You may expect for there to be little left of Phoenician or Punic Carthage after it was destroyed by the Romans, the city was rebuilt by the romans but with some remains of earlier buildings left undisturbed. There is more of Roman Carthage to see though, an important city and capital of the Roman Province of Africa.
The original Phoenician colony sprung up around 3000 years ago in the 1st millennium BC, the city prospered and became rich, influential and importantly an independent republic with influence over a surrounding area: covering much of the coast of North Africa, Southern Spain, Sardinia, Corsica and parts of Scilly by the 3rd century BC.
The Punic Wars
This prosperity led to rivalry between Carthage and other influential city states on the Mediterranean, not least Rome. The Punic wars saw the advantage sway between Rome and Carthage but with Hannibal’s forces defeated at the battle of Zama during the second Punic War Carthage was on the back foot. When the third Punic war began with a Roman invasion the Carthaginians were unable to defend for long against Rome’s stronger forces and they were defeated and the city of Carthage destroyed.
Roman and later Carthage
Carthage was rebuilt in the first century AD though and became an important Roman city and then a important city under other rulers including the Vandals whose capital it was. A further destruction came in AD 698 under Muslim Conquest and after this Carthage became far less important with Tunis becoming the major influential city in the region. Carthage is now a part of the greater metropolitan area of Tunis and across the Tunis lake from central Tunis.
What to see
Tourism is important to Carthage and access and facilities for tourists are good. Sites are generally well maintained and not encroached upon by urban development; tickets giving access to a number of sites are best value.
Roman sites include the Antonin baths, the largest Roman baths outside of Rome. On the same site though you can find some of Carthage’s Punic remains including a kiln and a cemetery. Other Roman remains in Carthage include the Amphitheatre, remains of roman houses, columns and water cisterns alongside a small section of Roman aqueduct.
Other remains though of Roman and Punic Carthage can be found in the Carthage Museum; as well as the museum giving a lot more information on the city’s history you will be able to view artefacts and building remains unearthed during various developments in the city. Within the grounds of the museum you will also find the remains of a Punic era street and sculptures, mosaics and other exhibits.
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