Visiting Tunis

Inside info

The Tunisian capital combines a modern, European-style city with a vibrant, atmospheric medina listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The main entrance to the medina is via a magnificent arched gateway known as the Bab el Bahr (or Porte de France) on Place de la Victoire. To the right stands the handsome green and white front of the British Embassy.The main road through the medina, rue Djamaa Ez-Zitouna, is often crowded with tourists. However, more authentic souks can be found in the array of surrounding alleys. Originally, each souk specialised in a single trade and this is more or less still the case today. The 13th-century Souk el Attarine (the perfumers’ market) is among the oldest, which still sells joss sticks and essential oils. Visit the Sidi Bou Saïd Village and get ready to haggle!The Zitouna Mosque (Great Mosque) – the largest in Tunisia – is the major landmark in the city if you get lost. It is the only mosque in the city which can be visited by non-Muslims. Although its access is restricted to a viewing enclosure looking over a polished marble courtyard, it remains an enlightening visit.The National Bardo Museum is a major tourist attraction that we recommend. It hosts one of the world's greatest collections of Roman mosaics. Situated in a former palace where Tunisia’s rulers used to live in the 18th and 19th centuries, the museum exhibits archaeological treasures from the Carthaginian, Roman, early Christian and Islamic eras. The Roman section is especially rich with mosaics covering entire floors and walls, many of them almost completely intact. Common themes include hunting and farming scenes, Greek and Roman gods, sea battles and family life.

Travel review

I’ve just come back from Tunis with 2 friends. It wasn’t the 1st time I visited Tunisia. I’m quite used to sunbathing in Djerba, but I wanted to visit the capital for a change. Even though the weather was sometimes rainy, I enjoyed the trip a lot. People are always very welcoming. They gladly lead you to the ‘must-see’ spots of the city. And even if Tunis can sometimes be bustling in the evening, it remains wonderful to discover.Souks are just amazing. Prices are very cheap and if you are eager to communicate, you can even make friends there. Keep in mind that haggling is a national sport in Tunisia. So, when buying something, divide the given price by 2, and then negotiate a bit more.We stayed at the excellent “One Resort Monastir”. We all agreed that visiting Tunis by ourselves was very different than going to an all-inclusive club. We easily got to discover, for a reasonable price, the characteristics of the city that we would never have discovered with a club. Meeting locals in a bar, in a restaurant, or on the street was a real pleasure.”

Did you know ?

37% of the Tunisian GDP is invested in education, making its education system the 11th worldwide in terms of quality.

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