“It is necessary to save Carthage”: this is the call that was launched in 1972 René Maheu, the director of Unesco, before the situation of abandonment of the ruins millennia of Tunisia. The site had been graded in the aftermath of world heritage. Twenty years later, Carthage is still to save: the city is gradually chewed up by illegal constructions. The news of 26 November on France 2 devoted a story.
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Former home of the punic civilisation, razed and then rebuilt by Rome, Carthage was the capital of the province of africa. The city of 17,000 inhabitants has always remains exceptional: forum, basilicas, theatre, villas, baths,… A jewel of a roman extending over a protected area of 200 hectares.
At the top of the cisterns of Malga, an impressive development in the hydraulic extension of a water system, luxurious villas have been built. The building with columns, is still a mystery to historians, located in the heart of the site, is bordered by modern developments.
Abdelmajid Ennabli is distraught. He has been the curator of the archaeological site of Carthage for twenty years, between 1972 and 1992, when Unesco decided to classify and save this treasure of Antiquity. The circus spectacular with 470 meters long, requires excavation of large areas. Constructs wild prevent. “It is a monument that disappears completely because of it,” laments the archaeologist on France 2.
“bandits” and the neglect of the State
“These are bandits, they do not respect the law,” storm the deputy mayor of Carthage. The town council has made the fight against illegal construction as one of its priorities. In seven years, she has ordered the destruction of about forty houses.
La Presse de Tunisie , in an article published on September 20, does not have to bare the effectiveness of the State: “The regulatory authorities are still struggling to put in execution the decrees of demolition, and is found most often in the face of the pressures the occult to turn back and not resist.” About the roman circus, the daily claims that there has been a “no-execution of two decrees of demolition of buildings in the construction phase”.
to The warning of Unesco
Since 2012, Unesco says be again concerned about the situation of Carthage, not hesitating to acknowledge, also, the public authorities of negligence in their management of the site. In a report published in July 2018, the world heritage Committee, which follows the evolution of the listed sites, invites the State to clarify the boundaries of the site, as well as to establish a “buffer zone” in order to respect its integrity.
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December 1, 2019, Tunisia will have to make a report on the state of conservation of the site. An ultimatum should reassure “Friends of Carthage”, an association that accuses the city council of turning a deaf ear. “We don’t get desperate for a wake up healthy”, they write on their page Facebook.