Carthage Punic Port and Museum | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Carthage Punic Port and Museum

Carthage, Tunis, Tunisia

Antara Bate

24 Nov 2020

About Carthage Punic Port and Museum

The Carthage Punic Port and Punic Port Museum can be found in the area of the ancient Carthaginian harbour near modern day Tunis.

Carthage Punic Port and Museum history

This ancient superpower built its reputation on its mastery of the seas and the ancient Port of Carthage would have once held over two hundred of the most powerful warships of the time.

Originally destroyed after the Roman capture of the city in 146BC, it was later revived by the Romans themselves to serve the growing commercial needs of the now-Roman city of Carthage.

According to ancient sources, the commercial harbour was in the shape of a rectangle measuring 456 meters by 356 meters, linked with the sea by a channel 20 meters wide. The naval harbour to the north, which was surrounded by a high wall, had a diameter of 325 meters. A channel giving it direct access to the sea was constructed only during the Third Punic War. The naval harbour alone had moorings for some 220 vessels, both along the landward side and around the island.

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.

Carthage Punic Port and Museum today

Today, only the shape of these legendary ports, the coveted basis of Carthage’s power and prosperity, remains.

There are a handful of remains and ruins on the site as well as the small Punic Port Museum which has a number of models that reconstruct what the Punic Port would have looked like in its prime.

Getting to Carthage Punic Port and Museum

The port is a 30 minute drive from Tunis Carthage International Airport. Carthage Hannibal train station is a 20 minute walk away.

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