Originally a 15th century Hafsid palace, The Bardo National Museum, Tunisia is located in the suburbs of Tunis. It is the second largest museum in Africa after the Egyptian Museum, and one of the most important museums in the Mediterranean basin.
Objects originating from excavations done in the 19th and 20th century are on display at the museum. The museum has about 50 rooms and galleries displaying objects ranging from PRE historical artefacts to modern jewelry.
It was originally called Museum Alaoui and renamed after the county’s independence. Excavations done in the country’s archeological sites namely, Carthage, Hadrumetum, Dougga, or Utica in the 20th century have produced the largest collection of mosaics depicting life in Tunisia before the Islamic era.
Grimacing masks, terracotta statues and stelae of major interest for the Semitic epigraphy, the stele of the priest and the child being the most famous are also present at the Museum.The Museum also houses Greek works discovered in particular in the excavations of the ship of Mahdia, whose iconic piece is a marble bust of Aphrodite.
After the March 2015 terrorist attack in which 22 people were killed, traffic to the museum has reduced from a daily number of 600 people to an average of 30 people. The guides do not help matters as they narrate tales of what happened that day, taking pains to show you blood stains which are still there and also places where shots were fired.
The Museum authorities have decided against renovating the museum and conducting repairs after the attack as they want to preserve the history of the museum.
Reasons for the dwindled patronage over the years also include the unrest in neighboring country Libya. Though Tunisia is relatively safe, the neighboring country Libya is war torn and has seen series of attacks close to it’s border with Tunisia.