Once mighty seat of the Roman Empire, and home to over half a million inhabitants, ruin-strewn Carthage will delight those with any interest in the past.
With a history stretching back nearly three millennia, Carthage was once the heart of a powerful Mediterranean empire before being leveled by the Romans in the Third Punic War in 146 BC. It sprang from the ashes to become an important early Christian center before again being destroyed by Islamic invaders in the late 7th century.
Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Carthage is a short train ride from Tunis and has several interesting attractions, like the Punic port and the Carthage Museum.
Visit the Antonin Baths, the largest of their kind outside Rome, and hop between crumbling cisterns and an Olympic-sized pool that was supplied by the Zaghouan Aqueduct.
Then, debunk the findings from the city’s various archaeological sites in the Carthage Museum.
The remains of Carthage are located on the outskirts of Tunis, the capital city. The wars between this ancient city and Rome lasted from 264 to 146 BC, a period which saw Hannibal’s march across the Alps and the sacking of Carthage by Roman legions. The Romans eventually settled themselves in and used Carthage to administer their African provinces, and today just about all of the remains are Roman, including temples, theatres, baths and villas.
Most are in ruins, but the Antoine Baths, the largest ever built by the ultra-hygienic Romans, are still impressive in their decayed grandeur, and the amphitheatre is still stunning. The best view of the legendary city is obtained from the nearby Byrsa Hill.
Take the car along the Avenue Habib Bourguiba from Tunis city centre to Sidi Bou Said and explore the awesome ruins on foot, preferably with a local guide to get the most out of your visit.