Carthage est delenda – Carthago needs to be destroyed, that’s what the Roman Senator Cato used to repeat at the end of every speech. The Romans did what he wanted and flattened the place in 146 BC.
After the destruction of Carthage, the city returned to much of its old splendour, but this was first under Roman rule, later it was after the decline of Rome. Actually Carthage survived Rome, and its era stretched over almost twice as many centuries as Rome did. Trying to discover what Carthage, is difficult. Even if the total destruction left some of the structures of Carthage in good shape, the need for building material removed both ancient Carthage and the younger Roman structures.
The Punic port is the best place to visit, as Carthage so much was a sea port, dominating even the Roman empire for ages. The Punic port is very much moulded by human intervention, and is a 100 meter wide canal shaped like a perfect circle. The inner part, 130 metres in diametre was both the quay, and the dock where repairs were done. In this small structure, gave room for as much as 220 slim ships. In the quay, little remains, a couple of rocks, telling you nothing, but one or two places, clear traces of the docks can be seen. This gives a clear indication of the size of the ships.
What could have been the greatest Carthagian site, has been left without any funds from the Tunisian governments: The child sacrifice ground, called Tophet, lying just 300 metres south of the Punic port. It is easy to understand, with the strong claim on early civilisation that Tunisia has, an exhibition of contemporaneous barbary will dilute the image. Even if child sacrifice was only performed in times of extraordinary hardship. Anyway, there is an entry fee, but you see just as much from the outside. About a kilometre walk north of the Punic ports, the Byrsa quarter offers the third ground of any significance for most travellers. This is the place that has the largest percentage of surviving Carthagian settlement, and what has been recovered is on display in the museum that has been put up here.