Totally Frenched Out

From the blogger formerly known as Samdebretagne

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The highlight of my latest trip to Tunisia was getting to go to Carthage. Carthage has a long and interesting history, dating back to its beginnings in 814 BC. Yep, that's right, BC! For a long time, the city was one of the power centers in the Mediterranean, and a major rival of Rome. There were several wars between the two cities, and if you put on your history cap, you may remember hearing about Hannibal and how he spent 12 years marching an entire army (elephants and all) up through Spain, the Alps and into Italy during the Second Punic War.However the Romans finally won out, and they destroyed the city after the end of the Third Punic War in 146 BC. They rebuilt it however and it remained one of the most important Roman cities until it was destroyed a second time in 698 AD by Muslim invaders. You can still see traces of the Roman influence everywhere though.
As I mentioned in a previous post, the historical importance of Tunis/Carthage is shown in the fact that the name of the entire continent (Africa), comes from the Arabic word for Tunisia.
I really enjoyed our visit there - it's just so mind-blowing to think about how old some of these ruins are. How whole civilizations rose and fell multiple times before the US was even a sparkle in the eye of its future colonizers.
I'll end with a practical tip, should any of you ever want to go there - there are 8 major sites to visit in Carthage, and there is one entry ticket for all of them. The ticket costs 8 dinards (or $5.72 or 4.31€), and is valid for the entire day. So don't let the entry people try to sell you a new one for each site!

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Blogger Veronica said...

Looks fantastic -- as a former archaeologist I'd love to see Carthage.

As well as Hannibal, it also makes me think of poor Dido committing suicide after that b*stard Aeneas snuck off from Carthage in the night without so much as a by-your-leave (I studied the Aeneid at school).

May 7, 2009 at 12:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had to beg my Tunisian family to take me to Carthage. They couldn't understand why anyone would want to look at all that old stuff! It's so beautiful looking across at the Boukornine mountain which is very close to where I lived. Have you been to Sidi Bou Said? I spent my 1st week in Tunisia, during my "orientation", living there with an American family. It's so beautiful.

May 7, 2009 at 8:46 PM  

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