Tunis is a city of contrasts. The deep and varied history of Tunisia’s bustling modern capital is written into its fascinating architecture, which mixes Arab, Roman and European elements. With evocative ruins, gorgeous beaches and a lively fusion of cultures, Tunis is certain to captivate.
The long history of Tunis includes a period of early Islamic rule as well as later occupations by the Ottoman Empire and by the French. One of the region’s most dramatic moments came in ancient times, when it was home to Rome’s great imperial rival, Carthage. The Romans finally destroyed Carthage in 146 B.C. and they built their own expansive city in its stead.
Head to the former site of Carthage, now a northern suburb of Tunis, to explore the old city’s ruins. Make sure to visit the Bardo National Museum for a unique insight into Roman occupation as well as the history of Tunisia at large.
Tunis’s old town, which is known as the medina, is a charming reminder of the city’s Islamic heritage. Stroll the narrow streets of this famed historic district. Stop at souks and admire the many grand palaces and mosques. Check out the handicrafts, perfumes and fabrics on offer, or sit at a café to recharge with some coffee or mint tea.
The medina is home to a number of architectural wonders, including the Tourbet Aziza-Othmana (Aziza-Othmana Mausoleum) and Dar El Bey (Government Palace). Head down the Rue Jamaa Ezzitouna, however, and you’ll be rewarded by the site of Tunis’s Great Mosque, a grand structure that is more than a millennium old. Visitors who are not Muslims are allowed access to the courtyard and a viewing gallery nearby the entrance.
A vastly different urban style dominates the Ville Nouvelle, a French colonial district that was built around the old town. Here you will see straight, wide boulevards lined with trees and European-style cafés.
Just a short drive out of the city, you will find Carthage Beach, a fine spot for water skiing, surfing, paragliding and scuba diving. La Marsa is the place to go for camel rides as well as swimming and sunbathing.
Tunis can be reached by landing at the nearby Tunis-Carthage Airport. The city is navigable by public transport, by rental car or by taxicab.
Cafés, Culture and Historical Buildings
Enjoy a one day tour to Morocco from Spain with an introduction of the legendary Tangier. Tangier is only 45 mn ferry cross from Tarifa. This organized group tour to this enticing Mediterranean port city is a great introduction to a history of over 3000 years.