Thursday, August 31, 2017

Bardo Museum

Towards the end of our stay in Tunisia, we went to the Bardo Museum.  Some people many remember it as the place where, on 18 March 2015, 21 people, mostly European tourists, were killed in a terrorist shooting.  Around 50 others were injured.   

When we visited, tow years after the shooting, there was no trace of the attack other than a memorial for the victims.  The place was quiet but not completely deserted.  The shooting at the museum and another on a beach in Sousse scared away the tourists.  During our stay of 8 days in Tunisia, we saw few tourist groups.  We never have to wait in line to get anywhere.  

I feel safe in Tunisia.  We have visited museums, beaches, mosques, oases, deserts, dried-up lakes, caves dwellings, and have never had any problems.  I have run on the streets and people have been friendly.  

Bardo itself is a very interesting place and quite nicely set up.  It has a lot of wonderful mosaics.  Many were carefully removed from archeological sites and placed here for exhibition and preservation.  Many are placed on the wall, making it easier for visitors to see them.  

There are a lot of Greek legends.  

One of the most famous is the one in which Ulysses encountered the Sirens.  The Sirens sing beguiling songs that lure you to your destruction.  So Ulysses plugged the sailors’ ears with wax so that they do not hear.  But he wanted to hear the songs so he had himself tied to the mast so he could not escape.  Since the sailors could not hear the songs they looked towards home, while Ulysses looked in the direction of the Sirens.  The Sirens have beautiful form, but were betrayed by bird-like claws.  It is amazing that these are all depicted in granular mosaic.  

In another, Theseus killed the Minotaur after navigating the Labyrinth.

Poseidon was surely a popular figure.  Many mosaics showed him riding his chariot pulled by four horses.  He was accompanied by other sea creatures and lesser gods.  

Another showed him with gods and goddess representing the four seasons.  

A fierce lion bits a centaur, a half-human, half-horse creature with great strength.  

There is a very wide range of themes other than legends.  Such as food.  All kinds of fishes, lobsters, quails, deer, … 

A beautiful baptismal font was covered with beautiful mosaics. 

I can spend hours in there.  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I too enjoy museums very much. Do you take a guided tour or do you go on your own? If the latter, how do you do your research? Online before hand? Guide books? Love to hear your insights.