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    • Day 59


      February 11 in Tunisia ⋅ 🌬 15 °C

      Today was going to consist of a lot of ruins and a lot of walking. Luckily, I had just read up about the Phoenicians and was incredibly eager to learn a bit more and get a taste for life in the once great city of Carthage. Older than the city of Rome, Carthage holds its own origins in the regions around what is today Lebanon. An ousted queen began building a new civilisation that would birth Carthage, and it is believed that emmigrants from this young city were the original bloodline of the future enemy's, the Romans. This new settlement placed them in the perfect position to dominate the whole Mediterranean. From the central location in Northern Africa, they dominated trade in the sea and quickly became a superpower with wealth that not even Rome could match. Learning about the demise of the city made for an acceptionally overwhelming and interesting experience within the ruins. I started at the Roman Villas, where I spent an acceptional amount of time wandering around the large site, shadowed by the large Malik ibn Anas Mosque. Although incredible to see, I quickly learnt that Tunisia doesn't have the infrastructure that more developed countries may have around a similar site. As such, there was no audio guide or information pieces, and so after a while, it kind of starts to feel a bit repetitive. Without knowing what you're looking at specifically, it's just old rock walls everywhere you look. Nonetheless, for the equivalent of 6 AUD, I had access to 8 sites within walking distance. With this in mind, I continued to the next site to see how it may differ. I headed toward the Roman theatre of Carthage, where it was cool to see the condition in which this structure had maintained compared to the villas right next door. It was, however, not a place you could spend a lot of time. So it wasn't long until I had moved on. The most amazing part of my time in Carthage relates to the sheer number of sites present in the city and the unrestricted access. I had access to 8 with my ticket but even walking along the street youd stumble across many more that just appear out of nowhere, and you are simply allowed to wander and explore the ancient monument. I did this multiple times just on my journey to the next site, Byrsa Hill. This is where the phoenecians are said to have first began their civilisation, tricking the former King into forfeiting the hill. This was the most developed part and did have some information pieces and the option of a tour. I regret not taking up the option of a tour, but given there was plenty of information pieces, I could at least rely on them. This site had the best views of the city, the bay of Tunis, and the old ruins of Carthage. Eventually, I restarated my journey, and at the next sites, I would be witnessing true phoenician ruins. So far, I had experienced only Roman ruins, as although the Phoenicians were once the most powerful force in the Mediterranean, the growing power of Rome soon became overwhelming and in 200 BC after many devastating Punic wars with the Romans, they had fully surrendered. The Romans demanded that they fully disarm and confiscated every weapon within the city limits. But, when the Romans then demanded they evacuate the city and move inland, the phoenicians decided they could not willingly abandon their ancient and beautiful city. They fought a 3 year war as the Romans laid siege to the city. When it finally fell, well over 50% of the population was massacred, the rest sold to slavery, and the whole city literally wiped off the map. The hatred the Romans had toward the pheonicians was so that they returned once a year to once again light ablaze to any remnants of what once was, worried it would one day return. Only during trajans rule many centuries later did they understand the importance of the city and its location. As such, the Romans then paid extreme amounts of money to rebuild it as a Roman outpost. These are the ruins that are present today, and in fact, the fact that Phoenician ruins are so rare is simply due to the rigorous destruction that the Romans inflicted on the town. With that being said, there are still some sites. Though, it must be said, when you arrive, there is very little left, leaving a real test for your capacity to imagine a once bustling city. After these sites, I soon arrived at the once legendary site of the Carthaginian port. Legendary for its complex structure, impenetrable walls, and effective system for controlling trade boats and the navy. Unfortunately, it was underhwleming when I saw it in person. The Romans clearly did a great job of demolishing any remnants of a city. Nonetheless, it was cool to see and imagine. The final stop of the day would be the baths of Antoninus. These were easily the best preserved and the most grandiose of all the sites. It was massive, with some of the original pillars still standing. The image that reflects its former size and design helped to paint a picture of life here once upon a time. After some time exploring, I was given the very pleasant surprise of a dead phone. Given that I was an hour walk from home and zero sense of direction, I was in for some fun. Luckily, I had checked directions just a few minutes earlier, and there was a very pleasant walk that would take me straight to the beach that I was familiar with. How lucky?! Only this path was closed, and I had to wander the streets. After asking a few locals, I had determined I was in the right direction, but I would be wandering some time before I found somewhere familiar. Only I was far from confident of getting home. Eventually, however, I found myself near the supermarket and in a place I could get home. Despite taking longer than expected (we'll over an hour), I did eventually make it and could relax. It was a massive day and I was very tired. I made some pimped out 2-minute noodles and prepared for bed.Read more

    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Salambôo, Salamboo

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