Tunisia is the smallest nation in North Africa, and its culture and identity are rooted in this centuries-long intersection of different cultures and ethnicities. It is a focal point of the Mediterranean Sea, bordered by Algeria to the west and southwest, Libya to the southeast; covering 163,610 km2, with a population of 11 million. From early antiquity, Tunisia was inhabited by the indigenous Berbers. Phoenicians began to arrive in the 12th century BC, establishing several settlements, of which Carthage emerged as the most powerful by the 7th century BC. Carthage was defeated by the Romans in 146 BC, who occupied Tunisia for most of the next 800 years, introducing Christianity and leaving architectural legacies like the amphitheatre of El Jem. After several attempts starting in 647, Muslims conquered all of Tunisia by 697, bringing Islam and Arab culture to the local inhabitants. The Ottoman Empire established control in 1574 and held sway for over 300 years, until the French conquered Tunisia in 1881. Tunisia gained independence under the leadership of Habib Bourguiba, who declared the Tunisian Republic in 1957. In 2011, the Tunisian Revolution established one of the first democracies across the region.
Tunisia is a tourist destination with its warm climate and friendly people. Couple this with their awesome beaches, funky nightlife and it so fulfilling Sahara desert. Tunisia is loaded with a rich architectural and historical monuments, including eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites:
Medina of Tunis:
the ‘old city’ of Tunis, this place is rammed full of 700 monuments including palaces, souks, mosques, mausoleums, madrasas and fountains. when you get here make sure you don’t miss out on The Great Mosque, the Mosque of the Olive (Aghlabid Ez-Zitouna Mosque) and The Dar-al-Bey, or Bey’s Palace ; 3 great highlights.
Site of Carthage
15km north of Tunis you’ll find the ruins of Carthage. This is really one for the historians, with endless ruins to be snapped here. Highlights include the Antonin Roman Baths, the ampitheatre and the Presidential Palaca.
Amphitheatre of El Jem:
The 3rd biggest amphitheater known to man, so impressive that they filmed Russel Crowe’s Gladiator here. It can hold up to 35, 000 people which in 300AD was quite an achievement.
Ichkeul National Park:
Ichkeul Lake and the wetlands in the park are the last remaining freshwater lake and marshlands of what used to be a chain spanning across North Africa. Endless wildlife flocks here, including very cool pink flamingos but with Tunisia building dams everywhere.
Punic Town of Kerkouane and its Necropolis:
80km to the east of Tunis, Kerkouana is very accessible as a day trip from the capital. this is the last surviving Phoenicio-Punic settlement on the planet.
Medina of Sousse:
140km south of Tunis, Sousse is one of the original Islamic towns in Northern Africa. You can get lost in the labyrinthine backstreets, check out the Great Mosque, catacombs and Mosaic museum and when you’re all cultures out, hit their amazing beaches
The city’s main landmark is the Great Mosque of Sidi-Uqba (also known as the Great Mosque of Kairouan) which is one of the most impressive and largest Islamic monuments in North Africa. The Aghlabid basins are located outside the ramparts of the medina, they are considered to be the most important hydraulic systems in the history of the Muslim world.
Dougga / Thugga:
This northern Tunisan town is known as one of the best reserved Roman towns in all of Africa. Dougga’s size, its well-preserved monuments and its rich Numidian-Berber, Punic, ancient Roman and Byzantine history make it exceptional. Amongst the most famous monuments at the site are a Libyco-Punic Mausoleum, the Capitol, the Roman theatre, and the temples of Saturn and of Juno Caelestis