Many museums suffer from the difficulty of having more items in their collection than they can show at any one time. The Bardo Museum, located just a few minutes outside central Tunis is a great example of this. Yet the facility, by many accounts the largest single collection point of Roman-era mosaics in the world, has come up with a rather unique solution to that challenge. Rather than only have art on the walls they have many pieces in their original location: on the floor.
Though several sections of the museum were closed when we visited the mosaics collection was still largely on display and it was well worth the visit. The museum is easily accessible via the Tunis metro system and the mosaics can easily consume a few hours of time.
The scores of mosaics we saw spanned the range of about 1500-2200 years ago. In addition to the incredible beauty of the pieces it is interesting to trace the development of the craft over hundreds of years.
Scenes become more intricate. Colors become more vivid. The size of the stones in use decreases and their shape begins to vary. The works move from narrating a story to telling it through beautiful imagery.
And many of the pieces we saw were incredibly large. The largest on display were on the order of 10+ meters on each side. They are amazing works of art and pieces of history. Combined with the fact that the Bardo is one of only a couple museums in Tunis and how easy it is to get to and it is a no-brainer to spend a couple hours there.
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