Zaghouan is a town in the northern half of Tunisia. Situated on a low ridge of the Dorsale Mountains, the town has a mild climate and presents a green aspect. Cold water from here was taken by aqueduct to Carthage. The town is famous for its roses, originally cultivated by Muslim refugees from Spain in the seventeenth century. The town is located around 100 km due south of Tunis and around 50 km inland (west) from the Gulf of Hammamet and has an estimated population of around 38,445 (2014). It is the capital of the Zaghouan Governorate.
The Dorsal Mountains lie to the southwest of Zaghouan. The fertile soil and ample water sources of the area in which the town is situated have made the region an agricultural greenbelt. The chief crops are grapes, olives, and vegetables. Local industries in the region include food processing and textile manufacturing; Zaghouan is also renowned for the production of rose essence.
The temple of water is located on the mountain (south of the city) it is the source of an aqueduct which used to transport water to the city of Carthage over 100 km away.
The temple of water was originally built in the Phoenician era. Later on the temple was rebuilt in the reign of the Roman Emperor Hadrian between 117 AD and 138 AD.
The Temple of Water was actually a NYMPHEUM and not a temple. It has 12 niches each having a life size statue representing the 12 months of a year. In the middle there was really a temple, of which only the central niche remains. The basin below the platform is shaped like an 8, and served to retrieve the water and form a jet before pumping it into the aqueduct to Carthage.
32 million liters per day was delivered from Zaghouan to Carthage with a total of 132 km of aqueducts.
In the 13 century, the aqueducts was restored and repaired at the hands of the Caliph al-Mustansir billah.
The town was the scene of bitter fighting during World War II when the Germans retreated toward Tunis.
What to see
- The Water Temple
- The Roman Aqueduct
- The Roman ruins
- The Roman cemetery (Palace lighthouse)
- The Roman bridge
- The Byzantine castle
- The Roman temple
- Lake and Berber village Sidi Medien
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