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View onto the Capitol, Dougga

Dougga or Thugga (Arabic: دقة‎) is a Roman ruin in northern Tunisia located on a 65 hectare site.

UNESCO qualified Dougga as a World Heritage Site in 1997, believing that it represents “the best-preserved Roman small town in North Africa”. The site, which lies in the middle of the countryside, has been protected from the encroachment of modern urbanisation, in contrast, for example, to Carthage, which has been pillaged and rebuilt on numerous occasions.

Dougga, or Thugga, is undoubtedly the most prestigious of Tunisia’s archaeological sites. Several factors contribute to its standing on the Tunisian archaeological scene: its location on a spur dominating the rich Mejerdah valley (Thugga, in the Libyc language means green), the size of the site extending over several dozen hectares and covering several historical eras, the vegetation – in particular the many centuries old olive grove surrounding it - and of course, the excellent state of conservation of most of its monuments, some of which, such as the capitol or the theatre, were “restored to their upright position” during a campaign undertaken just after the first world war by prisoners of war.Therefore, from the “dolmens” to the Byzantine fortifications, all the stages in the history of ancient Africa are illustrated on the site by outstanding monuments, buildings that figure amongst the most elegant and elaborate of the Mediterranean basin, such as the capitol, the theatre, the Lybico-Punic mausoleum, or the superb patrician villas.

The capitol

The capitol is a Roman temple from the 2nd century CE, principally dedicated to Rome’s protective triad: Jupiter Optimus Maximus, Juno Regina et Minerva Augusta. It has a secondary dedication to the wellbeing of the emperors Lucius Verus and Marcus Aurelius; judging by this reference, the capitol must have been completed in 166-167 CE.
Thomas d’Arcos identified the capitol as a temple of Jupiter in the 17th century. It was the object of further research at the end of the 19th century, led in particular by the doctor Louis Carton in 1893. The walls, executed in opus africanum style, and the entablature of the portico were restored between 1903 and 1910. Claude Poinssot discovered a crypt beneath the cella in 1955. The most recent works were carried out by the Tunisian Institut national du patrimoine between 1994 and 1996.
The capitol is exceptionally well preserved, which is a consequence of its inclusion in the Byzantine fortification. A series of eleven stairs lead up to the front portico. The temple front’s Corinthian columns are eight metres tall, on top of which is the perfectly preserved pediment. The pediment bears a depiction of emperor Antoninus Pius’s elevation to godhood. The emperor is being carried by an eagle. The base of the cella still features alcoves for three statues. The middle alcove houses a colossal statue of Jupiter. (Source: patrimoinedetunisie.com & 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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