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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Visit to the Ancient Roman City of Tipaza

For those of us who write historical novels, nothing is more exciting than a visit to the places we write about. Although I have not yet written a novel set in Roman times, I thought I would share the photos of my recent trip to the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Tipaza in the hope that another author might find them useful or inspiring.


Looking out over the beautiful Mediterranean Sea, it's easy to see why Phoenicians decided to build their city here. Tipaza became a Roman colony during the time of the emperor Claudius.


The sea breeze and abundant shade trees make for a pleasant stroll through the city, even on the hottest summer days.


You can still sit in the amphitheater and imagine the plays.


This is a backstage dressing room.

And the stairs leading into the theater. The man in red was our expert tour guide who was kind enough to take us through the entire site even though it was closing time.


The most interesting things at the site are the details. This urn (above) could have stored water, oil, or grains. Throughout Tipaza there are bits of mosaic and red paint which give some notion of how colorful the city must have been.

In the roads, there are trenches which carried hot water to the buildings from a geothermal source. There are also places where ruts made by chariot wheels have survived 2000 years.

The squares carved into the stone are where door hinges would attach.


The arch above is one of many ovens on the site.

These are the ruins of the Basilica of Saint Salsa, which is named for a 4th century Christian woman who was stoned to death after throwing a serpent head idol into the sea. Notice the mosaic in the foreground.

There is also a stele of Albert Camus at the site. The tomb of Cleopatra's daughter is not far from Tipaza.

I would love to hear your historical travel stories. Do you like to visit ancient ruins? What is the oldest place you've ever visited and what was your favorite thing about it?

22 comments:

  1. How beautiful! Thanks so much for sharing.

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  2. Wonderful photos. Thanks for sharing. I write a lot of stuff set in Ireland and probably the most impressive place I saw there was the Rock of Cashel. Incredible views across a bowl-shaped valley. The monks there used to watch across that valley for Viking invasions, then climb robes into towers with only slits for windows and pull the ropes inside while they outwaited them. It's seriously haunted, though, and it didn't surprise me to learn that during the invasion of Cromwell all the villagers there were locked in the church and it was set on fire. I know the story of Cleopatra's daughter, too, so close to where you visited. History was not gentle, but it still fascinates me.

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  3. Miriam, What great stories! I will have to put the Rock of Cashel on my to-be-visited list. Thanks for commenting.

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  4. Fascinating pictures.The Romans were quite advanced in technology for their day. Their water system was better than it is today in many places. I prefer the gentler history of English country houses where one can forget about all the battles and the ways the families got their wealth and positions.

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  5. Thanks for commenting, Regency Researcher. It is easier to imagine romance in a more comfortable setting. That's probably why regencies are so popular, but I've always been fascinated by novels set in ancient Rome.

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  6. Gorgeous! I always get a little woozy imagining sites like those as living places, full of color and full of people going about their lives....

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  7. Hi Elisa! Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting.

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  8. These pictures are gorgeous, Clarissa. I've always been fascinated by Roman and Greek history. It's so bloody, but also so very colorful.

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  9. My problem is...I would mess up taking a picture of a concrete block...honestly. I do love viewing God's creation as captured through the camera of others and you have done that quite well.
    I came across your blog through another blog I follow and have signed up as a follower. When you’re free, please do visit me and let me know what you think of my blog and leave a comment. If you like, do follow as well. I am always open to great new people and interesting websites. Look forward to hearing from you.

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  10. Thanks for the comment covnitkepr1. I'm heading over to see your blog now.

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  11. Wow, Clarissa! I love visiting places like this, but it's not terribly convenient :) Thanks for sharing these awesome pictures!

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  12. Thanks so much for the visit and even more for the gracious comment. Here's hoping you'll become a follower and my blog will be a blessing to you as yours is to me.

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  13. Wow, I want to go there. The view of the sea is breathtaking.

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  14. These are beautiful photos. I can only imagine how Tipaza energized your muse. It's looks like a wonderful place to visit.

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  15. Keena, Thanks for the kind words. I appreciate your stopping by to comment.

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  16. Oh wow! What great photos. What a great feeling of history.

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  17. Oh my gosh. I just got in from a mad, mad day and checked email. These are gorgeous photos. I loved them. I would love to be there right now. Thanks so much for sharing.

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  18. Thanks, Anita, for the very kind words.

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  19. Clarissa, I'm SO envious of all your travels! The pictures are gorgeous and I love hearing all the details (especially about the bright colors). Thanks for sharing -- can't wait to see where you go next! :)

    Donna

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  20. Thnaks so much for sharing the amazing pictures and your travels!

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  21. Thank you, Donna and Gillian. You are both so kind to follow and comment on our blog.

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  22. Clarissa, thanks for posting these amazing sites! I'm inspired to write a novel about the Christian woman who threw the serpent head idol into the sea!

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