Carthage St. Louis Cathedral on the Byrsa hil
The Pheonician and Punic periods from the C6th BC it was the base of a powerful trading empire spanning the entire south Mediterranean and home to a population of the order of half a million people. Its most famous general was Hannibal who crossed the Alps to battle with the Romans. Hannibal suffered his first significant defeat at the Battle of Zama in 202 BC, which ended the 2nd Punic War. After over 50 years of being watched closely by Rome, they were eventually attacked in the 3rd Punic War. The citizens defended the city against the Republic of Rome in 146BC yet lost, and Punic Carthage was completely destroyed by the order of the Senate. The site was redeveloped by the Romans a century later and Carthage became the capital of the Roman province of Africa. The city is a UNESCO World Heritage List site.
The Byrsa Hill at the rear of the area dominates both the ocean gulf and the lake and plain of Tunis inland to the west, and is therefore the most strategic point.
Today the district is very affluent, with elite schools, wealthy residents, relatively numerous police, a large number of archaeological sites and museums and the President’s own seaside residence.