Kerkouane ruins from the 4th and 3rd centuries BC.
wide avenues in a checkered pattern, houses built around
an inside patio each equipped with a bathroom with a hip
Sidi Bou Said
Lake of Tunis
Music of Tunisia
Second Punic War.
|The reigns of the
century) and of the
Zirids (from 972), Berber followers of the
Fatimids, were especially prosperous. When the
Zirids angered the Fatimids in
Cairo (1050), the latter sent in the
Banu Hilal tribe to ravage Tunisia.
The coasts were held
briefly by the
Sicily in the 12th century. In
1159, Tunisia was conquered by the
Almohad caliphs. They were succeeded by the Berber
Hafsids (c.1230–1574), under whom Tunisia prospered.
In the late 16th Century the coast became a
pirate stronghold (see:
Barbary States). In the last years of the Hafsids,
Spain seized many of the coastal cities, but these
were recovered by the
Ottoman Empire. Under its
Turkish governors, the
Beys, Tunisia attained virtual independence. The
Hussein dynasty of Beys, established in 1705, lasted
until 1957. Tunisia was formally made a French
protectorate on May 12, 1881.
Dar Cherait Museum
Bardo National Museum
Zine El Abidine Ben Ali
Zine El Abidine Ben Ali
Islam in Tunisia
Nearly all Tunisians (99% of the population) are Muslim.
of population have come through conquest by the
Jews also arrived at the end of the 15th century.
Tunisia combines the enticement of
stunning Islamic architecture, historic archaeological sites and
colorful marketplaces, with miles of idyllic beaches. Here you
can enjoy over 700 miles of sandy beaches,
conservation parks, botanical gardens, acres of golf courses, water
parks, scuba diving, historic souks, stress relieving spas and the
northeast threshold of the Sahara desert.
Tunisia is considered the safest and richest in architectural heritage
among Arab and African nations. Through three millennia it has served as
an oasis from the wicked waves which have buffeted Africa and the Middle
East. Images of the god of the sea, Poseidon, or Neptune as the Romans
called him, still remain powerfully present in this nation which ruled
much of the Mediterranean prior to the rise of the Roman empire.
|No visa is required for
Americans, Canadians, EU and some other European citizens. A
visa on arrival is available for Australians. New Zealanders
must obtain a visa prior to arrival.
- Carthage International
- Habib Bourguiba
- Ksar International
- Nefta Int´l Airport,
- 7 Novembre Int´l Airport,
- Thyna International
- Zarzis International
Tunisia's main international
airport for scheduled flights is Carthage International
Airport (TUN) near
Its second airport is Monastir (MIR) which is served by low cost
charter flights from all over Europe. Monastir is nearer to most
of the holiday destinations. Inexpensive charter flights from
the UK, the hub for the most low cost airlines are available at
sites like www.flightstunisia.com and www.lastminute.com
leave from the airport or book ahead.
| In recent years, Tunisia
has taken a moderate, non-aligned stance in its foreign
relations. Domestically, it has sought to diffuse rising
pressure for a more open political society.
Malta and Tunisia are discussing the commercial exploitation of
the continental shelf between their countries, particularly for
Country Name: Tunisian Republic
Independence Day: March 20, 1956 (from
Government Type: Republic
Total Area: 163,610 sq. km (slightly
larger than Georgia)
Coastline: 1,148 km
Climate: Temperate in the north with
mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers; desert in the
Terrain: Mountains in the north; hot dry central plain;
semiarid south merges into the Sahara
Land Use: Arable land: 17.86%;
Permanent crops: 13.74%; other: 68.4%
temperate in north with mild, rainy winters and hot, dry
summers; desert in south
Language: Arabic (official and one of the languages of
commerce), French (commerce)
Calling Codes: IDD
International Prefix: 00
NDD National Prefix: 0
Country Code: +216
Electric Currents: Voltage: 230V
Frequency: 50 Hz Plug: C & E
Time Zone: GMT+1
(July 2006 est.)
Median age: 26.8 years
Languages: Arabic (official and one of
the languages of commerce), French (commerce)
Literacy for Total Population: 74.2%
Literacy for Males: 84%
Literacy for Females: 64.4%
Religion: Muslim 98%, Christian 1%,
Life Expectancy: 74.66
Infant Mortality: 25.76
Currency: Tunisian Dinar (TD)
GDP: $68.23 billion
GDP (Per Capita): $6,900
Labor Force by Occupation: services
55%; industry 23%; agriculture 22%
Industries: petroleum, mining
(particularly phosphate and iron ore), tourism,
textiles, footwear, agribusiness, beverages
Exports: textiles, mechanical goods,
phosphates and chemicals, agricultural products,
Imports: textiles, machinery and
equipment, hydrocarbons, chemicals, food
Sousse is Tunisia's third-largest city
with a modern resort built around an 8th century epicenter (a
fortified monastery and the Great Mosque). It's one of the
country's most popular beach destinations, retaining a strong
North African tradition, but with many western touches,
including a casino, fine French restaurants and a beachfront
is noted for
its beaches and hotels, Sousse is also famous for the wealth of its
archeological treasures in both Islamic and Punic/Roman Museums. The
beach strip closest to the centre of Sousse is used by
Tunisians, it's easy to connect with the easygoing people here
if you speak French.
From the 10th century B.C.
onwards the Phoenicians, Byzantines, Arabs and Romans discovered the
delights of this fertile spot, dubbed 'the pearl of the Sahel' in
ancient times, and today the mild climate, beautiful Mediterranean
shoreline and warm people work their magic on holidaymakers from Europe.
Sousse is also favoured by Tunisians themselves as a get-away
destination, and the friendly natives enjoy mingling with the visitors
on the sandy beaches and busy promenade.
The proliferation of modern
resort hotels along the beachfront has not detracted from the charms of
the inner city, and Sousse is still regarded as having probably the
finest (though not the largest) old city, or Medina, in Tunisia. A
warren of narrow covered alleyways nestling below the Ribat, or fort,
hide hundreds of colourful shops selling a myriad of local goods from
carpets and porcelain to leather bags and olive oil. Outside the Medina
there is also a vast modern shopping complex. Sousse is not all just
shopping and beach bathing, however. The town's museum, situated in the
old castle or kasbah, is renowned for its collection of mosaics, masks,
statues and other relics of the Roman occupation. There are also several
miles of well-preserved ancient Christian catacombs and marble tombs in
the town. Sousse offers its many package-tour visitors all the
facilities and surroundings of a relaxing seaside holiday, overlaid with
the undeniably foreign and exotic atmosphere of North Africa, all at
extremely affordable prices.
native portion of the town has hardly altered. It has a museum,
a garrison, an important harbour and many oil wells in the
Archaeological Museum located in the kasbah has what is
clearly Tunisia's second most important collection of mosaics;
second only to the Bardo museum in Tunis.
The exhibits are dominated by mosaics, but there are many other
objects too, like vases, masks, statues and whole burial tombs.
is a fortress dating from the eighth and ninth centuries. Once
can visit one of the most ancient prayer rooms in Africa.
festival (July-August), Mediterranean olive tree festival
(in Kalaa Debira, December), Sidi El Kantaoui festival (in
Hammam Sousse, July).
GETTING THERE: Sousse lies on
Tunisia's east coast, about two hours drive south of the
Port el Kantaoui
Port el Kantaoui
is Tunisia's version of Europe's Mediterranean marina resorts,
a chic, purpose-built resort,
catering to visitors seeking leisurely luxury in an enchanting setting.
The resort area enjoys a quiet yet sophisticated atmosphere
long stretches of perfect clean sandy beaches.
Up-market yachts, golf courses, exclusive restaurants and
On the SW shore of the Gulf of
Hammamet, backed by a fairly flat nondescript landscape of olive
groves and arable land. On the NE coast of Tunisia, 80 mls SE of
Tunis and its international airport. 5 mls N of Sousse. 25 mls
NW of Monastir airport.
Port el Kantaoui
comprises a narrow 2½-ml-long coastal strip on either side of a
compact resort, centered on a neat modern marina
which can accommodate more than 300 vessels.
The marina is surrounded by souvenir shops, stalls, assorted
waterfront cafes, restaurants and hotels all built in an
organized modern style. Radiating out from here is a succession
of ever more grandiose hotels, each new arrival trying to outdo
the last in grandeur and elegance. All this has been built since
Beaches: Two long
narrow stretches of white sand extend for over 2 mls in each
direction from the marina. Most hotels maintain their own
section and provide lifeguards and beach furniture. The sea is
said to be safe for children: clean enough for swimming and
without hazardous currents.
Postal code: 4089
Places To Stay: Mostly modern,
well-equipped 3- and 4-star hotels. Some self-catering
GETTING AROUND: Taxis rule for they
are inexpensive and generally available. Simple bus
service plies the length of the resort, with intermittent
connections to nearby Sousse. You can also enjoy
horse-drawn carriages and minitrains
|Roman Coliseum in El Jem
is located between the cities of Sousse and Sfax. Completed
between 230 and 238 AD to hold 30,000 spectators There was
an earlier one in this area as well which held 5,000 and then
8,000 after it was rebuilt. Today the area is mostly desert
which makes the monument appear as a mirage with its stark
grandeur. The Sahara desert is expanding, but during Roman times
, this was a rich agricultural region. In the summer
Festival of Symphonic Music is held here.
GETTING THERE: -205 km south-east of
Tunis, 63 km south of Sousse, 64 km north of Sfax.
Tunis and Carthage; Safari to Gabes and Matmata. Two days:
safari to Douz.
Monastir - Skanes
|The resort of Skanes, with its beautiful
and seemingly endless sandy beach, is a suburb of the Tunisian
Mediterranean port town of Monastir, particularly popular with British
holidaymakers. Monastir has happily given itself up totally as a tourist
Mecca, centred on a modern marina and a revamped Medina crammed with
souvenir shops and restaurants. Even its ancient Ribat (fort) has been
rebuilt and glamorised by being used as the setting for several movies
like Monty Python's Life of Brian, as well as Raiders of the
Lost Ark and a TV series about Jesus of Nazareth. The modern gilt on
Monastir may be a little false, but underneath this historic city
retains its ancient air of having been Tunisia's holiest place, and an
important strategic stronghold that was even once used as a base by
Julius Caesar. Just a few miles from the centre of Monastir lies the
extravagant stretch of grand hotels that have been built along the coast
in the area known as Skanes. These magnificent architectural delights
are set in acres of lush gardens, most of them encompassing their own
patch of well-maintained sandy beach. The Skanes hotels are well
connected to Monastir and other nearby resort towns, like Sousse, by a
tourist road train and a plethora of cheap taxis. Monastir also has the
advantage of having its own international airport. Parasols mushroom on
the beaches in between watersports equipment stands and local vendors
parading with a variety of wares, particularly pottery.
a unique blend of western and North African cultures where you
can play golf, visit nearby vineyards or search for bargains in
the labyrinth of the souk. Hammamet is called "the Garden
Resort" and pride of the 'Tunisian Riviera' Located on the
beautiful Cap Bon Peninsula, it combines low-rise
beachfront hotels, whitewashed, bougainvillea-adorned buildings,
and scores of nightclubs, restaurants and colorful shops..
It has been Tunisia's main vacation destination since the 1920s
enjoying most of its development in the 1960's. Today you mainly
find it filled with those on middle-to-upper range package tours
from Europe, the streets abuzz with scantily clad holidaymakers
speaking Swedish, German, English and French.
The town's baths, famed since
Roman times, are also situated in the crowded medina,
over-shadowed by the medieval castle or kasbah.
The beaches stretch six miles
(10km) with palm-fringed shores amd beautiful clean sand.
The accent of colourful fishing boats will charm you.
There are many Moorish
style low-rise resort hotels, set in lush gardens,
offering visitors luxury accommodations here.
GETTING THERE: On the coastal motorway sandwiched between the
Mediterranean and the Sahara desert, 40 miles (64km) south of
|The north of the country is
mountainous, with a climate that is temperate with mild, rainy
winters and hot, dry summers. The south of the country is
dominated by the Sahara desert. Best
months to visit are : April, May, June, Sept, In Oct the weather
turns variable , and could be windy and wet. During the peak
months of July and Aug it gets hottest and most crowded with
tourists which does make the excellent beaches more interesting.
ruler of the sea, Zeus ruled the sky, and Hades got the
underworld. The other divinities attributed to Poseidon involve
the god of earthquakes and the god of horses.
Neptune) with trident in hand, drives a chariot drawn by two
Hippokampoi (fish-tailed horses) across the sea
Bardo Museum, Floor Mosaic
was pulled by a hippocampus or horses that could ride on the
sea. He was associated with dolphins and three-pronged fish
spears (tridents). He lived in a palace on the ocean floor, made
of coral and gems. Neptune was worshiped by the Romans primarily
as a horse god, Neptune Equester, patron of horse-racing.
culture, [1600 BC -1100 BC] Poseidon's importance was greater
than that of Zeus. At Pylos he is the chief god, if surviving
Linear B clay tablets can be trusted; the name PO-SE-DA-WO-NE
(Poseidon) occurs with greater frequency than does DI-U-JA
(Zeus). A feminine variant, PO-SE-DE-IA, is also found,
indicating the existence of a now-forgotten consort goddess.
Poseidon was a very moody divinity,
and his temperament could sometimes
result in violence. When he was in a
good mood, Poseidon created new
lands in the water and a calm sea.
Sailors prayed to Poseidon for a
safe voyage, sometimes drowning
horses as a sacrifice. In his benign
aspect, Poseidon created new islands
and offered calm seas. When offended
or ignored, he struck the ground
with his trident and caused chaotic
springs, earthquakes, drownings and
Poseidon was similar to his brother
Zeus in exerting his power on women
and in objectifying masculinity. He
had many love affairs and fathered
numerous children. Poseidon once
married a Nereid, Amphitrite, and
produced Triton who was half-human
and half-fish. He also impregnated
the Gorgon Medusa to conceive
Chrysaor and Pegasus, the flying
horse. The rape of Aethra by
Poseidon resulted in the birth of
Theseus; and he turned Caeneus into
a man, at her request, after raping
her. Another rape involved Amymone
when she tried to escape from a
satyr and Poseidon saved her. Other
offspring of Poseidon include:
Eumolpus, the Giant Sinis,
Polyphemus, Orion, King Amycus,
Proteus, Agenor and Belus from
Europa, Pelias, and the King of
One of the most
notorious love affairs of Poseidon
involves his sister, Demeter.
Poseidon pursued Demeter and to
avoid him she turned herself into a
mare. In his lust for her, Poseidon
transformed himself into a stallion
and captured her. Their procreation
resulted in a horse, Arion. Poseidon
is Greek for "Husband" (possibly of
wheat), and therefore it is thought
that he and Demeter (goddess of
wheat) are a good match because they
reign as the god and goddess of
|Some typical thalassotherapy
sea water bath of bubbles and mini jets
Application of a seaweed wrap over the whole body
Exercise in a sea water pool under the supervision of an
Relaxing and toning massages
the souk in the medina
you shall find
treasures like carpets, brass ornaments, jewelry, traditional
kaftans, pottery and leather goods. The narrow winding alleys
also conceal bright, whitewashed windowless houses behind
splendid ornate doors. However you must be prepared to bargain.
3 days of sailing from Monastir
to Sidi Bou Saïd followed by a 5-day period of land exploration
in North Tunisia