UNESCOEnglish Français
Help preserve sites!
The List » World Heritage List

Archaeological Site of Carthage
Archaeological Site of Carthage
Carthage was founded in the 9th century B.C. on the Gulf of Tunis. From the 6th century onwards, it developed into a great trading empire covering much of the Mediterranean and was home to a brilliant civilization. In the course of the long Punic wars, Carthage occupied territories belonging to Rome, which finally destroyed its rival in 146 B.C. A second – Roman – Carthage was then established on the ruins of the first.
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0
Archaeological Site of Carthage (Tunisia) © Yvon Fruneau
Outstanding Universal Value
Brief synthesis
Founded by the Phoenicians, Carthage is an extensive archaeological site, located on a hill dominating the Gulf of Tunis and the surrounding plain.  Metropolis of Punic civilization in Africa and capital of the province of Africa in Roman times, Carthage has played a central role in Antiquity as a great commercial empire. During the lengthy Punic wars, Carthage occupied the territories that belonged to Rome, which then destroyed its rival in 146 AD.  The town was rebuilt by the Romans on the ruins of the ancient city.
Exceptional place of mixing, diffusion and blossoming of several cultures that succeeded one another (Phoenico-Punic, Roman, Paleochristian and Arab), this metropolis and its ports have encouraged wide-scale exchanges in the Mediterranean. Founded at the end of the 9th century BC by Elyssa-Dido and having sheltered the mythical love of Dido and Aeneas, Carthage produced a warrior and strategy genius in the person of Hannibal, the navigator-explorer Hannon, and a famous agronomist, Magon. Carthage has always nourished universal imagination through its historic and literary renown.
The property comprises the vestiges of Punic, Roman, Vandal, Paleochristian and Arab presence. The major known components of the site of Carthage are the acropolis of Byrsa, the Punic ports, the Punic tophet, the necropolises, theatre, amphitheatre, circus, residential area, basilicas, the Antonin baths, Malaga cisterns and the archaeological reserve.
Criterion (ii): Phoenician foundation linked to Tyre and Roman refoundation on the orders of Julius Cesar, Carthage was also the capital of a Vandal kingdom and the Byzantine province of Africa. Its antique ports bear witness to commercial and cultural exchanges over more than ten centuries. The tophet, sacred place dedicated to Baal, contains numerous stelae where numerous cultural influences are in evidence.  Outstanding place of blossoming and diffusion of several cultures that succeeded one another (Phoenico-Punic, Roman, Paleochristian and Arab); Carthage has exercised considerable influence on the development of the arts, architecture and town planning in the Mediterranean.
Criterion (iii): The site of Carthage bears exceptional testimony to the Phoenico-Punic civilization being at the time the central hub in the western basin of the Mediterranean. It was also one of the most brilliant centres of Afro-Roman civilization.
Criterion (vi): The historic and literary renown of Carthage has always nourished the universal imagination. The site of Carthage is notably associated with the home of the legendary princess of Tyre, Elyssa-Dido, founder of the town, sung about by Virgil in the Aeneid; with the great navigator-explorer, Hannon, with Hannibal, one of the greatest military strategists of history, with writers such as Apulée, founder of Latin-African literature, with the martyr of Saint Cyprien and with Saint Augustin who trained and made several visits there.
Integrity (2009)
Although its integrity has been partially altered by uncontrolled urban sprawl during the first half of the 20th century, the site of Carthage has essentially retained the elements that characterise the antique town: urban network, meeting place (forum), recreation (theatre), leisure (baths), worship (temples), residential area, etc. The conservation of the site guarantees the maintenance of the intact character of the structures.  However, it continues to face strong urban pressure that has, for the most part, been contained thanks to the national listing of the Carthage-Sidi Bou-Said Park.
Authenticity (2009)
Restoration and maintenance work carried out over the years is in accordance with the standards of international charters and has not damaged the authenticity of the monuments and remains of the site of Carthage. The site benefits from a maintenance protocol.
Protection and management requirements (2009)
The site of Carthage benefits from the listing of a large number of its remains as historic monuments (since 1885). Its protection is also guaranteed by Decree 85-1246 of 7 October 1985 concerning the listing of the Carthage-Sidi Bou-Said site, Law 35-1994 concerning the protection of archaeological and historic heritage and of traditional arts, and by the Order of 16 September 1996 for the creation of the cultural site of Carthage. A conservation unit attached to the National Heritage Institute is responsible for the safeguarding and management of the site. The management of the property is currently integrated into the urban development plan of the town. A Protection and Presentation Plan, presently under preparation, shall ensure the management of the site.
Ennabli, Abdelmajid. "North Africa's Roman art. Its future" in North Africa's Roman art. Its future , September 2000, pp 18-29
Archaeological Site of Carthage (UNESCO/NHK)
Archaeological Site of Carthage (UNESCO/NHK)
Activities (1)
World Heritage Earthen Architecture Programme (WHEAP)
Bikeabout To Launch Circum-Mediterranean Tour Of World Heritage Sites 24-Sep-1997-30-Jun-1998
District of Tunis
N36 51 10.008 E10 19 23.988
Date of Inscription: 1979
Criteria: (ii)(iii)(vi)
Property : 498.08 ha
Ref: 37
Earthstar GeographicsPowered by Esri
Base WHC
Media Activities Events
State of Conservation (SOC) by year
2019 2018 2016 2014 2012 2011
Global Strategy
Upstream Process
Tentative Lists
World Heritage List Nominations
World Heritage List
New Inscribed Properties
Interactive Map
World Heritage in Danger
The List in Danger
Success Stories
Donate Now
Donate now and help preserve World Heritage sites
Extended 44th session
of the World Heritage Committee
Fuzhou, China/Online
Committee sessions
Statutory Documents
Committee decisions
More sessions...
45th session (2022)
44th session (2021)
15th Extraordinary session (2021)
43rd session (2019)
42nd session (2018)
General Assembly
23rd GA UNESCO Paris (2021)
22nd GA UNESCO Paris (2019)
About World Heritage
Policy Compendium
Operational Guidelines
The Emblem
The States Parties
The Advisory Bodies
The Centre
Employment & Internships
Who's Who
The List
World Heritage List
World Heritage in Danger
New Inscriptions
Criteria for Selection
Tentative Lists
World Heritage List Nominations
Reporting & Monitoring
State of Conservation (SOC)
Periodic Reporting
Questionnaires 2008-2015
Reactive Monitoring
Arab States
Asia & Pacific
Latin America and the Caribbean
Europe and North America
Become a Partner
What Partners Do
Our Partners
All our activities
World Heritage Review
Resource Manuals
World Heritage wall map
More publications ...
World Heritage Fund
International Assistance
Site Map
Become a member
Donate Now!
Stay connected
© UNESCO World Heritage Centre 1992-2021
United Nations
News & EventsThe ListAbout World HeritageActivitiesPublicationsPartnershipsResources