Facts and Data

Official Unesco Page

Basis Data:
Unesco World heritage since: 1985
Size of heritage:

Longitude: 11,099°
Latitude: 36,946°


This Phoenician city was probably abandoned during the First Punic War (c. 250 B.C.) and as a result was not rebuilt by the Romans. The remains constitute the only example of a Phoenicio-Punic city to have survived. The houses were built to a standard plan in accordance with a sophisticated notion of town planning.

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The Punic Town of Kerkuane and its Necropolis, located in the Gouvernorat de Nabeul, Tunisia, is a UNESCO World Heritage site that offers a fascinating glimpse into the ancient Punic civilization. This archaeological site, dating back to the 6th century BC, provides valuable insights into the history, culture, and architecture of the Punic people.


The Punic Town of Kerkuane was founded by the Phoenicians, a seafaring civilization from the eastern Mediterranean, who established colonies along the North African coast. The town flourished as a major trading center due to its strategic location and proximity to important trade routes. During the 3rd century BC, the town was conquered by the Romans, who incorporated it into their empire. However, in the 2nd century BC, the town was mysteriously abandoned, possibly due to a combination of economic decline and political instability.

Archaeological Significance

The Punic Town of Kerkuane is of immense archaeological significance as it is one of the few remaining examples of a Punic settlement that has been preserved in its original state. The site provides a unique opportunity to study the urban planning, architecture, and daily life of the Punic people. The town is characterized by its well-preserved houses, streets, and public buildings. The houses, constructed using local stone, feature courtyards, multiple rooms, and even some two-story structures. The streets are narrow and winding, reflecting the urban planning of the time. The necropolis, located on the outskirts of the town, is another important aspect of the site. It consists of numerous tombs, some of which are elaborately decorated with frescoes and carvings. These tombs provide insights into Punic burial practices and beliefs.

Current State

The Punic Town of Kerkuane and its Necropolis have been remarkably well-preserved over the centuries, thanks to their abandonment and subsequent burial under sand. The site was rediscovered in 1942 and has since undergone extensive excavation and restoration work. Today, visitors can explore the site and marvel at the well-preserved ruins. The town's layout, with its narrow streets and intact houses, offers a vivid picture of Punic urban life. The necropolis, with its tombs and funerary art, provides a glimpse into Punic burial customs. Efforts have been made to protect and conserve the site, including the construction of protective structures and ongoing monitoring. The site is also supported by visitor facilities, such as a visitor center and guided tours, to enhance the visitor experience and promote understanding of the Punic civilization. The Punic Town of Kerkuane and its Necropolis, with its exceptional state of preservation and archaeological significance, is a testament to the rich history and cultural heritage of the Punic people. It serves as a valuable resource for researchers, historians, and visitors alike, offering a unique opportunity to explore and appreciate the ancient world.