Phoenician Ruins

If you’re looking to explore Phoenician ruins and want to find the best places to view Phoenician history then you can explore our interactive map above or navigate further by using the links below.

There’s a great selection of Phoenician ruins and you can plan some fantastic things to see on your trips. Once you’ve explored the list of Phoenician remains and selected those you wish to visit you can use our itinerary planner tool to plan your trip and then print off a free pocket guidebook. This indispensible holiday guide will help you make the most of your time exploring these sites.

Our database of historic places is growing all the time, but we may not cover them all. Remember, if you know of other  Phoenician ruins, sites or remains, you can always add them to Trip Historic now by visiting our upload page.

The Phoenicians: Site Index

Photo by isawnyu (cc)

Baalbek

Founded by the Phoenicians and dedicated to the worship of the deity of the sun, Baal, Baalbek is home to the largest ever Roman temple and a range of other magnificent ancient structures.

DID YOU KNOW?

Baalbek is a hugely impressive Roman site in Lebanon which is home to the largest Roman temple ever built, as well as a range of other magnificent ancient structures.

Initially a Phoenician settlement dedicated to the worship of the deity of the sun, Baal, the city was known as Heliopolis (City of the Sun) by the Greeks in the 4th century BC.

However, it was during Roman times that Baalbek reached its peak, becoming a Roman colony in 47BC under Julius Caesar. Over the next two centuries, the Romans would imbue Baalbek with the empire’s largest holy temples. By 150AD, it would be home to the vast temples of Jupiter, Venus and Bacchus.

Today, visitors to Baalbek can see the impressive ruins of these incredible structures including standing in the shadow of six of the original 54 columns of the Temple of Jupiter - the largest temple ever built by the Empire. Baalbek is also the place to see the extremely well-preserved Temple of Bacchus, the stairs of the Temple of Mercury and a ceremonial entryway known as the propylaea.

There is also evidence of Baalbek’s time beyond the Romans. For example, the ruins of the Roman Temple of Venus show how it was incorporated into a Byzantine church. This and other sites tell of the time of the Byzantine Emperor Theodosius, who destroyed many of the Roman holy sites in favour of churches and basilicas. Visitors can also see the remnants of a large 8th century mosque from the Arab conquest.

Baalbek is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Byblos

Once a a Phoenician trading hub called Gublu, Byblos is one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited cities, as attested by the incredibly diverse ages of its ruins.

DID YOU KNOW?

Byblos (Jbail) in Lebanon is one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited cities, as attested by the incredibly diverse ages of its ruins. Thought to have first inhabited sometime around the fifth millennium BC, Byblos began as a Neolithic village of fisherman.

Over time, Byblos would, amongst other things, become a Phoenician trading hub called Gublu, be taken by Alexander the Great in 333BC, be ruled by the Greeks (this as when it acquired its current name) and then fall to Pompey, becoming a Roman city in the 1st century BC. Byblos began to decline under the Byzantines, who took it in 399AD.

Today, Byblos bears the marks of all of these civilisations. Stone Age, Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age dwelling sit side by side with a royal Phoenician necropolis and Roman sites such as a theatre, a road and nympheum. There is also a 12th century Crusader Castle, a reminder of when Byblos was conquered in 1104.

In addition to its fascinating ruins, Byblos is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site for its contribution to modern language. In particular, Byblos is connected with the Phoenicians' development of the predecessor of our alphabet. There’s plenty to see at Byblos, some in its main archaeological site, other elements dotted around its medieval town centre.

Photo by aymen hs (cc)

Carthage

Among the most famous of all Phoenician ruins, Carthage was the most powerful city of the ancient world. Today, the ruins of ancient Carthage can be found on the outskirts of modern day Tunis.

DID YOU KNOW?

Carthage was one of the most powerful cities of the ancient world and spawned the powerful Carthaginian Empire which dominated much of the western Mediterranean. The ruins of this famed city can be found on the outskirts of modern day Tunis.

Carthage itself was central to the history of the ancient world. Legend states that the city was founded by the Phoenician Queen Dido in the 9th Century BC and the ancient metropolis certainly rose to prominence over the next 500 years.

However, three long and brutal wars with Rome, known as the Punic Wars, eventually led to the downfall and destruction of Carthage in 146BC. It is said the Romans salted the earth so nothing more could live on the site of the once-dominant city.

Having destroyed the Carthaginian Empire however, the Romans later realised the potential in the strategic location of the site. In the 1st Century AD they re-founded Carthage and it grew to become one of the most important cities of the Roman Empire.

As Rome’s power waned, Carthage was briefly captured by the Vandals in the 5th Century AD before Byzantine forces re-took the city. In 698AD, after many years of hard fighting, the city was finally captured by the forces of the Umayyad Caliphate who founded the new city of Tunis nearby, leaving the ancient metropolis to fade away.

Time has significantly taken its toll on the site and little remains of ancient Carthage today and much of what remains is spread over quite a broad area. The best way to begin exploring these ruins is probably by visiting Byrsa Hill and the Carthage Museum. The museum hosts a collection of Carthaginian (Punic) and Roman artifacts including marble sarcophagi and a model of Punic Carthage.

Other key points of interest include the impressive Antonine Baths, the Roman Amphitheater, Roman villas and reconstructed Roman theatre of Carthage. Among the best preserved Punic remains are the Magon Quarter, Punic Port and unnerving Sanctuary of Tophet.

You can explore all the sites of Carthage on our Carthage Sites Map feature and Carthage also features as one of our Top 10 Tourist Attractions in Tunisia.

Photo by NH53 (cc)

Leptis Magna

An important Phoenician city, Leptis Magna was later conquered by the Romans and is now an impressive archaeological site near Tripoli.

DID YOU KNOW?

Leptis Magna (Lepcis Magna) is an incredibly well preserved archaeological site in Tripoli, Libya. Originally founded by the Phoenicians as the port of Lpgy in the first millennium BC, Leptis Magna later became part of the Carthaginian Empire and was then incorporated into the Roman Empire in 46 BC.

Most of the remaining structures now found at the site of Leptis Magna are indeed Roman and originate from the reign of Septimius Severus. Emperor of Rome from 193 AD, Severus was born in Leptis Magna and, as such, he invested heavily in developing his home city, transforming it into one of the most important of Africa’s Roman cities. Leptis Magna became a beautiful place and a marvel of Severan planning.

Among the many remains found in Severus' home city, the marketplace, Severan Basilica, the Forum, the Amphitheatre and the Severan Arch represent some of the best preserved Roman sites in the Mediterranean. These sites remain visible at the site despite the various invasions that befell Leptis Magna from the fourth century onwards, finally falling to the Hilalians in the eleventh century. Today, Leptis Magna is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Check the official advice of your country’s foreign office before considering travelling to Libya.

Nora Archaeological Site

The Nora Archaeological Site in Sardinia houses ancient Roman and Phoenician ruins.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Nora Archaeological Site in Sardinia contains mostly Ancient Roman ruins, but was founded in at least the 8th century BC by the Phoenicians. Some Phoenician ruins can be seen, including a temple and some fortifications.

Prior to Phoenician settlement, Nora may have even previously been a nuraghi site (the people of Sardinia credited with building hundreds of defensive structures). Conquered at one time by the Carthaginians, Nora became a Roman settlement in the third century BC.

Amongst the finds at the Nora Archaeological Site are a Roman theatre, a series of mosaics, baths complexes and numerous other structures.

Tharros

Tharros, in Sardinia, was founded by the Phoenicians and contains mostly Roman ruins.

DID YOU KNOW?

Tharros is an archaeological site in Sardinia brimming with centuries of history.

Founded in the eighth century BC by the Phoenicians, Tharros would be inhabited by the Carthaginians and the Romans, leaving behind a series of ancient structures, especially its two standing Corinthian columns.

Among the other highlights of the ruins at Tharros are the remains of the Carthaginian tophet – a sacred space sometimes used for burials – as well as the remains of the thermal baths and the foundations of temples, houses and shops.

Later abandoned due to Saracen raids, Tharros is one of Sardinia’s best ancient sites.