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Archaeological site of Carthage - Tunisia

Map showing the location of Carthage

Website Category: Frontiers of the Roman Empire  

Area: unknown 

Inscribed: 1979 

Criteria: (ii)  interchange of values (iii)  cultural tradition(vi)  association with belief system

Location and Values

Carthage is located on a hilly promontory overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, an ideal strategic location in north-east Tunisia, about 15 km east of Tunis.  It was founded in 814 BC by the seafaring Phoenicians, from their base in Tyre (across the sea in present-day Lebanon), and became a highly prosperous Phoenician port city.  The Phoenicians ruled the seas from their strategic port at Carthage for almost 800 years but – after many epic battles – the city was taken by the Roman emperor Julius Caeser in 44 BC and levelled.  By 29 BC it became a Roman provincial capital and within 200 years had grown to become the third largest imperial city after Rome and Alexandria.  After the fall of the Roman Empire, Carthage became the capital of the Vandals and Byzantines, before slipping into obscurity after the Arab conquest.

The Archaeological Site of Carthage, as it exists today, comprises a number of different locations scattered amongst the wealthy residential streets of the modern town. Overall, different components of the site are located over an area of about 2 km x 2.5 km, so exploration of the various points of interest involves a lot of walking, or use of transport.   The highlights include the museum and excavation on Byrsa Hill, the Punic ports, the Punic Sanctuary of Tophet, the Roman amphitheatre, and the Antonine Baths.

Details of Slideshow: The slideshow covers three areas of the archaeological site starting at the excellent museum, where the exhibits include some stunning Roman statuary, mosaics and an artist’s impression of the Punic town and port.  From the museum, the photo-tour proceeds to the (Roman) Antonine Baths, which were built in the middle of the 2nd century and were the third largest in the Roman Empire (they were destroyed by the Vandals in 439 AD).   A couple of kilometres from the Baths is the haunting (Punic) Sanctuary of Tophet, an enclosure of stone stelae marking the graves of Carthaginian children who were sacrificed to the deities Baal Hammon and Tanit.  The final few photographs are taken at the excavation site on Byrsa Hill. 

Slideshow of the Archaeological Site Of Carthage:

Google Earth View:  To view satellite imagery of this site on Google Earth, click here.  This opens a new window, so when you are finished, just close the Google Earth page and you will be straight back here to continue browsing other world heritage sites around Africa. You can learn an enormous amount from this kind of ‘bird’s eye view’, so take a few minutes to explore the surroundings by panning in and out, and looking to left and right at high resolution.  That way, you’ll get a strong sense of ‘context’, understanding how this place is situated within the wider contemporary landscape.

Links to other places featuring the frontiers of the Roman Empire:  Djemila  I  Timgad Tipaza  I  Cyrene  I  Leptis Magna  I  Sabratha  I  El Jem  I  Dougga  I  Volubilis 

Other Links:     Official UNESCO Site Details



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