As we proceeded through the Immigration building, we were inundated with men trying to push flowers on us. If a lady took a flower, she was expected to pay for it. I had read about this pushy practice so my husband stood near me and I kept my hands occupied with my passport, etc. If it had been more welcoming than unnerving, I would have gladly accepted and paid for one. Instead of a friendly welcoming gesture, it's a very uninviting way to start the tour.They truly do swarm you so be forewarned.
We boarded our tour bus for the ride to Carthage. On the way, we were told that the pictures seen throughout the city were of their President. While he was over 60, the pictures of him were of a young man. I guess when you are a "president", you get to stay young on your propaganda. Just sayin'.
The sites were so different. It was very exciting to be in Tunisia!
Interestingly, we learned that most of the schools are public and is compulsory until age 16. Most widely spoken is a Tunisian Arabic dialect. French is their second language. English is their third language and is taught beginning in 7th Grade. This made me regret (yet again) not being able to speak another language.
At Carthage's peak, this port would have held 200 ships.
The palace of President Zine el-Abidine Ben. (He has now fled the country.)
Our tour guide:
Punic Harbor, Port of Carthage:
After this brief stop to look at the harbor, we proceeded to Carthage:
It was quite surreal walking through this UNESCO World Heritage site that is thought to be 3,000 years old.This ancient city was founded by Phoenician colonists from Tyre (now Lebanon). Under Queen Dido's leadership, Carthage became a wealthy city with great power. During a lecture aboard the ship, Michael and I learned that the city was first destroyed in the Third Punic War in 146 B.C. During the Roman Empire, the city was rebuilt.
As a famous Roman Empire historic site, Carthage is mostly ruins. Yet, we could imagine the city as it was when Carthage dominated the seas with Carthaginians showing off their expert ship-building skills.
We had a few sprinkles of rain as we walked these 3,000 years old paths.