“The reopening of the Bardo Museum is an emergency for culture, tourism and our common history”


NOTWe, Tunisians, archaeologists, artists, academics, lovers of heritage, ask for the reopening of the Bardo Museum, which has been the victim of political turbulence, since Parliament was frozen on July 25, 2021. The two institutions being located in the same former beylical palace, the museum has also been closed. Until when ? This is about freedom of access to culture, a fundamental right that cannot be undermined.

If France has the Louvre, Italy the Capitol and Spain the Prado, Tunisia is proud of its Bardo. A jewel of Tunisian heritage, the Bardo Museum houses one of the largest collections of Roman mosaics in the world.

Like all the greatest museums, the treasures of Bardo are not only national but carry within them their universal cultural dimension. They tell of our common heritage on all the shores of “Mare nostrum”. Punic, Roman, Arab-Islamic, the Bardo Museum is a beacon of Mediterranean culture. Here’s why its reopening must be everyone’s business. She is ours today.

Read also: In Tunisia, the emblematic Bardo museum deprived of visitors

The reopening of the Bardo Museum is an emergency for culture, tourism, for Tunisia and for our common history. Object of national pride, high place of world tourism, crucible of our shared history, the Bardo Museum cannot remain closed any longer. While it has been closed to the public for almost two years, the sustainability of the works it houses would be threatened, because even curators have only limited access to the museum.

Three thousand years of history

Closing the Bardo Museum means closing access to three thousand years of Tunisian history. Closing the Bardo Museum means closing access to a part of our common civilization. Exceptional masterpieces await the protection of their curators and the admiration of their visitors.

Ulysses tied to the mast of his ship to resist the fatal song of the sirens; Neptune, god of the sea triumphing over the waters; Virgil, surrounded by his two muses, writing the Aeneid… so many unique works in the world which decorated the floors of the rich Roman villas of the beginning of our era. These mosaics, kept at the Bardo Museum, attest to Tunisia’s place as a crossroads of civilisations. They bear witness to an ancient past that still shapes our imaginations, enriches our inspirations and nourishes our dreams. These works must again, and urgently, be able to be offered to national visitors, schoolchildren and tourists from all over the world.

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