Call for the defense of the Carthage - Sidi Bou Said cultural Site TUNISIE

Effort to rehabilitate ancient Carthage

Published on 4 February 2011

Author(s): Care2Petiotnsite/Jellal Abdelkafi and Abdelmajid Ennabli

Type:  Petition

Warnings issued by archaeologists and town planners state that numerous violations of this heritage have been committed by members of families in connection with the destitute regime

Ancient Carthage and the historical, traditional village of Sidi Bou Said, a cultural site par excellence, beautifully fitting within the landscapes of the Gulf of Tunis, are part and parcel of the Mediterranean peoples' memories.

Concerned by the future of this approximately 400-hectared site, at a time when urban expansion disrupted territories, the Ministry of Culture and the UNESCO Director General launched an international excavation plan in 1972, which made it possible to bring to light numerous vestiges and to understand better the urban history of the Punic and Roman eras. The discoveries were spectacular and, as a result, Carthage- Sidi Bou Said was listed by UNESCO as world heritage of humankind in 1979.

In 1985, the site was subjected to a listing procedure limiting the non aedificandi areas- that is not suitable for building on- by virtue of their "archeological, historical, aesthetic and natural interests".

This national and international judicial ratification has not prevented this site from being endangered today in 2011, failing the approval of the Protection and Development Plan finalized in 2000. Indeed, in spite of the concerns expressed by the UNESCO and the warnings issued by archaeologists and town planners, numerous violations of this heritage have been committed by members of families in connection with the destitute regime, namely:

  • the un-listing of a large area of the archaeological territory in order to build on it a real-estate complex to speculative ends, the " Residences of Carthage"
  • Special dispensation granted to build on non aedificandi areas
  • The appropriation of historical palaces and residences as well as of pieces from our heritage.

This is how individuals protected by the default regime had misappropriated State property for their sole benefit, with the consent of the administration, seriously damaging the patrimonial wealth of the country.

Through the national and international press that has already publicized these misappropriations of property, public opinion demands forthwith, and without any delay, enquiries, justice and compensations for the damages caused to the site.

The necessary administrative and judicial enquiries will allow the national committee in charge of cases of abuse of power, misappropriation of property and corruption, to make clear each individual responsibility in the matter and to initiate proceedings.

While these procedures are being on their way, we, the undersigned, call the Minister of Culture to take the following urgent measures:

  • The sequestration of misappropriated property
  • The suspension of all illegal building work taking place on the archaeological site of Carthage- Sidi Bou Said
  • The start of the procedure concerning the approval of the Protection and Development Plan of the Carthage- Sidi Bou Said Site.

Let all those men and women outraged by the misappropriation of State property. Let all those men and women who have their hearts set on transmitting this universal cultural heritage to future generations, insert their full names, positions and signatures on the present petition.

To sign the petition please go to the Care2Petitionsite

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