Ghar El Kebir - El Houaria Quarry - Roman Mines

Useful Information

Location: 3 km west of El-Haouaria on the Cape Bon Tunisian Peninsula. Can be reached from the fishing villages of Kelibia and Nabeul. 60 km from Hammamet.
Classification: Carthaginian quarry.
Light: natural.
Guided tours:
Bibliography: Nick and Vicky Lai (2001): El-Haouaria-Cathaginian Quarry. Pelobates, Croydon Caving Club Magazine No 80 [ August 2001] pp 13-14, illus.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.



So called Roman Caves (grottes Romaines) have been designated a national monument by the Tunisian government and date back to the 6th century BC. They are to be found west of El-Haouaria on the Cape Bon Tunisian Peninsula. The caves, which are 60 km from Hammamet and can be reached from the nearby fishing villages of Kelibia and Nabeul, are 3 km west of the town.

The site includes a shop selling a tri-lingual guide book and other souvenirs.

The caves are in fact sandstone mines on the coast which have been partially eroded by the sea. The pyramid shaped chambers are lit by roof apertures so it is as well to bring your own lights. It is unclear where the tourist parts of the mines begin and end and with your own lights it is possible to venture into the further recesses of the mines. However, beware of the fact that the mines are also inhabited by bats which are probably rabid and that there is little evidence of any health and safety requirements having been put in place for the safety of visitors.

An effort has been made to commercialise the site with the entrances having been cleared and the ground levelled, but basically they are unspoiled to the extent that there are still blocks of stone lying where the miners left them.

Text by Tony Oldham (2001). With kind permission.