Return to Tunisia Part 2; Bardo National Museum
Bardo National Museum wasn’t far from our Hotel. I didn’t know anything about it so I was curious to see what was there.
It’s an old 13th Century Royal Palace and has been a Museum since 1888 and is 2nd to the Cairo Museum in the African countries for its collections. It contains one of the largest collections of Roman mosaics in the world, and a few Greek items, excavated in Tunisia. The Palace has been altered and modernised to show the mosaics at their best. It’s now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
My photos don’t do them justice. Some of them are enormous. They must have taken months to complete, and just as long to carefully dig them up and transport them to the Bardo Museum, and then hang them on the wall. It’s hard to believe how old they are.
The walls, floors and ceilings of the Palace are also decorated with original mosaics.
I was fascinated by them all. But it’s hard to walk along and look up at the walls and ceilings, so lots of pauses are necessary.
The Carthage Room contains a large collection of white marble statues of Gods and Roman Emperors, found buried on Roman sites, mainly Carthage.
Standing looking up at them, they’re so realistically carved that again it’s hard to grasp how ancient they are, and that they were chipped away and polished by hand a couple of thousand years ago. A few arms and noses are missing, but apart from that, they’re still as they were when they were new. Their faces are faces of once-living people and their muscles look as though the statues could change position and flex them.
I wouldn’t like to spend a night alone in the Museum!
We entered the Treasures Room. I wasn’t aware that it was here that the horrendous terrorist attack took place on the 18th March, 2015. As a coachload of tourists from a Cruise Ship were entering the Museum, three terrorists took them hostage.
After that, all cruises went to Malta instead of Tunisia, losing the country’s economy millions.
All the damage has been left there. Bullet marks scar the door frames and a glass display cabinet has broken glass. It’s part of the Museum’s history and very moving.
22 tourists, mainly European, were killed and around 50 were injured.
The siege lasted for three hours, and then the security forces raided the room and killed two of the terrorists. One got away.
Within days, over 20 suspected terrorists were arrested, with nine being killed during a raid.
Nine nationalities were amongst the dead, including Italians, French, Japanese, Polish, Spaniards, Colombians, Russian and British.
There is a very moving memorial in the Museum’s foyer, with the names of the victims, flowers and flags of their nations.
When I say I’m going to Tunisia, I’m surprised at the number of people who say, Isn’t it dangerous there?
Every day we read in our newspapers about murder, muggings, stabbings, violent burglaries, and attacks on children. And that’s just the few that they publish!
I’ve missed two terrorist attacks in London by days. And there are hundreds more unreported that are prevented.
So, do I feel safe in Tunisia? Yes I do. Everyone’s friendly, warm and welcoming.
Is it dangerous there? No it’s not!
Part 1 of Return to Tunisa;
Tunisair flies daily either from Heathrow Terminal 4 (Sundays, Tuesdays, Fridays & Saturdays) and from Gatwick South Terminal (Mondays, Wednesday & Thursdays)
Flight duration around 2h.45mn