Carthage, Tunisia - The Traveller


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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Carthage, Tunisia

Carthage – Centre of Ancient Carthaginian Civilization

Carthage is a city in Tunisia and the centre of the ancient Carthaginian civilization. The name Carthage is an extensive archaeological site founded by the Phoencians, and is located on a hill that dominates the Gulf of Tunis as well as the surrounding plains. Carthage is one of those famous historic sites of the Roman Empire.

It was founded in the 9th century by Phoenician traders from Tyre, in present day Lebanon. Its location made it master of the Mediterranean’s maritime trade. It has two first class harbours and has the advantage in possessing the most efficient means of communication at that time – the sea.

The people from Carthage soon learned the skills of building ships and used them to dominate the seas for centuries where the most important merchandise was lead, silver, ivory and gold, together with beds and bedding, cheap pottery, glassware, jewellery, wild animals from Africa as well as fruits and nuts.

Central Part in Antiquity 

Carthage played a central part in Antiquity as a great commercial empire during the metropolis of Punic civilization in Africa and the capital of the province of Africa during the Roman era. It also occupied the territories which belonged to Rome during the long Punic wars which then destroyed its rivals in 146 AD and the town was rebuilt on the ruins of the ancient city by the Romans.

Besides mixing, diffusion as well as blossoming of many cultures like Phoenico-Punic, Roman, Arab and Paleochristian, this metropolis as well as its ports has given way to wide-scale exchanges in the Mediterranean. Its property comprises of the vestiges of Roman Vandal, Punic, Paleochristian and the Arab presence and the biggest known components of the site of Carthage are the acropolis of Byrsa, the Punic ports, the Punic Tophet, theatre, the necropolises, circus, amphitheatre, residential areas, basilicas, the Antonin baths, Malaga cisterns and lastly the archaeological reserve.

The Carthage site bears great testimony to the Phoenico-Punic civilization which was the central hub at that time in the western basin of the Mediterranean and also one of the most amazing centres of Afro-Roman civilization.

Home of the Legendary Princess of Tyre

Carthage has been associated with the home of the home of the legendary princess of Tyre, Elyssa-Dido, the founder of the town, sung by Virgil in the Aeneid with the great navigator-explorer, Hannon with Hannibal who was one of the greatest military strategist of history together with writers like Apulee, the founder of Latin-African literature, the martyr of Saint Cyprien as well as Saint Augustin who trained and made many visits at that place.

The site of Carthage has retained theelements which characterise the antique town, meeting place, urban network, recreation, worship etc.: inspite of its integrity which was partially altered by uncontrolled urban sprawl duringthe time of the first half of the 20th century. The maintenance and the restoration work that was carried out over a period of years has been in accordance with the standards of international charters which has not caused any damage to the monuments as well as to the remains of the site of Carthage.

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