"Once the center of the world" Carthage Ancient Site Tip by dwjohnsonla

Carthage Ancient Site, Carthage: 9 reviews and 20 photos

Carthage, usually pronounced kar-TAJ by Arabic, French and other non English speakers, was perhaps once the center of the known world. Some of its inhabitants, including Hannibal, started the city of Cartagena, Spain, before moving on to other exploits throughout Europe, e.g., taking elephants across the Alps, bloody battles all over Italy, etc. Present day Carthage, like all of Tunisia, is full of unbelieveable pleasant surprises. Carthage is a fashionable hilly seaside suburb of Tunis with ancient ruins all over, not unlike Malibu or Laguna - except for the ancient ruins part of course. Perhaps the single most spectacular ancient site is the Thermes d'Antonine (Antonine Baths) by the sea. The existing ruins are impressive enough, yet the small model of the full original shows a truly spectacular and eerily modern looking structure. The Baths are also just below the Palace of President Ben Ali, though you are not supposed to look toward the Palace for long, nor take pictures of it. Carthage also has many other important sites all over, dating from Punic / Carthaginian as well as the later Roman times. There are also French influenced buildings like the old hilltop Cathedral - now a modern art museum inside - and the nearby small tomb of a French saint who died on the beach at Carthage during an ill advised crusade. Finally, perhaps the biggest surprise of all in Carthage, is the moving piece of Americana right there in the thick of things. The Cemetaire Americain, which is the U.S. Military Cemetary for North Africa, has some 10,000 U.S. servicemen and women, mostly from World War II, buried or memorialized there. The dedicated caretaker lives on the site and is a retired American serviceman of African descent. He is lonely (only gets a few groups of Americans a week) so please go and visit him. This is a beautiful and moving site similar to the cemetary in Normandie, and just another of the countless surprises of Tunisia.

Address: Carthage, Tunisia

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated May 30, 2006
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dwjohnsonla

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