Carthage

Carthage would have been established towards 814 av J-C by princess Elissa, sister of king of Tyr, Pygmalion. Carthage fate, so grand as tragic, brought her at first to the power and the prosperity at the beginning of the 3rd century av. J-C when she dominated economically the western Mediterranean Sea. But three Punic wars led against Rome (264-146 avJ-C) ended in her( complete destruction. Reconstructed by Romain in 44 av. J-C, Carthage becomes again under the Emperor Augustus the most prosperous city of Africa. Plundered by the Vandals in 440, reconstructed by the Byzantine in 533, Crathage was finally conquered by the Arabs in 698. Carthage will then be dismantled and will serve as career for the construction of Tunis.


Represented since 1979 on the list of the world heritage established by the UNESCO, the archeological site of Carthage is protected in a drastic way by a law of national classification.

MUST SEE:

The amphitheater: built in Ier century ap. J-C. outside of the city, the amphitheater of Carthage was considered as one of the biggest of the Roman Empire. Today, slightly set back from the road, does not remain more than an arena of oval shape, 65 m of length on 37 wide with, in both extremities, accesses by which arrived wild animals.

The tophet: The Tophet or Tanit and Ball Hammon sanctuary is the most ancient site of Punic religious cult in Carthage. In fact, it is a huge cemetery where, over a period of seven centuries, urns containing the ashes, devoted to the gods, of the first born children of noble families were buried, probably after having their throats cut.

The Paleochristian museum:The antiquarium displays, with detailed explanations,  series of objects retrieved from excavations : small iron , bronze or bone objects, coins. A didactical presentation of ceramics according to kind (common, sigillated lamps) provides a good record of African and imported production at the end of antiquity ; varieties of marble or other stones with their place of origin, but also terra cotta tiles and vault tubes. Various mosaics from the house of the Greek charioteers and the Carthagena Basilica are also on display.

The district Magon: Situated by the sea, at not much distance in the South of Antonine's famous thermal baths; vestiges of houses of Punic of the last period as is of the destruction of the city by the Roman armies, and houses dating the roman time.

The Antonin Baths: The baths remain the most spectacular of Roman Carthage. Built between 145 and 162 A.D., they are the third largest in the world after the Caracalla and the Diocletian baths. After their destruction by the Vandals they  remained buried until excavation work began after 1945. All that remains of the building is the basement  where  the installations for  running the complex were housed.

The Roman Villas: The villas stretch out beyond the baths, crossed by paths generally obeying the lay-out of the Roman street s.  The group of buildings set in these gardens provide  an idea of the urban plan of Carthage and of the life-style of its citizens.

The theatre: Built in the IInd century A.D. under the reign of Hadrian, the theatre was restored several times before being destroyed by the Vandals in 439. It stands on the flank of the Odeon hill and was of considerable size. It  comprised  three concentric galleries with a colonnaded portico above.During excavation work on the theatre, several statues were found, including a colossal statue of Apollo which is now in the Bardo museum. Today, the theatre hosts the Carthage international festival during the summer.

The Carthage museum: It contains most of the objects discovered in Carthage and its surroudings grouped into collections displayed in thematically organised rooms.

On the first floor:

  • an introductory room : a sort of summary of the different  periods of Carthage’s history : Punic, Roman, Paleochristian, Byzantine and Arab.  A didactical exhibition of various marble and ceramic objects but also jewellery, amulets, ivory, glassware, terra cotta tiles uncovered during the different excavation campaigns.

  • a Punic room displaying a model of the levels of occupation of the Tophet ;  also a series of votive stelae, statuettes, local and imported objects.

On the ground floor :

  • Exhibition of Punic  stelae and sarcophagi  from the necropoles of the region, and a room devoted to the relationship between science and archaeology (restoration, analysis, dating) and another Paleochristian room containing sculptures, tiles and mosaics from this period ( including the one known as the Carthage room mosaic). 

In a wing of the annex building a room on the first floor has been arranged  to display the various objects retrieved from the French excavations of Carthage.

The building with columns:The building contains a vast rectangular room divided into three aisles by two rows of columns with Corinthian capitals dating back to the IVth and beginning of the Vth century.

The Punic Ports ( Vth - IVth C. BC): Situated at the South East extremity of the coastal plain, the Punic ports consist at present of two lagoons  lying in the midst of a modern residential area.In the past, the complex was composed of a rectangular port for the merchant navy, which communicated, by a narrow outlet, with a circular  military port, the headquarters of the admiralty which thus controlled the movement of ships.

Contemporary Carthage: Carthage is one style residential suburb of Tunis today. Attractive villas, elegant shops and chancelleries make up the modern landscape of this antique site. Carthage shelters even the presidential palace.

North Africa American Cemetery and Memorial:  is located at Carthage, Tunisia, where 2,841 United States military casualties are interred. Most lost their lives during World War II military activities in North Africa.e cemetery is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays except Tunisian Public holidays and December 25 and January 1. When the cemetery is open to the public, a staff member is usually on duty in the Visitor Building to answer questions and escort relatives to grave and memorial sites.


Terminal - Carthage :

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