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After a day at sea, we arrived at La Goulette, Tunisia. Tunisia is a Muslim Arab country situated on the North African Mediterranean coast. It is the smallest country in North Africa but its strategic position has ensured it an eventful history. The Phoenicians, Romans, Vandals, Byzantines, Arabs, Ottomans and French have all picked at the region at one point. Forty percent of the country is composed of the Sahara desert, with much of the remainder consisting of particularly fertile soil, with easily accessible coasts. Both played a prominent role in ancient times, first with the famous Phoenician city of Carthage, and later as the Africa Province, it became known as the bread basket of the Roman Empire. Tunis is the capital of Tunisia and La Goulette is the gateway port for more touristy places. As we docked we were greeted with musicians and dancers, including two camels in full regalia.

We chose a tour to the ancient city of Carthage. It was founded in 800 BC by Phoenicians and built on a hill because it was easy to control access. Carthage was considered one of the most powerful and richest cities of the ancient world. It was here that Hannibal began his famous journey across the Alps.It was destroyed by the Romans during the third Punic war but they later returned and rebuild it. It wasn't until the arrival of the Arabs that Carthage came to its final end. The site retains its natural splendor, with lush vegetation and superb views over the gulf. It has been designated a world heritage site. We walked through the Antonine bath area with many photographic opportunities among the ruins. These public baths were the second largest in the Roman Empire. People would come and spend all day socializing and enjoying the waters. We then stopped at the remains of the 130 km long Roman aqueduct which brought water from the mountains and piped it to the city and baths.

Our next stop was the the pretty village of Sidi Bou Said. It is often described as an artist's paradise with blue and white stepped houses overlooking the Mediterranean. We strolled through the winding cobblestoned streets and visited the home of a wealthy Muslim family which is now a museum (Dar El Annabi Museum) depicting what their home life was like. There was time for some shopping and Barb bought a pair of Berber silver earrings, bargaining like a pro to get her asking price. So far they haven't turned her ears green!

To view more photos from Tunisia, please go to Tunisia Photo Gallery. To read about the next location visited, go to Valletta, Malta.




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