Carthage Harbour and Naval Base

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Carthage Harbour and Naval Base
Carthage Harbour.jpg
Artist impression of Carthage Harbour and Naval Base
AreaNaval Dock 60,000 m2
Mercantile Dock 100,000 m2
Site history
Built220-210 BC
Installation information
OccupantsCarthaginian Navy
Carthaginian Merchant Fleet

Carthage Harbour and Naval Base was a naval and merchant shipping facility constructed at Carthage sometime between 220-210 BC. It served as the the primary naval facility for the Carthaginian Navy and Carthaginian Merchant Fleet.


Aerial View of Carthage Harbour and the Naval in 1942

The harbour at Carthage was divided into an rectangular harbour that consisted of a square basin of 500 x 200 meters or 1640 ft x 656 ft used for merchants ships followed by by a circular inner protected harbor reserved for naval use only of approximately 300 x 300 meters or 984 ft x 984 ft.[1] This inner harbour was circular and surrounded by an outer ring of structures divided into a series of docking bays for ship maintenance, along with an island structure at its centre that also housed navy ships.[2] Each individual docking bay featured a raised slipway. Above the raised docking bays was a second level consisting of warehouses where oars and rigging were kept along with supplies such as wood and canvas.[3]

On the island structure there existed a raised 'cabin' where the admiral in command could observe the whole harbour along with the surrounding sea. Altogether the inner docking complex could house up to 220 ships.[4] The entire harbour was protected by an outer wall and the main entrance could be closed off with iron chains. Both ports were man made, about twenty meters deep, and they possibly date to 220-210 BC.[5] At the centre of the naval harbour was a tower structure known as the ‘the admiral’s island, of 140 meters in diameter the facilities included over 220 docks.[6]


  1. "Carthago (Tunisia) Roman ports". Maarssen, Netherlands.: Roman Ports. 22 May 2016. Retrieved 22 November 2019.
  2. Torr, Cecil (1891). "The Harbours of Carthage". The Classical Review. 5 (6): 280–284. doi:10.1017/s0009840x0016737x.
  3. Torr. pp.280–284.
  4. Torr. pp.280–284.
  5. Torr. pp.280–284.
  6. "Carthago (Tunisia) Roman ports". Maarssen, Netherlands.: Roman Ports. 22 May 2016. Retrieved 22 November 2019.