An American Abroad

Apollo & His Homeboys: At the Bardo Museum

During a recent daytrip to Tunis, I finally got to see the National Bardo Museum. As Lonely Planet notes, the Bardo is “[t]he country’s top museum [and] has a magnificent, must-see collection that provides a vibrant vision of ancient North African life. The original, glorious Husseinite palace now connects with a stark and dramatic contemporary addition, doubling exhibition space. Highlights are a huge stash of incredibly well-preserved Roman mosaics, rare Phoenician artifacts and early Islamic ceramics.”

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It undoubtedly has some amazing pieces, but as a museum experience, I liked the Musée Archeologique d’El Jem more. Part of the problem is one of display and lighting. I got the sense that the amazing artifacts at the Bardo could have been even more impressive had they been better exhibited. Still, being there and walking on mosaic floors thousands of years old and gazing at the incredible artistry of the sculptures made me think I might have been born in the wrong era. It is indeed a must-see.

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