Secrets of the Sahara; The Trip : City of Jandouba Ein Drahem, Tabarka, and Bullarija
I’ve been waiting for the chance to travel again, and it finally happened. My friend invited me to go with him and a group of 25 people on an organized trip to the Western North. We all know that the journey matters more than the destination but the destination also matters for me and for my readers. As it was a very long trip, we left Kébili at midnight on the bus towards Jandouba and specifically to Ein Drahem where we will be sleeping in a dormitory. Boys and girls were already tired, they wanted to sleep, but for me, there’s no sleeping during a trip so i took the drums and i started to play music and sing, they know i’m stubborn and i won’t stop so they started doing the same and it was fun. The sun started to rise and we started to see the road sides, we were by the borders of the Western South, no buildings, no cars, no factories, no stores, just silence all around the mountains and the green fields.. the country life.
I thought breaking down on the road was my car’s curse, i was wrong, i guess it’s my personal curse because the wheel of the bus has exploded so we had to stop and change it, meanwhile i was following the snails and taking pictures, you know i seize opportunities.
We finally reached a small town in Ein Drahem, we went to our rooms, unpacked, showered, then we went down to eat. A small town up in the mountains, only 5 families live there, a so quiet place, the rest of the people are tourists. People go there for inner peace, for tranquility. I kept waiting to go to some place in this town, but there were nowhere to go, then i realized that there, is just a place for the soul to stabilize. We regrouped then we climbed the mountains, there was a faucet coming out the rocks with pure water for the passengers so we filled bottles to take them with us, shepherds were all around the place, sheep, goats, cows…etc.
A lake started to stand out and it was a dam coolecting the water coming down from mountains, we went down to it and we spent the rest of the afternnon by the lake.
Before the sunset, we headed to a Park also in the mountains, everything in this Park was made from the wood, the decorations, the chairs, the tables, the swings..etc I had a coffee as usual while everyone went to play and take selfies, they were smiling and i love to watch people smiling. As it started to get dark, we went back to the town, had dinner then party then sleep waiting for the next day.
At 9 a.m everyone was ready, seats were full, the bus started and headed to the city of Tabarka. From the country life to the city life, everything was by the seashores. There was a market set there, an everyday market, it was like an exhibition market displaying all kind of crafts, i bought a cannon made from the wood and a ship made from wood and seashells. My people started to run all around the place like unleashed dogs, the crafts were so impressive and diversified so each one bought something, souvenirs. We were not staying another night there so the bus driver kept warning us about the time, but he was just talking to the hand.
From where i was standing, i espied a Castle in the top of the mountain, no need to know what i did or said but we went there and it was beautiful, simply beautiful.
We went back to the city, had lunch, coffee and talk then ride again.
We were riding back home but before that we went to visit the Roman site Bulla Regia. I’ve never heard about this place before, our guide told me that this visit to Bulla Regia or Royal Bulla is for me especially, when we reached there i recognized why. A whole steady roman city, with its walls, sections, mosaics, graves, prisons, courtyard, theatre, and even some statues.
Historical background :
« Bulla Regia or Royal Bulla is one of the major archeological sites in northwestern Tunisia. Founded, at the latest, at the end of the 5 th-c. B.C., it did not usher into History but much later.
This took place in the year B.C.81, when the Numid king Hiarbas, following his defeat at the hands of Pompeii’s armies, sought refuge therein. Of its Numid past, the site kept several testimonies including : a funerary vault, dug into the mountain (known locally as hanout), an important dolmen necropolis and particularly several vestiges, which increasingly eloquent on the history of the city per se.
In B.C. 46 Bulla Regia passed, with the rest of the kingdom of Juba I, under the Roman domination and was nicknamed Bulla Regia (the Royal) in memory of its role as royal residence ; it then obtained the statute of an autonomous city which allowed it to keep its territory, its traditions and its political organization.
Slowly and progressively the new civilization, i.e. that of the Roman conquerors, started to exert an irresistible attraction on the local population, finally leading to a remodelling of the urban scenery, in line with the Roman style.
Promoted to the statute of municipe, very likely under emperor Vespasien (AD 69-79) Bulla Regia became an honorary colony under Hadrian (AD 117-138) : starting as of this date, the city witnessed a long period of prosperity, which extended to the eve of the Byzantine period. This prosperity is evidenced by the construction of numerous public monuments, both secular and religious, as well as by the construction by rich individual of subterranean multi-storey sumptuous residences, constituting an outstanding example of private housing arhitecture during the Roman epoch, and conferring originality on the site itself. »
I found these historical informations by the entry of the city, so i collected them then i went in and get lost inside the city. My companions stood by the entry taking selfies as usual, and i jumped in and out and upand down, i couldn’t believe that i’m finally in a real roman city like these i always watch in movies, i felt like i’m the Gladiator, i’ve almost seen ghosts of roman people around me, the spirit of the place embraced me.
Time was tight, the city was so extended, it would take at least two hours just to pass by its different sites, so i took as much photos as i could and i finally responded to my friends’ calls to get in the bus. I spoke no words for hours on the way back, i was staring at the pictures, marvellous.