Tuesday, November 25, 2008



The BARDO Museum, located about six km away from the medina of Tunis in the suburb of Bardo, occupies the building of an old 13th century Hafside palace that has been restored and expanded to become a superb example of Arab-Moslem 17th and 18th century architecture. Created in 1882, the old palace of the Bey opened its doors as a museum on May 7, 1888, and was named Alaoui Museum, after the then ruling Bey Ali III. It houses the biggest museum of North Africa, famous for the collections of Roman mosaics taken from the ruins of Carthage, Hadrumète (current Sousse) and Utique, and is considered to be one of the best in the world! The tour around the three floors, thirty four rooms and seven sections of the museum is a tour through Tunisian history, dominated however by the Punic, Roman and Christian periods.

"ROMAN CARTHAGE - After the rooms dedicated to the Prehistoric era, the room of Roman Carthage, originally the palace's patio, shows large collection of statues coming from Carthage. One of those is the Venus Pudica: a statue showing the goddess of love hiding her breast and raising its toga"

"FORMER BEY'S APARTMENT - Stucco is a material made of an aggregate, a binder, and water, applied wet and hardened to a very dense solid. It is also used for decoration"

"CEILING of the Virgil room"

"CEILING of the Sousse room"

"CEILING - Painted ceiling of the Oudna Room, the palace's former dining room"


"SEVEN DAYS - Most of the mosaics were commissioned between the 2nd and 4th centuries AD to adorn the sumptuous villas of wealthy citizens throughout Tunisia"

"HUNTING SCENES - (Chasse à courre)"




"SOUSSE - Large floor mosaic of the Sousse room"


"THE TRIUMPH OF NEPTUNE - Tunisia can praise itself about the number and quality of its Roman mosaics. During the 2nd and 3rd centuries, the region became wealthy and the Tunisian mosaics began to develop their own distinct style, diverging from the original Italian influences. The Triumph of Neptune is a mosaic from La Chebba (near Sfax), of the late 2nd century and shows the god with the four seasons"

"THE DOMAIN OF MASTER JULIUS - The mosaic is a document about the life of an agricultural domain at the end of the 4th century. We see the master and his wife controlling farm life during the year"

"VIRGIL - The mosaic of Virgil (Sousse 3rd century) holding a volume of the Aeneid flanked by the Muses Clio (History) and Melpomene (Tragedy) is one of the masterpieces of the museum. It's so detailed that the inscription of the eighth line of the Aeneid is readable"


Alok passed this award to me with the kindest words! I'm thrilled!

Thank you Alok!


Anonymous said...

Hi everybody! Last week the counter reached 30000 visitors since it started counting. However, only a very few of these make comments. Since we are now in the Mediterranean Sea, it could be said about the commentators what Vergilius (Virgil) wrote in the Aeneid: «apparent rari nantes in gurgite vasto». Thanks to the «rari nantes»…

Unknown said...

Hi Gil, congrats on the visitors and many thousands to come. It's a joy to come to this blog..as I get to dream on all those fabulous vacations that I'll probably never have the chance to take. You are one lucky guy!! Congrats on the award, much deserved. Look at those ceilings and mosaics..its incredible!! tks for sharing with us Gil, big hugs to you and your family and have a great week ahead :D

Olivier said...

les mosaïques sont vraiment magnifiques, c'est du bonheur pour les yeux. Et bravo pour ton award (tu en as une belle collection)

Anonymous said...

very nice roman architecture and artworks! it's great to see they are so well preserved even though 2000 years hv passed. ;)

i love the tiles too!

virtualjourney said...

Congrats, though it'd take awhile to comment round everyone who looked in!

Don't these mosaics put what we have over here in the shade. What a wealth of detail - especially liked the fish one... didn't realize they were as varied as this.

angela said...

You've enlarged your photos and they show off the museum beautifully. Those mosaics are amazing.

Congratulations on your award!

indicaspecies said...

Anyone who drops in here gets to enjoy such gorgeous pictures and ought to drop a word of thanks.

Gil, I thank you for an informative post on the Bardo Museum. Your photographs are a delight. Have a lovely week!

- celine

Anonymous said...

We are happy to have some nice Roman mosaiques here in Cologne but what you show, well: outstanding, great. I have never seen so many beautiful mosaiques in one spot. It must have been great to have looked at them.

alicesg said...

Very lovely post today on the rich history of the tiles. I am sure the pictures of the tiles tell which century they were and history too. Love the amazing designs.

Maria Verivaki said...

thanks for sharing the brilliant artwork of tunisia - loved the ride!

Cutie said...

Great artwork. The pictures are so beautiful. People are really so talented.

Mariposa said...

oh wow the tiles are gorgeous~~

Anonymous said...

fantastic artwork!!! thanks for shared. this is an excellent view back to history

Light and Voices said...

Your photographs of tiles and ceilings etc are lovely! Thank you for sharing what you see with us.

Joy said...

I love the mosaic! The tiles are so beautiful, Gil. You're so fortunate to have seen them.

Thanks for visiting Norwich Daily Photo and leaving your comments. Sorry for a delayed visit. I had no Internet for a couple of days, and even now it's crawling.

A Pinay In England
Your Love Coach
I, Woman

Lori said...

I've never seen such spectacular ceilings before! What a wonderful museum and how lucky you were to get to visit. I've never heard of the Bardo Museum before so thank you for introducing it to us!!

tr3nta said...

spectacular photos... thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Your photos are a delight to our eyes and souls.

Thanks for sharing this with us. Looking forward to more. The intricate work is just amazing.

Pernille said...

Fantastic artwork! It's awsame! Thank you for sharing this wonderful peace from your corner of the world with us.

S-V-H said...

Congratulations to your 30000 visitors, wow, that's a real great achievement Gil!

The mosaics are beautiful, magnificent! I wish I would have better words to describe all the beauty in that kind of art!

Emery Roth said...

The creatures in the mosaics and tiles are wonderful. I wish I could have a closer look at some. I think I'm looking at some pretty famous and incredible sculptures in the first photo. Again, a closer view and I'd know if I was visiting old friends. Please don't take that as a criticism. To the contrary, what is here is so good, I want more. Now I know why I want to go to Tunis. Have you also been to Ravenna?

99 said...

These is my favorite post in your photo saga...
Your sporadicus rari nantes,

alice said...

Quel raffinement dans les détails, on pourrait rester des heures à se raconter des histoires devant ces mosaïques ou le nez en l'air, béat d'admiration devant ces plafonds magnifiques.
0° ce matin...j'irais bien faire un petit tour en Tunisie ;-))

Anonymous said...

Thank you Gil for sharing this splendid mosaic artworks through your lens.

Have you seen a Counterbalanced High-Wire Bike? It's in my page now. Please drop by if you have the time. Have a lovely day!

adelynne said...

All these photos remind me of La Alhambra in Granada, Spain. They are GORGEOUS! Thank you for sharing them. I miss Spain so much.

Nikon said...

Beautiful series Gil. The mosaics and the stucco are incredible works!
I like your interior shots in the museum - your lighting is excellent.

Indrani said...

Amazing, all preserved so well! I am sure you must have spent hours there. I wouldn't have had the heart to leave the place.

Thanks for inquiring, Gil,I stay in Bangalore. Safe for time being, don't know when it will be Bangalore's turn.

Rakesh Vanamali said...

Hi Gil

Many congratulations on the 30K mark. Wishing you many thousands more!

Wonderful pictures here with remarkable description of art and architechture!

Thanks for your concern on whats happening in Mumbai. By the grace of God, I am safe and so is my family!


Rakesh Vanamali said...

Many Congratulations on the Butterfly Award!

Very well deserved!

b.c. said...

what a feast these ceiiings were, thanks for posting them, congratulations on all your visitors to your blog!

Jo's-D-Eyes said...

Hi Gil,
What a fantastic !! looks on this mosaics (I mean captured stones haha) in the churches of Tunis, yeh I could spend days and days in-there, all those great and historical themes are saved...

Nowadys we show cultures by photo/film and all thos mosaics seemed to be passing time... therfore its nice that they still exsist!

We celebrated last weekend the arrival of "SINTERKLAAS" in our country/city, thats esspecially fun with small (until age of 8 years) children, so we went there to see them, really fantastic. come see here: www.joannwalraven.blogspot.com

greetings JoAnn/Holland

Lakshmi said...

Congrats Gil..Im sure you will gets millions of visitors as your posts lure all of us. The pictures are amazing and its great to know that there are such wonderful places to go to in this world..Thanks so much for asking me..I am safe, except for the floods that has hit the city and I am stranded in my own home

Pietro Brosio said...

Splendid post, Gil.
How beautiful are the ceilings, the hunting scenes, very nice the floor mosaic of Sousse Room, the Roman mosaic. Thanks for sharing those magnificent photographs!

namaki said...

Hi ! Thank you for your visit and comment ! I've visited this museum ... didn't remember the name but recognised the mosaics and the ceiling of the Sousse room ! You are doing some nice travelling !

Rhonda Hartis Smith said...

Hi Trotter,
WOW 30,000 visiters, that is amazing. The mosiacs are so beautiful, thanks for sharing. How many trips do you average a year?

lyliane six said...

Superbes ces mosaiques! elles me rapellent notre visite en septembre au musée des azulejos de Lisbonne.
Michel et moi pensions à vous avec ces attentats de Bombay, car quand vous voyagez vous descendez souvent dans les grands hôtels, heureusement que vous n'y étiez pas. bonne fin de semaine.

Voegtli said...

Beautiful decorations. I love the "Bey's Apartment" stucco.

Thanks for your comment on my "bad" world post. A few days later, and I would have included Mumbai, of course.

Daniel Chérouvrier said...

Merci pour ces belles photos d'un musée passionnant.

hpy said...

The stucco is wonderful, the mosaics too. I like the one of the fish very much and wouldn't mind to have something like that at home.
Congratulations for the Butterfly Award. Cool!

Cergie said...

Justement, hier je n'étais pas dans un musée mais dans une ville près de chez moi Pontoise, et j'y ai bu un chocolat chaud. Au sol un beau carrelage ancien : la différence avec ceux là est que le mien je pouvais marcher dessus. Je crois que ce serait toutefois difficile de trouver le même de nos jours.
Cependant ceux que tu montres sont des pièces uniques, les éléments de carrelage étant comme une touche de peinture. C'est magnfique.

Chuckeroon said...

So glad I dropped in today. Those fabulous scenes of everyday life! The quality, the observation, the everyday reality. What would we put down on the floor today?

Tara said...

I am here through M. Kate--what a fantastic blog you have...and I'll be back since winter has set in in New York and it'll be cold and somewhat dreary here!

Anonymous said...

The mosaics were ..... well...I don't have a word for it!! Incredible doesn't seem like enough. And I will never look at stucco in the same way again. ~ Miles of Smiles ~ Lynn

Isadora said...

What excquisite details!! Tunis is on my list of places to visit and you've just confirmed this feeling.

Hope you've had a real family Thanksgiving!

Anonymous said...

WOW! Those are truly magnificent! Amazing would be the right word for them. What an artwork each one of them are. It's a pity that not all ceilings and walls are decorated that way even today.... *in my dreams*

Neva said...

Congratulations on your stats! "delurkers" are very common in blogland but it is nice to know you have loyal visitors!! Love the mosaics! Have a great weekend.

Anonymous said...

Hi everybody! These almost two thousand years old mosaics and statues were a success on this blog! Well deserved indeed, they’re excellent! And, of course, thank you for your comments!

Never say never; one day you will start trotting and the world will become short… ;))

J’aime bien ton nouvel «look»! C’est vrai que les mosaïques du Bardo sont incroyables… Un musée super!!

It’s amazing how those mosaics survived all these centuries! The Virgil, for instance, is absolutely stunning!

It’s such a great pleasure to read you all here, that the least is to make a short individual reply to all those who take their time to comment. It takes a bit, but it’s the minimum that could be done…
This is the best collection of Roman mosaics I’ve seen; better than the Roman Villa del Casale, Piazza Armerina, Sicily or the Paphos’ Roman Mosaics in Cyprus, not to mention everything closer to us…

Great to read you here; it was a long time before I recovered your link… Happy to see that you managed to enlarge your pictures also!

That’s very kind of you! Hope no one of your family or friends have been affected in Mumbai…
The Bardo was an excellent surprise, even if I had heard it was a great museum!

The Römisch-Germanisches Museum is an impressive one, and the Dionysus mosaic stunning, but here you find one after the other and so many… ;))

Alice SG,
The tiles are nice, but I’ve seen something more impressive just around the corner here in Lisbon; but the mosaics are outstanding!!

Glad you loved it…

The Romans were talented; their artwork survived 2000 years! Shame that we won’t be here to see what will survive in two thousand years time… ;)

The tiles are nice; the mosaics are fabulous… ;)

You’re familiar with so many old works of art and history; glad that you liked …

Thanks! I’m glad that this post gave you some pleasure!

There are some centuries between the mosaics (Roman) and the tiles (mosaics)…

You’re surely not the only one not to have heard about the Bardo Museum… But it’s truly an exceptional museum!! Starting with the palace itself, a wonderful piece of architecture with the incredible ceilings you see here!

You’re welcome!

Wish everything is well with you and yours!!
This museum is spectacular! No wonder the delights… ;)

It’s not exactly my corner of the world, though I assume myself as a world’s citizen… ;) Actually, this comes from Tunisia, on the either side of the Mediterranean Sea… ;))

I just found that the other counter reached since 40,587 visitors since 29 Jan 2007! Who knows… ;))
I should say that I was speechless when I started seeing all those wonderful mosaics!

Click on the photos to enlarge them! I think you would love to see the Bardo Museum. Some of the statues of the Carthage Room are well known; I just caught the «Venus Pudica»… I’ve been to Ravenna in 2003, but no photos; just some video films, not so friendly to post… ;) The Byzantine mosaics in Ravenna are gorgeous!

Thanks «avis rara»! ;))

Tu sais que j’ai pris de la pluie à Tunis? Assez… ;) Et la température l’année dernière au mois de décembre ne passait pas les 12º/14º C. OK, c’est mieux que 0º… ;))
C’est vrai qu’on peut passer des heures au Bardo… Magnifique musée!!

Asian Traveler,
I’ll check your bike in your blog…

I see that any beautiful place shown reminds you of Spain; that’s because you’ve never been to Portugal… ;))
OK, Granada is also special. A wonderful place!! No wonder you miss it… ;))

So, you also noticed the stucco; an amazing work!!
It seems this time the interior pictures came out quite well!

Spent some time there, that’s true… ;)
Glad that you’re safe. It’s difficult to start thinking on a return trip to India now… ;(

Glad that everything is fine with you and yours!
The palace of the Bey, where the Bardo Museum is located, has some similarities with some Indian palaces… Wonderful pieces of architecture!

A treat, indeed…

The mosaics came from the ruins of different Roman towns in Tunisia, including Roman Carthage; not from churches… ;) The pictures and movies of 2000 years ago (I mean the mosaics) resisted quite well to the years passing…
I’ll check Sinterklaas!!

Glad that you’re ok, even with the floods. Difficult weather everywhere, it seems… People here in Lisbon are complaining because temperatures are reached a minimum of +10º Celsius. Too cold they say… They don’t know what cold is… ;))

Usually people are not allowed to take pictures in museums, but this time there wasn’t any guard shouting «No Photos»… So, here they are for you all to enjoy!! ;)

Thanks for your first time comment here! It’s hard to forget a Museum like the Bardo!!

I’m stuck!! Used to make an average of 30/35 trips a year, with 150 to 170 nights slept abroad each year. Now, maybe some six to eight trips a year, with some 20 nights slept abroad; a complete disaster… ;))

Les mosaïques sont superbes, mais les azulejos de Lisbonne sont plus beaux que les «tiles» du Bardo… ;)
Merci pour les pensées. C’est vrai qu’un ami à nous a été au Taj à Bombay quand on est allé à Delhi; et on pensait y loger dans une prochaine visite à Bombay et Goa… On verra… ;)

The stucco is an amazing work; but with such an impressive mosaic collection, it seldom gets the attention it deserves… ;))
Another proof of a «bad» world…

De rien!

Ok, I wouldn’t mind to have any of those at home either… ;))

C’est vrai que les Romains, qui n’avaient pas de photo, ni du cinéma, étaient des experts dans l’art du mosaïque… Maintenant on a développé autre sorts d’art ; j’aime bien la diversité, quand même… ;))

Everyday’s life, that’s what the mosaics show; and they’re amazingly realist!

I’m so happy you landed here for the first time and took your time to comment! Thanks!
You probably don’t know, but NYC is one of my favourite cities in the world; so I wouldn’t mind to be there, even when freezing… ;))
Come back, anytime; my pleasure!

Incredible! That was also the feeling I had when strolling around the museum! A stunning experience! And the stucco, like I mentioned to Paul, was an excellent piece, somehow forgotten amidst all the beautiful mosaics…

Long time no see you here; glad to read you back!
Budapest isn’t that far from Tunis… ;) And we don’t have a Thanksgiving holiday here in Portugal; it’s more like Hungary… turkey only in Christmas… ;)

Yeah, they could make palaces for everyone of us to live at, with wonderful ceilings and beautiful mosaics; but maybe it is better that we rather make a palace out of the place where we live; at least it’s easier… ;))

With more than 100 visitors a day, and a new post every five days, it makes at least five hundred per post; as there are usually around 40/50 comments per post, I’ve got 10% commenting. A nice average… though too many “delurkers”… ;))

Dina said...

Dazzling, your Tunisia is dazzling.
Such mosaics, and all the rest!

Anonymous said...

Great to read you back! This museum is absolutely stunning!!

eye in the sky said...

wow. some of the designs remind me of the mughal architecture in north india.

spectacular photos as usual...

Anonymous said...

That's true! There are some similarities with the mughal palaces, amazing pieces of architecture!

Louise said...

Absolutely incredible art. I always want to go where you have been!

Anonymous said...

Amazing; we had a PM who was known as Mr. «Has Been», as he never announced where he was going to, but only that he had been there... ;))
A bit different here, and the Bardo is fab!!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

I am so glad I didn't miss seeing these mosaics and tiles from the Bardo though your eyes Gil! They are fantastic and so well preserved.

Anonymous said...

You're right; the Bardo mosaics are absolutely outstanding, and quite well preserved!

A Lady's Life said...

You can see how old they are with the missing pieces. Virgils nose for example.

Through these time pieces we can really see hsitroy unfold.
Where they came from and why and by whom they were made.

Its too bad people destroy history.
by rebuilding new by tearing down the old.

Trotter said...

There must be a compromise, as we can't keep everything, and some things aren't worth keeping... ;). But it's true that sometimes we just drop down things quite easily...