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1. House of Cascades

2. In-situ mosaics

3. Dead man in Forum

4. Punic necropolis

5. From the museum


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Envy on Carthage
Utica was in Punic times a contender to power with the city of Carthage. Back then it was situated on the sea, serving about the same functions in the same region as Carthage. Utica had also the advantage of being at the outlet of the presently-named Medjerda River, Tunisia's sole river carrying water all through the year.

Utica, Tunisia

Utica was even older Phoenician colony than Carthage, founded around 1100 BCE, 300 years before Carthage.
The rivalry between the two cities resulted in the building of many grand monuments, always a little bit larger and beautiful than the rival's. The animosity concluded in the Punic Wars, where Utica sided with Rome, which weakened Carthage's position substantially, since this allowed the Romans a safe port not far from Carthage.
Rome didn't forget Utica's services, and following the fall of Carthage, it became capital of the Roman province of Africa. It kept its status until the 2nd century, when wheat production in the Tunisian mountains made the Medjerda River starting to silt up and Utica's port became useless. This forced the Romans to move all important functions to Carthage. Today, the Medjerda River has changed its river course some kilometres south, but it had its outlet near Utica two millenniums ago.
Today quite little is left, even the shore. Marooned, Utica now lies 15 km from the Mediterranean. Little of the Punic town remains, and the remains of the Roman town aren't very impressive either. Still, Utica is a must-see, being so central in North African history. For Punic artefacts, the museum is the best place to go looking.

By Tore Kjeilen