The Roman ruins of Sufetula are considerably nicer than the modern town of Sbeitla on the shoulder of the ruins. Sbeitla, a one-horse town only needed tumble weeds and Clint to complete the score of “The Good, The Bad and the Ugly”. We went to the restaurant-bar across from our one story “Motel” which likely had not seen food served in this decade. The bar silenced as we walked in and went to the “restaurant” side. The bar had tables full of beer bottles (10-20 per table), smoke and male banter. We were here for the ruins; the living ambience of the bar was mere flavor.
Sufetula is famous for its still standing temples. The ruins equal the size of the modern town. The temples are impressive. The gate to the forum leads to the house of Marcus Aurelius and family. Ah-Marcus—he was the old man who was killed by his evil son in the movie, Gladiator. Again, huge wide Roman streets—acres of ruins—and just a few giggling young Tunisians using the ruins for romance out of site of their parents.
Many fourth century ruins have churches. The Christians had a strong hold here—the Byzantines were busy here. The footprints of many churches remain—just as ruined as the Roman temples to their gods. Therefore, Romans, Byzantines and modern Tunisian Islamic culture clapped together with indolent men drinking beer inside the buildings and coffee on the streets. Where is this going? I still hear “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” music or perhaps suitably “For a Few Dollars More” it was time to leave.