of Malta on our optional, 4-day extension featuring the megalithic temples at Tarxien, Hagar Qim, Mnajdra, and Ggantija; Hal Saflieni Hypogeum; and the splendid medieval cities of Valletta and Mdina.
Maximum of just 12 travelers!


Main Tour Pricing: (9 nights)

Double occupancy (10-12 participants) $6,145
Double occupancy (6-9 participants) $6,745
Single supplement (limited availability) $985

*Single room supplement will be charged when requested or required.

Optional Post Tour Extension to Malta (3 nights)
Double occupancy (10-12 participants) $2,760

No additional single supplement

To reserve your space using the online form, click here.

For reservations or questions, please email us at aia@studytours.org (and include your full name) or call us toll-free at (800) 748-6262 (toll: 603-756-2884).

The Great Mosque at Kairouan, founded in A.D. 670. © Marek Szarejko

Bulla Regia theater arcades © Pradigue

The Arch of Alexander Severus at Dougga © Bernard Gagnon

Mosaic detail on display at the Bardo Museum © R. Todd Nielsen

AIA study leader Nejib ben Lazreg and travelers at Bulla Regia © Jane Waldbaum

Thuburbo Majus © Patrick Giraud

El Djem Amphitheater © Agnieszka Wolska

Extension to Malta - Map

Hal Saflieni, Malta © A Pace

Ggantija, Malta © Hamelin de Guettelet

Itinerary


Thursday, October 14, 2021: Depart home
Friday, October 15: Arrive Tunis, Tunisia |  Welcome dinner
Saturday, October 16:  Bardo Museum | Carthage| Sidi Bou Said | Tunis
Sunday, October 17: Cape Bon Region | Tunis
Monday, October 18: Oudna | Tunis walking tour
Tuesday, October 19: Bulla Regia | Tabarka
Wednesday, October 20: Dougga | Kairouan
Thursday, October 21: Kairouan walking tour | El Djem | Sousse
Friday, October 22: Sousse: AM walking tour | PM at leisure
Saturday, October 23: Thuburbo Majus | Zaghouan | Tunis | Farewell dinner
Sunday, October 24: Fly home OR Begin Malta extension

 

The Mysteries of Malta Optional Post-Tour Extension
(4 days)

Sunday, October 24, 2021: Depart Tunis | Arrive Malta | Mdina walking tour | Sliema | Welcome dinner
Monday, October 25: Hal Saflieni Hypogeum | Tarxien | Hagar Qim | Mnajdra | Valletta city tour | Sliema
Tuesday, October 26: Gozo | Sliema| Farewell dinner
Wednesday, October 27: Fly home

View Detailed Itinerary

(B)= Breakfast, (L)= Lunch, (D)= Dinner

Thursday, October 14, 2021: Depart home

Friday, October 15: Arrive Tunis, Tunisia | Welcome dinner
Arrive today at Tunis-Carthage International Airport (TUN), where you will be met and transferred to our hotel near the seashore. Enjoy a welcome dinner at our hotel. Overnight at the 5-star Golden Tulip Carthage Tunis hotel for four nights. (D)

Saturday, October 16:  Bardo Museum | Carthage | Sidi Bou Said | Tunis
This morning we gather for an introductory lecture before setting out to visit the world famous Bardo Museum, whose earliest exhibits (Punic) date to the 7th century B.C., and whose most exquisite exhibits (Roman and Byzantine) are mosaics from sites all over Tunisia, many virtually intact. After lunch we explore the vast site of Carthage, founded in 814 B.C. by the Phoenicians and sacked by the Romans in 146 B.C. It was not until the 1st century A.D. that Rome rebuilt the city, and within a few years it expanded and prospered to the point where it was second only to Rome. Our visit of this UNESCO World Heritage Site will include the tophets, Punic ports, Antonine Baths, Byrsa Hill, and cisterns. Continue on to the cliff top village of Sidi Bou Said, whose gleaming houses and stunning location above the Gulf of Tunis make for a wonderful stroll through its maze of lanes and alleys. The village has attracted generations of European artists and writers, and is often called a “living museum.” Dinner is at our hotel in Tunis. (B,L,D)

Sunday, October 17: Cape Bon Region | Tunis
Set out early this morning for Cape Bon, a fertile agricultural region that was developed by the French as the heart of Tunisia’s wine industry. As we travel the Cape, we will have opportunities for scenic stops, such as at the Punic city of Kerkouane (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and in Nabeul, at the southern base of the peninsula, where there is a small but interesting archaeological museum. Late this afternoon we return to Tunis, where the balance of the day is at leisure. Restaurant suggestions for dinner will be provided, as there are many enjoyable dining options. (B,L)

Monday, October 18:  Oudna | Tunis walking tour
This morning we drive to Oudna (Roman Uthina), one of Tunisia’s more recently excavated sites that is still a work in progress. See the fine amphitheater and nearly a dozen villas with many mosaics, cisterns, and storage areas. After lunch we return to Tunis and take an in-depth walking tour of its medina, the historic heart of the city, viewing the architecture of the Zitouna mosque and the nearby Hamouda Pasha and Youssouf Day mosques. Return to our hotel, where we gather for dinner. (B,L,D)

Tuesday, October 19: Bulla Regia | Tabarka
Depart Tunis, driving northwest along both scenic back roads and main roads. This area remains relatively undeveloped, with beautiful rural scenery and fertile farmland. Make a visit to Bulla Regia, an unusual and very well preserved site that features underground Roman villas; a Temple of Apollo, the oldest extant structure on the site; and a 2nd-century theater. From Bulla Regia we drive into the mountains to the seaside town of Tabarka, where we check-in to our beautifully-located hotel and gather for dinner. Overnight at the 5-star La Cigale Tabarka Hôtel. (B,L,D)

Wednesday, October 20: Dougga | Kairouan
This morning we drive along scenic country roads to Dougga (ancient Thugga), Tunisia’s most extensive archaeological site. Covering some 60 acres on a steep slope some 2,000 feet above the plain, Dougga was known as the “city of temples” and today is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit the theater, which accommodates almost 3,500 people; the Temple of Saturn, under which was found evidence of a pre-Roman sanctuary dedicated to the Carthaginian god Baal; the Temples of Augustan Piety and Mercury; and the grandest structure—the Capitol that was dedicated to the gods Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva, and to the glory of co-emperors Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus. Continue on to Kairouan, where we check-in to our hotel and have dinner. Overnight at the 5-star Hôtel La Kasbah. (B,L,D)

Thursday, October 21: Kairouan walking tour | El Djem | Sousse
Kairouan’s location along the old caravan routes provided a base for a flourishing crafts industry, which lives on today in its rugs and textiles. Today we walk through the heart of this UNESCO World Heritage Site’s medina, past sellers of carpets, leather goods, brass works, and spices to the Great Mosque, which has been rebuilt several times since its original construction in the 7th century. Set out on a drive to El Djem, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most extraordinary sites in Tunisia thanks to the marvelous, 3rd-century A.D. amphitheater in the heart of the town. Nearby is the museum of El Djem, which houses some lovely mosaics and the remains of some recently-excavated luxury villas. Continue on to the seaside city of Sousse, Tunisia’s third largest city, where we have dinner. Overnight at the 5-star Mövenpick Resort & Marine Spa for two nights. (B,L,D)

Friday, October 22: Sousse: AM walking tour, PM at leisure
Visit the historic heart of Sousse, long a thriving trading center and major port and today a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit the Great Mosque, originally constructed in A.D. 850; and walk through the souk, dominated by woolworkers. After lunch, the balance of the day is at leisure. Dining suggestions will be provided. (B,L)

Saturday, October 23: Thuburbo Majus | Tunis | Farewell dinner
Travel inland to the vast, sprawling site of Thuburbo Majus, one of Tunisia’s best-preserved sites. It was occupied by the Berbers, Phoenicians, and (in 27 B.C.) the Romans. Its imperial remains are typical of a Roman city and include the towering, 2nd-century A.D. Capitol and Forum. Continue on to Tunis, where lunch will be in the medina, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, after which you will have time to further explore the medina with Nejib before driving to your hotel. This evening, we gather for a farewell dinner in a wonderful setting. Overnight at the 5-star Sheraton Tunis Hotel  (or similar). (B,L,D)

Sunday, October 24: Fly home OR Begin Malta extension
Transfer this morning to Tunis-Carthage International Airport (TUN) for flights homeward or onward to Malta, for those on the post-tour extension. (B)

Sunday, October 24, 2021: Depart Tunis | Arrive Malta | Mdina walking tour | Sliema | Welcome dinner
From Tunis, take a 50-minute flight to Malta, where we will be met at the International Airport (MLA). Begin our exploration of the island with a walking tour of Malta’s old capital, Mdina, including the exterior of the Cathedral whose imposing bastions provide a panoramic view of most of the island; and visit the 1st-century B.C. Roman Villa, featuring fine floor mosaics. Continue along the narrow, winding roads to St. Paul’s Catacombs, which date to the 4th and 5th centuries. In the late afternoon, drive to Sliema, where our hotel is located within a short walk of cafés, shops, and the seaside. This evening, enjoy a welcome dinner of Maltese cuisine. Overnight at the 5-star AX The Victoria hotel for three nights. (D)

Monday, October 25: Hal Saflieni Hypogeum | Tarxien | Hagar Qim | Mnajdra | Valletta city tour | Sliema
For this morning’s excursion we will be joined by special guest Dr. Nicholas Vella, a noted Maltese archaeologist from the University of Malta. Begin the morning with a visit (permission pending) to the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Hypogeum (“underground” in Greek) is a subterranean structure dating from 3600-2500 B.C. that is the only known underground, prehistoric temple in the world. (Only 80 visitors are allowed per day, by advance arrangement.) Drive to the southern portion of the island to visit the intriguing megalithic temples (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) at Tarxien, dating from 3600-2500 B.C., which are renowned for their detailed carvings; plus the temples at Hagar Qim and Mnajdra, overlooking the sea. Bid farewell to Dr. Vella and continue on to the capital city of Valletta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After lunch at leisure, enjoy a guided tour of the city, including St. John’s Co-Cathedral, featuring impressive Baroque architecture and precious works of art, and the Grand Master’s Palace. Return to Sliema and gather for dinner at our hotel. (B,D)

Tuesday, October 26: Gozo | Sliema | Farewell dinner
Set out early today to visit Malta’s sister island of Gozo, barely 20 minutes from the mainland by ferry. Visit the Ggantija megalithic complex, dating from about 3600 to 3200 B.C., which is among the oldest and best preserved temples in the world. Continue on to Ta’ Pinu Church, Xlendi Bay, and Victoria’s Citadella, which presents the opportunity to visit the Gozo Museum of Archaeology, the Folklore Museum, and the Old Prison. Return to Sliema and gather for a farewell dinner. (B,D)

Wednesday, October 27: Fly home
Transfer this morning to the International Airport (MLA) for flights homeward. (B)


For reservations or questions, please email us at aia@studytours.org (and include your full name) or call us toll-free at (800) 748-6262 (toll: 603-756-2884). To reserve your space using the online form, click here.

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