Country profile

About Tunisia

Tunisia is situated on the Mediterranean coast of North Africa bordering Algeria to the West and Libya to the South East and boasts 700 miles of golden sandy beaches, the mysterious Sahara desert (which covers nearly half the country) and a fascinating ancient history. With its strategic position as a bridge between Europe and Africa, Tunisia is no stranger to turbulent times, with the Phoenicians, Romans, Ottomans, Spanish and French all occupying the country at one time or other.

So it is no surprise that Tunisia was at the forefront of the Arab Spring of 2011. However, unlike many countries in the region, including neighbouring Libya, Tunisia’s was a bloodless change, known as the Jasmine Revolution. Since then, it has been business as usual in Tunisia, welcoming tourists to its 3,000 years of history in an atmosphere of safety and security.

Tunisia is undeniably ancient, from the once great city of Carthage, to the countless Roman ruins, with over 26,000 listed historical sites, many immaculately preserved by the dry climate and the desert sands. The country’s stunning Roman theatres and circuses, streets and homes represent some of the finest examples of the period anywhere in the world. The different influences of the invading armies have all left their mark on Tunisia, from the remarkable architecture of spectacular Roman amphitheatres to the unique mix of herbs and spices in its exotic cuisine.

Two well known holiday resorts in Tunisia are Hammamet and Djerba. Hammamet is a sophisticated resort town with olive, orange and lemon groves, rows of cypress trees, a beautiful sandy beach and a 13th century Kasbah overlooking the Medina. Thalassotherapy is very popular in Tunisia so visitors can enjoy the medical and relaxing benefits of the healing spas in Hammamet with hot sea water and massage treatments or some water sports such as scuba diving in the clear blue sea.

White washed villages, the clear blue sky and a warm climate makes Djerba an intoxicating island resort off the south coast full of date palms and fields of figs, grapes, oranges and pomegranates. Must-sees include the Museum of Folklore and Popular Art with traditional costumes and jewellery and the historic fortress of Borj el-Kebir, a 15th century Arab citadel as well as browsing in the Houmt-Souk (the market centre) watching the African ‘Gougou’ dancers (a local tradition) in the Midoun and indulging in one the country’s most celebrated Couscous dishes.

Beyond the ancient cities, the timeless deserts are older still, and it can be a remarkably spiritual adventure to trek off into the vast rolling dunes on the back of a camel, just like traders and travelers have been doing for millennia. You can trek for days, camping in the traditional style, or just for an afternoon, to get a flavour of the old ways.

Even in the towns and cities, history and tradition are still all around, with the Medinas, Kasbahs and Souks much the same today as they’ve always been. Grab a bargain in rich textiles, intricate leather work and precious metals, and don’t forget to haggle for the best price because that’s half the fun. After your shopping trip, treat yourself to the finest of North African food, featuring richly spiced lamb and succulent fruits in exotic stews, accompanied by the signature dish of couscous. Then retire to a pavement café and watch the world go by as you enjoy a traditional shisha pipe or a coffee with the locals.

Welcoming strangers is a tradition in Tunisia, and there’s nothing they enjoy more than sharing their culture with visitors. So dive in and enjoy this heady mix and discover what has made Tunisia so popular for over 3,000 years.


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Quick facts

Population: 10.7 Million
Currency: Tunisian Dinar
Capital: Tunis
Languages: Tunisian Arabic, French
Religions: Muslim 98%