Les Ports Puniques de Carthage, Tunisia 

Today, only the shape of these legendary ports, the coveted basis of Carthage’s power and prosperity, remains. A narrow channel linked the southern, oblong merchant port to the northern circular naval port.

This arrangement meant that the military port was hidden from outside, but the Carthaginian navy could see out to sea. The military base had moorings for an incredible 220 vessels in dry docks and around the quay-lined edge. The 7-hectare commercial port was bordered by quays and warehouses.

The ports were filled in by Scipio after Carthage’s destruction in 146 BC, but in the 2nd century AD the Romans reinvented the islet as a circular forum, with two temples, and used the port to house their merchant fleet, which shipped wheat to Rome. Rises in the sea level meant the quay walls had to be raised several times. By the end of the 6th century the harbour had fallen into disuse.

Epic Tunisia Culture & Adventure Route © Monika Newbound

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