Sbeitla, the site of Sufetula
 
 


The ancient site of Sufetula is partly incorporated into the town of Sbeitla which, almost a thousand and a half years later, succeeded to it as one of the main towns of the Higher Steppe.
Even if the place name Sufetula indicates a more ancient foundation, the vestiges so far excavated do not date back beyond the lst century AD.

The city seems to have experienced great prosperity under Septimus Severus (IInd-IIIrd century) and into Diocletian’s reign (285-305). Most of the buildings visible today date to that period : houses, forum, temples, baths, triumphal gate, theatre etc.

In the absence of inscriptions to shed light on the different phases of the city’s past, the discovery of later vestiges, from the late Empire or the Vandal and Byzantine periods, reflect the great vitality of the Christian community in the city. It gained even more importance on the eve of the Arab conquest, in 647, which put a stop to Africa’s membership in the Christian world, signalling its adhesion to the Islamic empire, after the defeat of the Patriarch Gregory who ruled the kingdom that had distanced itself from Constantinople and had made Sufetula its capital instead of Carthage.

The site of Sufetula is the first to have been equipped with lighting and full signposting.

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