Carthage, also Cartagena, was another major stop on my itinerary. Carthage, today, is an upscale suburb of Tunis. Theroux said that the ruins at Carthage were nothing but a pile of rocks. That is not true.
Carthage today is a major archaeological site and museum with visiting scholars from all over the world working there. I hope that I have been able to capture some of the majesty of this place, and some pointers to the many thousands of years of its history.
This view is southwesterly toward the city of Tunis. This is a Corinthian column, so-called because of the fluting at the top of the column. Classical Roman architecture was organized into three "orders." Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian, all terms borrowed from the Greeks.
This archaeological excavation has exposed some roman living quarters. It is hard to make out in a photo, but it is almost possible to make out the floor and wall mosaics, and what appears to have been a fresco along the base of the wall on the left of passageway. The amazing durability of Roman engineering and art is the reason why, after the final collapse of the Roman empire about 480 AD, so much of it remains us to see and talk about.
According to my personal guide on this museum tour, this is a Phoenician mosaic. Hannibal was a great Phoenician general who used elephants to sneak over the alps and attack Rome in 218 BC. The Phoenicians and the Greeks fought with each other for control of this area for 1,000 years before the Phoenicians were finally defeated during the second Punic war by the Romans in 212 BC.
Looking from atop the Hill of Byrsa - where the roman ruins are - across the Gulf of Tunis. The flag is the Tunisian flag. The Tunisians are the current masters of this historic piece of property.
This is the same design as the Greek amphitheater in Syracuse, but the Tunisians call this a roman amphitheater. It is also not clear that the view would be as spectacular as the view from the Greek amphitheater in Syracusa.
As in Syracuse, this stage is being prepared for the presentation of a Greek play.
This is a vendor stall and shop in Sidi Bou Said, in Carthage. Carthage is now a very upscale area to live in. The President of Tunisia (a fellow named Bey) has his residence nearby, there are yachts in the harbor, and fancy cars in the parking lots. This according to the cab driver who took me on this tour.
These are three Arab high school girls, and they all speak good English. They were just out of school for the summer and were eager to practice their English on a real live foreigner. Compared to many woman in other Islamic countries these three were delightfully open, engaging and inquisitive. I hope they can hang on to that.
Unfortunately, I had to check out of my hotel and catch a plane to Madrid so I couldn't spend as much time as I wanted to with these three charming young women.