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Inspiring Tunisia

 

Tunisia is a North African country on the Mediterranean, east of Algeria and west of Libya, with around 11 million inhabitants.  It is a major tourist destination for Western and Eastern travellers, mostly known for its enchanting beaches and sunny climate.

The following list of key tourist attractions will definitely entice the reader to discover more of the country and explore the host of opportunities that Tunisia looks forward to unveiling to travellers eager for new enriching experiences.

TUNIS

The capital is home to more than 800.000 inhabitants (1.1 million in the metropolitan area). The well-preserved Medina (the old town on UNESCO’s World Heritage list) with its labyrinthine souks is the main attraction. It features old houses, buildings and palaces, numerous mosques including the Grand Mosque Al Zeytuna, Medersas (Islamic tuition centres) and the Turbet el Bey, resting place of rulers from Ali Pacha II in the 18th century.

Outside the Medina, the main point of interest is a former palace of the Beys (local rulers) turned into the Bardo National Museum housing archaeological and artistic treasures from all over the country. It includes the largest collection of Roman mosaics in the world.

Habib Bourguiba Avenue, the main thoroughfare, is lined with Art Nouveau/Art Deco buildings, including the Municipal Theater built in 1902, the Catholic Cathedral and the statue of Ibn Khaldoun, great thinker of the 14th century.

CARTHAGE

The main archaeological site of the country. It was founded in 814 B.C. by the Phoenician queen Elyssa (called Dido by the Roman poet Vergilius), who came from Tyr in present-day Lebanon. For many years, the city was the rival of Greece and the Roman Empire which finally defeated and conquered it in 146 B.C., thereafter becoming the capital of Roman and Christian Africa.

Other archaeological sites spread across Tunisia are Dougga, Utica, Thuburbo Majus, Bulla Regia, Oudna and Sbeïtla.

SIDI BOU SAÏD

Close to Carthage, a lovely village overlooking the Gulf of Tunis with typical houses painted blue and white. Not to be missed is the Palace of the British Rodolphe d’Erlanger who moved in in 1922. It also houses an interesting museum of musical instruments. Also worth a visit is the Dar El Annabi, a typical house built at the end of the 18th century.

 

BIZERTE

Northwest of Tunis on the Mediterranean, the old harbour is framed by white houses and old walls. Visit the Kasbah of the Medina and the Spanish Fort. A picturesque canal crosses the town and the narrow streets leading to the old port are lined with Moorish houses and souks. The centre keeps the look of an old colonial town with wide avenues.  It is the last place in the country left by the French in 1957 who kept a naval base until 1963.

TABARKA

Northwesternmost town on the Mediterranean 20 km from the Algerian border. It is famous for its fishing harbour, marina, Genuese Fort and the “Needles”, an unusual formation of pointed rocks.

AIN DRAHAM 

This mountain village 20 km from Tabarka lies at the heart of an area covering almost half the forests of the country. It has a totally different atmosphere from the rest of Tunisia.

 

CAPE BON AREA

A peninsula south of Tunis, with attractive villages such as El Haouaria, Kerkouane, Kelibia and Dar Chaabane.

NABEUL

4th largest city in Tunisia, capital of the pottery industry, famous for its souks in the Medina and long sandy beaches.

HAMMAMET

Most famous resort with great beaches and numerous hotels. Old Hammamet has an interesting Medina and an old fort. The modern part, called Yasmine, gathers most of the hotels and has a large marina and an amusement park.

SOUSSE

3rd largest city, visit the Kasbah and the Ribat (fort). The modern marina of Port El Kantaoui is 10 km north of town.

MONASTIR

Birthplace of Habib Bourguiba, first president of independent Tunisia, who rests in the family Mausoleum in the heart of town. The Ribat (fort) is the most impressive in the country. Also worth a visit: the Medina, the Grand Mosque and the marina.

MAHDIA

A small city that keeps its original traditions and is becoming a fashionable resort, mostly popular with Tunisians thanks to its great beaches. Visit the Medina, the Hadj Mustapha and Hadj Sliman Hamza mosques, the antique (Baliaa) and fishing harbours and the Black Gate (Bab Al Foutouh), not forgetting the ruins of the Palace El Kalem Bir Amir Ellah and the Fatimid fort El Borj.  Mahdia is considered as the Mother City of Cairo.

SFAX

2nd largest city after Tunis, interesting Medina surrounded by high walls, Grand and Sidi el Yes mosques.

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