Africa

Exploring Carthage and Sidi Bou Saïd

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Once upon a time there was a travel blogger who never touched anything. Although he pointed to several draws and contests, the goddess Fortuna never smiled at him. «You know what is said: lucky in love ...», she said to herself. But one day he attended a meeting of travel bloggers called Travel Blogger Meeting. A meeting point where crazy bloggers by travel spoke as descosidos of their favorite subject and shared common experiences and sufferings. There the organizers raffled several awards among the attendees: among them a trip to Tunisia. Knowing that the toilet bowl of a space station was more likely to fall on him than to be awarded a prize in a raffle, the blogger kept telling bloggers at his side that one of them would win the prize, but no. It was his name that was chosen ...

Legend has it that a Phoenician princess, Dido for friends, fled from Tire when her brother Pygmalion snatched her throne after killing her husband. That was how, after a long trip, he reached the coast of North Africa with some followers and got a piece of land to settle. There he built a city that, little by little, was growing and whose power was expanding throughout the Mediterranean, give place tothe Carthaginian civilization. The Carthaginians dominated the Mediterranean maritime trade, but had a small problem of timing, and in those same moments another civilization was moving in the opposite direction as a steamroller: the Roman.

The cakes between them were inevitable, which resulted in the Punic Wars, which covered almost a hundred years. In the first Punic war, the Carthaginians lost Sicily and later Corsica and Sardinia. During the second Punic war, they almost scored a bit when Hannibal crossed the Alps with elephants and put Rome in a good predicament, but ended up being defeated. The third Punic war was the final one. Rome He got very tired and besieged the city of Carthage for three years until he finally fell in 146 BC.

The ruins of the great capital of that civilization are very close to the current capital of Tunisia, but the problem of visiting the Carthage ruins is that you have to put a lot of imagination. In reality, there is almost nothing left of that ancient civilization, because when the Romans finally got into the city, they completely destroyed it. Of the millions of inhabitants he had, only 50,000 remained alive, which were then sold as slaves. And to finish off the task, the Romans covered the remains with salt so that nothing could grow there again. I think I remember that in a documentary they commented that it is one of the few times in history that a civilization was totally eradicated after a battle. The city was abandoned for a hundred years, until the Romans founded it again and ended up being one of the three most important cities in the empire.

To reach the ruins of Carthage from Tunisia, you can take the TGM train (Tunisia - Goulette - Marsa). Our hotel was located on the outskirts of La Marsa, so we went to the ruins of Carthage by taxi. To visit the ruins you have to pay a ticket of 9 dinars that includes the visit to the most important sites. We visited the Roman baths of Antonino, which at the time must have been spectacular, but currently only some arches of the basements and some other columns are preserved.

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