Difference between revisions of "Carthage"
Revision as of 21:45, 13 December 2010
A city of the Pheonician and Punic periods from the C6th BC it was the base of a powerful trading empire spanning the entire south Mediterranean and home to a population of the order of half a million people. Its most famous general was Hannibal who crossed the Alps to battle with the Romans. Hannibal suffered his first significant defeat at the Battle of Zama in 202 BC, which ended the 2nd Punic War. After over 50 years of being watched closely by Rome, they were eventually attacked in the 3rd Punic War. The citizens defended the city against the Republic of Rome in 146BC yet lost, and Punic Carthage was completely destroyed by the order of the Senate. The site was redeveloped by the Romans a century later and Carthage became the capital of the Roman province of Africa. A UNESCO World Heritage List site.
Take the TGM light rail line from Tunis to Carthage-Hannibal station.
Mostly it's best to walk. However, the area is large and sightseeing is sweaty work on a hot day.
If you are tired, you may wish to get a cab between some of the major tourist spots. This should be cheaper in low season.
For example, 10 TD (the driver offered 7, but he was nice and helpful and patient) bought me a trip in December 2010 from the museum down to the Amphitheatre, 10 minutes of the driver waiting around, a trip to the Water Cisterns (his suggestion, not calculated in the price), a further 5 minutes of the driver waiting around, and a trip down to Tophet.
Very little remains of Carthage today, and Punic Carthage in particular was completely obliterated. However, sections have been dug up.
You can buy a ticket for 9 DT (December 2010) that allows access to about 10 different sites, which are a big challenge to see in one day. Only some sites have extensive English signage - many, such as the museum, do not.
International Festival of Carthage in the summer is a treat with big name dancers, singers, and artists from all over the world for a very reasonable price (10.5 DT). Plastic chairs are not worth the price (26 DT) unless you are really aching for back-support. Most people bring cushions or blankets for the amphitheatre seats. Plan a late night out with concerts normally ending after 1AM.
There´s a lot of leather products to buy in Tunisia, from handbags to puffs. It´s cheaper than in Europe or America, and there´s a lot to choose from.
You can also buy many handmade items that are characteristic of Arab countries.
The Hotel Villa Didon, next to the main Carthage ruins, offers a stylish lounge and terrace with delightful views. Very pleasant for an evening beer or glass of wine.