Tunis: an Arabian, European, and Mediterranean city


The climate here is Mediterranean, ranging from 12 to 26 degrees Celsius. The capital of Tunisia maintains the typical elements as all the other cities in the Maghreb region: there are countless mosques and a medina, its labyrinth maze of narrow streets is full of small businesses. Except for the Great Mosque that is almost a hundred years old, as the entire region is influenced by the Arabian culture, an inheritance of the period from the XII to the XVI centuries, when Tunis was one of the largest and most prosperous cities in the Moslem world.

The city also inherited many elements from the French colonial period, such as buildings featuring forged iron balconies and wide and tree-lined avenues. These two regions are divided by the Bab el Bahr (the French Port), considered as one of the main symbols of the capital next to another typical building from that period: Saint Vincent de Paul Cathedral. However, the most interesting tourist attractions are far away from downtown, such as the Carthage ruins, considered as a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1979, and the Bardo Museum exhibiting a collection of mosaics and statues dating back to the Roman Empire epoch.

Among the other attractions are the Café M’Rabet and its delicious spearmint tea; the Belvedere park is the largest in the capital including the Modern Art Museum and the municipal zoo, as well as various hammams (public baths) around the city. The cafes on Habib Bourguiba Avenue are full of palm trees that will complete the list of available outings. The local gastronomy is greatly influence by the Mediterranean, as it is full of condiments, yet not spicy. It is possible to eat quality food in sophisticated restaurants as well as at street food stands.

Tunisian authentic products can be purchased at diverse souks, which are traditional Arabic markets spread around the city. The Souk de La Laine, in Greater Medina, reunites the main weavers from the region. The Souk des Chechias, on the other hand is specialized in producing traditional Tunisian wool hats. And the Souk des Orfevres, located near the Great Mosque, features a large variety of golden products.