It is becoming increasingly more common to be charged an extra fee in addition to an admission fee in order to take photos of famous museums or historical sights around the world, and this was also the case for Carthage. Although we obviously visited with a tour group, our guide was obliged to collect 1 Tunisian Dinar or 1 Euro from those wishing to use cameras, and I believe it was 5 Euros to use video cams. Upon payment of the fee, you were given a receipt which conferred upon you "Droit de photos" or right to photograph. This fee covered all sites in Carthage. The fee was collected by our tour guide just outside the Antonine Baths Park gates before you entered the park.
Although I never saw anyone asked to produce this receipt, for 1 Euro it is better to be on the safe side. This fee was more than reasonable and I hope the money goes toward the preservation of these wonderful historical sites.
Favorite thing: The local currency is the Dinar. American Express, Visa and travellers cheques are widely accepted, and the US dollar is a good currency to carry them in. ATMs are found in almost every town large enough to support a bank and certainly in all the tourist areas. Credit cards are accepted in souvenir shops and upmarket hotels and restaurants.
Favorite thing: When you enter your first tourist sight, you're able to visit the rest of the sights with one all day ticket which saves you having to but individual tickets all the time. The ticket costs TD7 plus TD1 for camera charge and covers the amphitheatre, Roman villas, Roman Theatre, Paleo-Christian Museum, Carthage Museum on Byrsa Hill, Sanctuary of Tophet, Antonine Baths and Magon Quarter. You have to pay extra in order to visit the L'Acropolium or Cathedral on top of Byrsa Hill.
Favorite thing: All ancient sites, mosques, museums and antiquities charge a photographic fee. The ticket for this has to be purchased when one buys the entrance ticket. For each camera a separate fee has to be paid. During my visit the fee was 1 Dinar.
It is well-known that people come to Carthage to see the Phoenician and Roman ruins. This is why the Agency for the Development of National Heritage and Cultural Promotion (also referred to as the AMVPPC, its French acronym) has set up a system which allows you to visit multiple archeological sites with just one ticket.
There is no need to purchase this ticket in advance: you can simply buy it at any of the sites to which it applies. They are:
- Roman amphitheatre
- Roman villas
- Roman theatre
- Palaeo-Chrisitan Museum
- Carthage Museum
- Salammbo Tophet
- Antonine Baths
- Magon Quarters
As of February 2006, the ticket cost 7 dinars (+1 dinar for the right to take pictures). Please note that it is good for only one day, and that visiting all of the above attractions will likely take a full day, since they are spread out around town.
Like in many tourist areas, also in Carthage there's one thing the locals want to have from you: Your money. In Carthage, they try to charge you for everything: Taking pictures, showing you something, etc. - try to avoid that. However, if a real guide from one of the archeological sites offers you a small guided tour, give him a few dinars if you are satisfied. You will see parts of the city most people won't.
Like in every part of Tunisia, people also try to sell you something. If you are not really interested in buying something, don't look to close at the items they sell. Try to haggle them down, if you want to buy souvenirs. And don't be naive when somebody tells you that they have a present for you - they will charge you for it!
The ticket you have to buy to visit the archeological sites gives you the right to visit the other sights for free. There are no tickets for a single place only. You should also be aware that the ticket is valid for a day only. If you want to come back a day later to visit the sights you missed, you have to buy a new ticket.
Fondest memory: We travelled from a place between Sousse and Monastir all the way to Carthage and back in a single day so that we didn't have a lot of time. So we missed a lot of places that we could have visited with this ticket...
Along the seashore, at the foot of Borj jedid hill, stood the Antonine baths, counted amongst the largest of the empire. They were built according to the most advanced architectural techniques of the times. The baths were supplied in wood and coal dirextly by sea and their water supply came from large reservois located uphill and supplied by the great Zaghouan aqueduct.
Fondest memory: I am not sure if, this on the picture, is a part of Roman aqueduct or remains of the temple. It is built in the shape of an large circular building and looks to me like a temple.
By the time, Africa had become the granary of Rome, Emperor Commodus created a fleet specifically dedicated to the transportation of the annonae. Its port of origin was Carthage and it became its principal function.
In exchange for its role in feeding Rome, Carthage recived the status of a great city and a grandiose monumental decoration.
The centre of the city was situated on the top of Byrsa hill, which I, thanks to my guide, haven't visited.
Starting from the mid-5th century, Carthage sent its best navigators to explore the Atlantic coasts of Europe and Africa.
When Rome deprived it of Sicily after defeating it in the first Punic war during the third century, Carthage built a new empire in Spain and founded Carthagena in 221 BC.
Fondest memory: This fine roses ornament in marble can be seen on the walls of the Antonine Baths.
Phoenicians and Carthaginians not only introduced new plants, but also new farming techniques and methods, the best known hitherto. Mago, the famous father of rural science, wrote a treatise an agronomy in 28 volumes and was the only Punic work to be translated by the Romans.
Fondest memory: A number of well preserved capitals can be seen in the area of the Antonine Baths.
Carthaginians were essential and remain pertinent in as far as thex have been assimilated by mankind and integrated into humanity's common heritage: how to navigate, the skill of ship-building, the ability to build ports, to establish peaceful relations with foreign populations, to raise confidence to continue exploring unknown shores or lands. Carthagian society was constantly open to the other.
In the Archaeological Park of Roman Villas you can see remains of house-walls, cisterns, columns and capitals, steep well-paved streets and the Antiquarium.
According to the legend, it was a Phoenician princess come from Tyr who founded the new city on African soil.
"Elyssa and her followers finally reached the shores of Africa. They sought the friendship of the natives and these saw in the arrival of the newcomers the possibility of a profitable trade. The queen wanted to buy a piece of land - as much as the hide of a cow could cover, she requested - in order to rest with her companions who were weary from being at sea. Probably the Africans were afraid the strangers might settle in too large numbers in their neighbourhood, but the proposal seemed a modest one to them and they accepted. Elyssa resorted to a trick. She had the hide cut into very thin strips and was able thus to cover a wider area then she appeared to have requested : Hence the name of Byrsa (hide) later given to the site."
This on the picture is a part of the Archaeological Park of Roman Villas.
Until the 15th century, the Mediterranean, surrounded by its three continents, was considered the cradle of peoples. This sea was the meeting place of civilisations from the East and West, from Europe and Africa. It was crossed by major maritime routes weaving a commercial network between the many ports established along its shores, serving as outlets for the regional inland.
Carthage was a metropolis of the ancient world, and since 1979 it is a part of UNESCO World Heritage.
The picture you see is the entrance to the complex bordered by the beautiful palm-trees.
Favorite thing: Famous General Hannibal is known because of its attack to Rome with its army and elephants. But intelligent counter attacks of Romans forced him to go back Carthage. Romans won finaly. And destiny of Hannibal became a tragedy. Legends tell us he died near Gebze district in northwest Turkey.