Carthage

For other places with the same name, see Carthage (disambiguation).
View over the ruins to the Mediterranean coast

The ruins of Carthage are in Tunisia, 15 km north of Tunis.

Understand

A city of the Phoenician and Punic periods from the C6th BC it was the base of a powerful trading empire spanning the entire south Mediterranean and home to a population of the order of half a million people. Its most famous general was Hannibal who crossed the Alps to battle with the Romans. Hannibal suffered his first significant defeat at the Battle of Zama in 202 BC, which ended the 2nd Punic War. After over 50 years of being watched closely by Rome, they were eventually attacked in the 3rd Punic War. The citizens defended the city against the Republic of Rome in 146BC yet lost, and Punic Carthage was completely destroyed by the order of the Senate. The site was redeveloped by the Romans a century later and Carthage became the capital of the Roman province of Africa. A UNESCO World Heritage List site.

The Byrsa Hill at the rear of the area dominates both the ocean gulf and the lake and plain of Tunis inland to the west, and is therefore the most strategic point.

Today the district is very affluent, with elite schools, wealthy residents, relatively numerous police, a large number of archaeological sites and museums and the President's own seaside residence.

Get in

Take the TGM light rail line from Tunis to one of the following stations:

Get around

Mostly it's best to walk. However, the area is large and sightseeing is sweaty work on a hot day.

By taxi

If you are tired, you may wish to get a cab between some of the major tourist spots. This should be cheaper in low season.

For example, 10 TD (the driver offered 7, but he was nice and helpful and patient) bought me a trip in December 2010 from the museum down to the Amphitheatre, 10 minutes of the driver waiting around, a trip to the Water Cisterns (his suggestion, not calculated in the price), a further 5 minutes of the driver waiting around, and a trip down to Tophet.

See

Lots and lots of ruins! The president's palace. Sweeping views of Tunis and the gulf.

You can buy a ticket for 9 DT (December 2010) that allows access to about 10 different historic sites, which are a big challenge to see in one day. Only some sites have extensive English signage - many, such as the museum, do not.

Map of the historic sites of Carthage
Antonin Baths
Acropolium

Do

International Festival of Carthage in the summer is a treat with big name dancers, singers, and artists from all over the world for a very reasonable price (10.5 DT). Plastic chairs are not worth the price (26 DT) unless you are really aching for back-support. Most people bring cushions or blankets for the amphitheatre seats. Plan a late night out with concerts normally ending after 1AM.

Buy

Other than tourist trinkets, unless you are looking for high end furniture or daily use commodities and food you may find your options limited.

Eat

There are a number of eateries scattered around the district, though most lie outside of the major tourist trail.

Carthage-Byrsa / Carthage-Salammbo Area

Carthage-Hannibal

Carthage-Présidence

Drink

Go next

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