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1. Triumphal Arch

2. Trajan's Arch, Forum

3. Amphitheatre

4. Eastern baths

5. Walled road

6. Schola Juvenum

7. Temple of Hathor Miskar

8. Basilica of Hildeguns

9. Museum with mosaics

10. Modern town


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Always controlling the border
Maktar, Tunisia

Trajan's Arch seen from the point of the Basilica of Hildeguns, one of few real monuments from the Vandal reign of Tunisia.

Maktar, Tunisia

The quadrilobe belonging to the Schola Juvenum.

Maktar, Tunisia

Inside the Eastern baths.

Maktar has one of the finest settings of any Roman city in Tunisia, situated on the top of a hill, at almost 1,000 metres, overlooking undulating fields on all sides. Maktar's reason for existence was military, not principally economic. For the Numidians, who founded it, it served as a stronghold against the Carthaginians to the northeast. Once the Romans had taken control, it served as stronghold against the Berber tribes to the southwest.
In our times, the ancient city of Maktar still manages to excite. It is appears especially impressive because of the modest, but not small, modern town to the north. A couple of locals told me that the ancient city was built by the French, indicating that time doesn't always move forward.
There are some fine things to look out for here. Two triumphal arches is more than most other ancient sites can offer. Also the baths are very nice and large. The museum is not to be missed, and don't forget to stroll over to the intriguing Schola Juvenum, a sort of youth recreation club.
Maktar would survive for a longer period of time than most other Roman cities, right until the 10th century, when the savage tribe of Banu Hillal invaded Tunisia and thrusted it centuries back in development. With them, the economic foundation of Maktar was destroyed.

By Tore Kjeilen