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Things to do in Carthage

28 contributors

The top 12 attractions in Carthage

Ruins in Carthage
The Baths of Carthage
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The truth is that with an organized excursion you do not have much time for anything, and in my case I had a few hours less to visit the city. It is a pity that the baths have not been better preserved because in their time they must have been impressive, for this reason they were the second highest in importance throughout the Roman Empire.
Ruins in Carthage
Carthage
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You will feel the weight of history in the ruins of Carthage, but only if you love it. If not, what will call your attention is the havoc and extreme carelessness that have developed over time in a place that should be of importance. With the passage of time, some looting can be understood. What is extremely disappointing is to find that this UNESCO World Heritage Site (1979) has been ignored to the point of obvious decline. The ruins are scattered, often at the side of the road and, more often still, buried under the Tunisian "jet". The Presidential Palace itself, which must have had fabulous views of Carthage and the sea, was built on the tanks that fed the baths of Carthage. Unfortunately disappointing.
Historical Monuments in Carthage
Byrsa Hill
The city of Carthage was based around Byrsa Hill, and this hill was its spiritual center. In Punic times it housed a temple to the Carthaginian god Eschmoun. The Romans destroyed most of the Punic structures, levelled the top and created a wide space where the forum and the Capitol were located. Here stood temples and squares, a library and a basilica. Everything was destroyed after the fall of Rome, but some ruins remained that archaeologists have used to work out the design and size of the buildings. From the top of the hill you can get a magnificent view.
Cemeteries in Carthage
Sanctuary of Tofet
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The peaceful Sanctuary of Tophet was discovered during an excavation in the year 1921. It is the place where human sacrifices were made (it seems that they were mostly children) as an offering to the deities Baal Hammon and Tanit. There is also a cemetery and many small urns with geometric engravings and symbols, under the leafy trees. One of these urns is now located in the Bardo Museum in the Tunisian capital, where a priest is depicted holding a child before it is sacrificed. They have discovered more than 200 urns, each containing the ashes of children (from new-born to about 4 years old), and they were all marked with an urn. Others contained the burnt bones of sheep or goats ("tofet" means place of burning, in Hebrew), and most have of them been dated between the fourth and second centuries BC. At this time the city was involved in many conflicts and wars, so the need to appease the gods was all important.
Cemeteries in Carthage
Punic Necropolis
This Punic necropolis is near the Antonine Baths, about 2 km from the center of the ancient city of Carthage. The Phoenicians built their cemeteries outside the city walls (although close), establishing with them their territorial limit. They believed in life after death but reserved a separate place for their dead, without being mixed with that of the living. The bodies were embalmed and put into sarcophagi. The tombs of this ancient Phoenician cemetery are within the Bardo Museum.
Streets in Carthage
Roads - Urban Layout of Carthage Ancient
Carthage was one of the most powerful cities of the ancient world. All that is left today are a few ruins. The Phoenicians founded it in 814 BC. During the 4th century BC it was the thriving metropolis of this part of the Mediterranean. The city was destroyed during the Punic Wars, but again revived under the Roman Empire. Behind followed the Vandals, Byzantines and Arabs, who laid it to ruin in 695. The city sits on the Byrsa Hill that rises in a dominant position on the Mediterranean, where you find the Punic ports. The ruins we see today are mainly from Roman times: The Roman circus, amphitheater, theater, acropolis, Roman villas and baths of Antoninus. The ancient Carthage is, therefore, the urban layout design typical of Roman cities. Its roads, called "viae vicinalis" had a width of between 3 - 7 meters and made of pebbles mixed with sand. The main street linked the hill to the sea. Every 10 meters there was a "military stone", cylindrically shaped milestones expressed in Roman miles, the distance between that point and the nearby towns, major road junctions or borders.
Mosques in Carthage
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Historical Monuments in Carthage
Aqueduct of Carthage
Organized tours usually stop to eat right next to the Carthage aqueduct. The food is not particularly good, but at least you can enjoy the view of the aqueduct and have a break from travelling. As always on these trips, the drinks are separate and although Tunisia is not very expensive, the prices of drinks always unexpectedly increase the budget. I found out the importance of the aqueduct, water moves along the top and moves because of the slight tilt. I don't doubt that the construction of the arches has to have an engineering explanation, but they have no greater purpose than to create height. The Romans were engineering geniuses.
Museums in Carthage
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Historical Monuments in Carthage
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Villages in Carthage
Archaeological Sites in Carthage