A study trip to Carthage lets travelers experience history first hand. World history was once written in the ancient city of Carthage, in the north of Tunisia, not far from the capital Tunis. The excavations continue to this day and are not completely finished. Although the city was destroyed, the ruins, some of which have been very well preserved, still give a good idea of the splendor of the former Carthage. Those interested in culture can expect a journey into the past. Carthage with its Roman excavations is one of the most important sights in Tunisia.
The former great power Carthage
Carthage was founded in 814 BC and served as the capital of the trading and sea power of the same name. Due to the geographical location in the north of Tunisia, Carthage could control almost the entire Mediterranean area. The trading power developed over time into an increasingly important power, both economically and militarily. At times over 400,000 people lived in the Carthage region. From then on Carthage fought with the Roman Empire for supremacy in the Mediterranean region. Although some battles could be won, Carthage ultimately had to surrender to the Romans and was completely destroyed.
The Carthaginian Empire went on to become part of the Roman Empire. Although the city was very badly damaged, it was gradually rebuilt. Gaius Iulius Caesar himself gave the order to rebuild the city. Under the new name of “Colonia Iulia Concordia Carthago”, the region once again rose to become an influential city.
The final fall of Carthage
With the invasion of Africa by the Arabs, Carthage also fell. The Romans had to admit defeat. In 898 Carthage was conquered by the Arab expansion and was, so to speak, razed to the ground. Since then, the place has lost its importance and only served as a means of removing stones for building other cities in the interior of what is now Tunisia.
Tunis old town
Tunis, the capital of Tunisia, is located in the north of the country and is one of the oldest cities on the Mediterranean. With more than a million inhabitants, it is also the largest city in the country. The historic old town (Médina) has existed since the 9th century and was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1979. A stroll through the winding streets of the approximately 270 hectare Médina should not be missing on any excursion program during a Tunisia vacation.
In the center of the medina is the impressive Ez-Zitouna Mosque, the oldest part of which is over 1000 years old. The pillars of the large prayer hall, for example, come from ancient Carthage, in whose shadow Tunis stood for a long time. The market district, a melting pot of many cultures, spreads around the mosque. Berbers, Arabs, Turks, Jews and Christian sailors left their traces here. Traditionally, a market lane (souk) housed one branch of the economy, so there was the souk for fabrics, shoes, perfume and so on. Nowadays the central area of the market is mainly geared towards tourists and the supply accordingly. However, if you stroll through the outskirts, where the locals also shop, you can still buy some antiques at moderate prices.
The former city gate (Bab el Bahar) on Victory Square represents the border between the old and new cities and is one of the most important sights of Tunis. The Arabic name means gateway to the sea and reveals that the Mediterranean Sea was in close proximity to the medina in ancient times, i.e. much closer than it is today. The extensive space in front of the gate is a popular photo opportunity and the numerous cafés located here invite you to take a break during the city walk.
The old town of Tunis is an extremely worthwhile excursion destination for every vacationer.
Roman remains of the city in Dougga Tunisia
Dougga in the northern part of Tunisia is one of the most impressive and best-preserved ruined cities in North Africa. A 25 hectare area with a Roman forum, theater, numerous temples and thermal baths was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. Dougga is located about 100 kilometers southwest of Tunis in the Medjerda river valley at the foot of the cliffs that gave the city its name in its Numidian name “Tukka”. As the ancient city rises up on the rocky slopes, there are picturesque views over the fertile valley with meadows and olive groves. On study trips to Tunisia, Dougga is always on the agenda as a day trip destination.
Dougga in Tunisia: Historical Overview
The city of Thugga emerged as a Punic settlement in the fourth century BC. After the Roman victory over Carthage in 146 BC, it was conquered by the Numidian king Massinissa, before the Romans invaded here in 46 BC. Dougga flourished over the next three to four centuries, but then lost its importance as the neighboring settlement of Teboursouk established itself as the center of the region. Many of the ancient buildings have been well preserved to this day.
Study trips to Dougga – Ancient sights
In ancient times, the semicircular Roman theater with 19 rows of seats could seat 2,500 spectators. Today, the Comédie Française stages classic dramas here every summer during the Dougga Festival. An interesting building from the pre-Roman period is the Libyan-Punic mausoleum for the Numid ruler Ataban, a 21-meter-high building from the second century BC with Punic and oriental ornaments. Popular sights in Dougga also include the Arch of Severus Alexander, the Temple of Juno Caelestis, the Licinius Baths and the Temple of the Unknown God.
But when traveling through Tunisia, culture is always combined with the relaxed Mediterranean way of life. After a sightseeing tour, two cafés invite you to take a break, plus there are a few shops, a medical station and a hammam in Dougga.