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City Guide : Tunis

Tunis is the place where Rome meets the Ottoman Empire, the camel meets the jeep, and the desert meets the Mediterranean. It offers the desert culture, French cafes spread out on the sidewalk, and Berber tents alltogether. The capital city Tunis, which one fourth of the country’s population reside, is the center of commerce, politics and banking. It is not an unusual part of life in Tunis to wake up under the stars on the sands of Sahara, after a night spent on the beaches of the Mediterranean. Tunisia is a country that combines the delights of both Africa and the Mediterranean. Being a small country does not make any difference in the wide array of opportunities that Tunisia offers. Visiting the wonders of the largest museum of mosaic, Bardo, visiting eight points in UNESCO’s List of Cultural World Heritage, getting lost in the dazzling bazaars, going on bike rides around the palm trees, watching the Mediterranean while drinking a cup of mint tea with pine nuts, swimming in the thermal waters of an oasis, and walking around in the legendary “Star Wars” movie sets…All are among what Tunisia offers.

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  • Tourist Attractions

    Habib Bourguiba Boulevard and the ancient city of “Medina” located at the end of the boulevard show the modern face of Tunis and its historical and traditional life respectively. Medina, the name of which means “the city surrounded by water” has important mosques and medrasas.

    The Habib Bourguiba Boulevard is a wide street that remains from the era of the French. It reminds one of the famous Champs Elysee Boulevard of Paris. This pleasant place of Tunisian afternoons, is filled with cafes, restaurants, high buildings, and starred hotels.

    Bab Bhar, also known as Port de France- the French Gate, is an ideal point to start your Medina trip. Before the French broke down the outer walls in order to build Place de la Victorie, this monumental arch was the eastern entrance to the old city. It is possible to go into Rue Jemaa Zitouna the street, and have a look at the National Library. Ez-Zitouna, the only mosque open to non-Muslims, and the traditional Turkish coffee house M’Rabet are also located there.

    Souq des Libraries from the 13th Century, the Bazaar of Booksellers, and the Dar Ben Abdallah Museum are located from Medina towards the south. Dar Ben Abdallah, which is a small palace from the 18th century, is open to visitors as the Museum of Ethography. The M’sed El-Kobba Museum that can be reached following the Rue Tourbet El-Bey, is the place where the Islamic scholar Ibn Khaldun received his religious education before going to Cairo. The famous scholar was also born in the house, no: 33, on the same street. 

    To the west side of Dar el-Bey, the Kasbah Square and the Kasbah Mosque that take the name of the castle of the city which was destroyed by the French in 1883 are located. You can reach Le Diwan, an 18th century mansion that offers unique Tunisian craftswork by taking a turn towards the north to Dar-el Jeld. Hamouda Pasha Mosque can also be seen following the narrow streets.

    The ruins of legendary Carthage, one of the magnificient cities of the ancient world which is associated with the legendary hero Hannibal, are located 10 kilometers from the capital city Tunis. The three thousand year old city belongs to     UNESCO’s list of World Heritage. Antonine Hamams, the excavation site on Byrsa Hill, the St. Louis Cathedral, villas housing tombs of Kings, Roman ports, Roman Theatres, and Tophet Holy Site are what remains from Carthage. Also, the Paleo Christian Museum, the Naval Museum and the Carthage Museum are also located here.

    The historical town of Sidi Bou Said near Carthage is a stunning example of the blue-white architecture that can be seen in many parts of the country. The narrow streets of the town dominate the Gulf of Tunis. Red geranium and pink begony hang from white walls and courtyards. The buildings are located around the Zaouia Mosque and Square in the name of the 13th century mystic Saint Sidi Bou Said. A festival is held for the name of the saint in August. The palace that Baron Rodolphe d’Erlanger had built for his wife Elizabeth at the beginning of the 19th century, is used as the Dar Nejma Ezzahra Arabic and Mediterranean Music Center. 

    Kairouan, the fourth holy city for the Islamic World following Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem, has hosted travellers, pilgrim, and extraordinary people from far lands throughout history, Its medina, surrounded by walls, is known for its Great Mosque, for which construction began in 688 and which is the largest one in North Africa. One of the most beautiful structures of the city, The Tomb of Sidi Sahab is also located there. Tunisians gather there to organize prayers or circumcision ceremonies for their newborns.
  • Culture & Entertainment

    The capital city houses the globally famous and glamorous museum called Bardo. Bardo, acclaimed as the largest museum of mosaic in the world, is famous for not only mosaics belonging to the Roman African villas but also the beauty of the 18th century palace of the Huseyinogullari Dynasty. Aside from the daily lives of the wealthy Romans, ways of living of genesis, Islam, Christianity and certain eras are also depicted by the 4700 square meters of mosaic in the museum. The mosaic, “Neptune the God of the Sea and the 56 Medallions, is housed the museum as well. The Portrait of the poet Virgilius, which is believed to be one of a kind, is also located there. At the same time, the museum houses an important collection of Islamic and prehistoric artifacts.

    The Sahara desert, home of one of the creators of the most interesting and extraordinary architectures-the Berbers, is a destination that you cannot miss in Tunis. Douz and Tozeur located at the northern border of Sahara, are starting points for safaris. Douz, also called “the Gate of the Desert” is also famous for, the oldest one of Tunisian festivals, the Sahara Festival. The festival takes place at the end of December. 

    As for Tozeur, it houses Dar Cherait which was the governor’s residence during the time of the Ottoman Empire. The palace has been transformed into a museum that depicts the Thousand and One Nights and various fairytale characters. The age-old train The Red Train (Le Train Lezard Rouge) which takes off from Metlaoui, 55 kilometers away from Tozeour, offers a pleasant touristic trip through the Selja Canyon, of 1 hour and 45 minutes on mondays, wednesdays, and thursdays. Rezervation is necessary. (+216 76 241 469)

    Although Tunis is so colorful as not to leave time to go swimming, its splendid Mediterranean beaches may attract your attention as well. The most beautiful beaches of Tunis are spread out to the city’s north and south sides. Hammamet, located in a gulf, gets the majority of country’s visitors during summer months. It used to be the place for Europe’s high society in the 1920s. People seeking a quieter place on the coast may prefer smaller settlements located around the Cap Bon Cape of Romans meaning “the Beautiful Peninsula.”

    The unforgettable film series of the cinema and entertainment world ,“the Star Wars”, was filmed in Matmata, in where you feel that you are in another planet with its moon-like topography and underground homes. Thousands of tourists visit Matmata to see any remaining parts of the movie set. Ksar Ghilane, which is very close there, is a place where the Oscar winning film “the English Patient” was shot. 
  • Food & Drink

    The Tunisian Cuisine has similarities to other countries in the Mediterranean region. Olive and olive oil, fish and seafood, lamb and mutton together with fresh vegetables are pillars of the cuisine. The Italian influence shows itself in the varieties of pasta. Coriander, cummin, black pepper, red pepper, and cinnamon are among the most frequently used spices. Both dry and fresh mint are kept close at all times.

    A typical Tunisian breakfast consists of bread with butter and jam, coffee with milk, olives, eggs, and yogurt. Cookies made with almonds and dates, and desserts are quite delicious. Their most famous hot beverage is the green tea with fresh mint. The tea is served, sprinkled with pine nuts.

    “Harissa” a soft and not very salty type of gravy made of red peppers is a primary ingredient in the Tunisian cuisine. Adulterated with olive oil, it is put on many dishes with couscous for starters. Like harissa, olives are among the most frequently used foods in Tunisia. They are not only used for breakfast in the country but also in dishes.

    Like olives, eggs are consumed frequently and in different ways. Aside from breakfast, “brique” which is hard-boiled eggs that it put in dishes and salads, has an important place in the country’s culture. Minced meat and a raw egg is put in the brique which looks like a pastry, and it is immediately fried. For a brique -which is served warm- to be tasty, the eggwhite needs to be solid and the yolk needs to be liquid. Brique is offered to the groom-to-be and his family when they visit the girl’s house. If the groom-to-be manages to eat the brique without spilling it, he is believed to be capable and given permission to marry the girl.

    Tunisians call dishes cooked in pots “tagine.” Tagine is actually the large and shallow pot that has a second section and a lid, that the dish is served in. The dish or couscous is put in this ceramic container, placed in the tagine, and served. Tagine can be a saucy or dry dish. Tunisians eat it especially for lunch.

    Kabob, patties, and barbecued vegetables are often consumed as well. Camel meat is widely eaten in the country, especially in some festivals. In times like those, feasts are organized with camel meat put in lidded casseroles and kept in soil. Vegetables are eaten with harissa or a mixed sauce of olive oil and vinegar. Vegetable dishes with olive oil, served both warm or cold, are often prepared as well.
  • Shopping

    Medinas house the most pleasant bazaars of the country, with their traditional structure. Firm bargaining is in order when shopping in those areas. You can find everything there from pictures on stained glass, birdcages, and carpets to authentic jewellery. Also Berber earthenware pots which you can find in many Medinas in the country- although they are unique to the south part,- with their light brown and black motifs are very typical.

    In the medina of the capital city Tunis, there is a section of perfumers, antique stores, fez stores, and stores for footwear. A remainder of the Ottoman Era, Souq el-Berka which you can find going towards the north, used to be a slave market. Pirates used to bring their slaves to this market to sell them. The Jeweller’s Market is located at the spot today. The Blacksmith Market is located on Rue des Forgerons, while Rue Jemaa Zitouna houses souvenir shops that offer various items such as ceramics, jewellery, copper items, and stuffed toy camels for starters.

    The headwear of men, made from red felt, are made in Souq des Chechias. The making of these items, used to be one of the major industries in the 17th century Tunisia. These items also known as fez are called “chechia” in the country. Approximately 15 thousand craftsmen used to make a billion chechias a year and they would be exported around the world.

    There are more than 100 types of dates in the country. The month of October when the important export item, dates, are picked is very festive. Eating and buying lots of dates is among the best memories of Tunisia.

    The Desert Rose is a beauty of Tunis. The flower-like crystal formation that is made possible by the coming together of subterranean waters with calcium fosfate, under the sand is for sale throughout the country. The ones with natural colors should be preferred.
Route Map: Houston – Tunis Flight

Ticket Sales Offices : Tunis

TUNUSIA
Address COMPLEXE HOTEL EL MECHTEL BLOC CTKD BLVD.OULED HAFFOUZ 1ER ETAGE 1005 TUNISIA
Phone (216 71) 787 033-786 473-796 632
Fax 216 71 797 680
Telex TUNKZTK-TUNTZTK
E-Mail turkish.airlines@planet.tn
turkisairlinesmanager@planet.tn
turkishairlines.airport@planet.tn
Work Hours

Weekdays 08:30-17:00

Saturday 09:00-12:00

TK
Address AEROPORT TUNIS CARTHAGE 1 ER ETAGE TUNIS
Phone 216 71 753 439
Fax 216 71 752 966
Telex
E-Mail
Work Hours

Weekdays 08:30-16:00

Saturday 09:00-14:00

Sunday 09:00-14:00

AIRPORT
Address AEROPORT TUNIS CARTHAGE 1 ER ETAGE TUNIS
Phone (216 71)755 000 x:33536 -754 000 x:33536
Fax
Telex
E-Mail
Work Hours  
TRANSPORT WORLD SERVICES
Address Rue 8603-impasse n1 ZI.Charguia I-2035 Tunis Tunusia
Phone +216 71 20 65 55
Fax
Telex
E-Mail tuncargo@thy.com
Work Hours  
  • Tunis : Airport Information

    Carthage Airport

    Address : General Direction and Social Head Office, Tunis Carthage International Airport, Tunisia, PO Box 137, 1080 Tunis Cedex
    Phone : +216 71 754000
  • Tunis : Airport Map Information

Tunis Hotels
Tunis Info
Saturday
GMT
  • Sat 34°C
  • Sun 36°C
  • Mon 37°C
Aug Sep Oct Nov
34°C 30°C 27°C 21°C
22°C 20°C 17°C 12°C
All for the Year Monthly Averages
Area : 212 km²
Population : 693.486
Monetary Unit : Tunisian dinar
Phone Code : +00 216
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