Tunis, Tunisia

By | November 14, 2021

According to abbreviationfinder, Tunis is the capital and the largest city of Tunisia. The metropolitan area of the city Tunis, often known as Greater Tunisia, has about 2.7 million residents.

In Arabic it is called تونس (Tūnis, pronounced [túúnis]).

Situated in a large bay of the Mediterranean Sea (the Gulf of Tunisia) ―behind Lake Tunis and the port of L Goulette (La Goleta, locally called Ḥalq il-Wād) – the city extends along the coastal plain and the hills that surround it. [1]

At its core is its old Tunisian medina, which since 1979 has been a Unesco World Heritage Site. [2] To the east of the medina, through the Puerta del Mar (also known as Puerta de Francia and Bab el Bhar) begins the modern city, or Ville Nouvelle (‘new town’ in French language), crossed by the great Habib avenue Bourguiba – often referred to in the popular press and travel guides as “the Tunisian Champs-Elysées ” -, [3] where the colonial-era buildings provide a stark contrast to the smaller, older structures. Further east, by the sea, are the suburbs of Carthage, La Marsa and Sidi Bou Said. [1]

As the capital city of the country, Tunisia is the center of political and administrative life in Tunisia; it is also the center of the country’s commercial and cultural activities. See population of Tunisia.

It has two cultural centers, as well as a municipal theater that is used by international theater groups and a summer festival, the Carthage International Festival, which is held in July. [1]

Tunisia is, without a doubt, the most tolerant and secular (non-religious) city in the Arab world. [2]

History of the city of Tunis

Old history

According to the archaeological record, the Berbers founded the town – whose original name was Tunes – in the second millennium BC. n. and. The existence of Tunisia as a city is mentioned from the 4th century BC. n. and. [4] It was occupied by the Numidians, who gave to sailors from the city of Tire coastal lands about 20 km from the village, where the Phoenicians founded the town of Carthage. With the rapid development of this and the annexation of the adjacent territories to the city between the years 480 and 450 a. n. e., Tunisia was one of the first cities to pass to Punic rule. From that moment its history became directly dependent on that of Carthage, suffering with it all the consequences of the Carthaginian wars. [5]

The nearby hills made its location an excellent surveillance point, allowing us to observe from them the maritime entrances and exits and the caravans that were heading to and leaving from Carthage. This characteristic made it an important military target, causing it to change hands several times over time. It was conquered by the Greek Agatocles in 310 BC. n. and., who used it for three years as an African base for the Syracuse campaigns ; in 256 a. n. and. it was occupied by Atilio Régulo; later, at the end of the War of the Mercenaries (in 238 BC), it fell into the hands of rebel mercenaries and remained under their control until Scipio the African conquered it in the year 202 a. n. and. ; and, finally, it was destroyed at the end of the Third Punic War, in 146 BC. n. and.. [5]

According to the Greek historian Strabo, both Tunis and Carthage were destroyed; however, both were later rebuilt under the rule of Augustus, making Tunisia an important city under Roman control and the center of a thriving agricultural industry. [7]

In the Roman road | Roman road system of the Roman province of Africa, the city had the title of ‘mutatio’ (meaning ‘resting place’ or ‘way station’). [7] Tunisia, increasingly Romanized, was also Christianized and eventually became the episcopal seat of the Catholic Church in Africa. [8]

Older than Carthage, Tunisia was quickly overshadowed by the rapid development of the great Punic city. After the Arab conquest, it became the second city of the country, after Kairouan. The great mosque of the Zaytouna (the mosque of the olive tree) was founded in 732. [8]

It became the capital in 1160 and began to play a great intellectual and religious role. The historian and philosopher Ibn Khaldun was born there in 1332. [8]

Tunisia continued its harmonious urban development until the French conquest in 1881. A new city, in the European style, was then established to the east of the medina, in the direction of the sea, on the other side of the Bab Bhar gate (gate to the sea). [8]

The Medina is the traditional city. The Medina of Tunis is unanimously considered the most beautiful of the Maghreb (North Africa) countries. [8]


The city of Tunis is a very touristy place; There you will find numerous souks where you can buy local products and objects, eat typical food, drink tea and even enjoy some outdoor events. The souks (alleys with stalls or markets), dars (houses), zaouias and madrasas are part of this capital, which can be divided into the New City and the traditional Medina. [9]

  • Medina of Tunisia: Unlike other African medinas, that of Tunis has remained unchanged, it has not undergone any kind of restoration or reconstruction. Inside you can see up to 700 noteworthy monuments, in a space of almost three square kilometers. Palaces, mosques, mausoleums and fountains, all of them built from the 8th century on. The medina has two main neighborhoods, dating back to the 13th century. [10]
  • The madrasas: they were buildings destined essentially to receive students. There are the cells for their accommodation, rooms for classes and a room for prayer. Simplicity, sobriety and delicacy characterize the architecture of the madrasas. The largest are the Achura madrasa, the Bachia madrasa, and the Slimania madrasa. [8]
    • Madrasa Slimaniya: Of all the madrasas in Tunis City (madrasas are places of Islamic teachings) the one in Slimaniya is perhaps the most beautiful. Located in the Medina, next to the Zitouna mosque, it was built in the mid-18th century. Its beautiful courtyard stands out, surrounded by black and white horseshoe arches. The green of the roof gives it a more picturesque and elegant appearance. [10]
  • The souks: these are alleys where some traders and craftsmen stalls from the different trade guilds are established. The clean offices are installed near the great mosque. The most dirty trades are located further afield [8] Among the souks, the Attarine souk or perfumers’ souk stands out, where you can buy the most exquisite aromas and fragrances, some of them made by hand in small bottles. The Souk of Trouk, the souk of the Turks, where they sell everything related to the textile industry. Others of interest are the women’s souk or the one for fabrics. All of them with narrow streets, stalls and a great bustle of people. To haggle. [10]
  • Zitouna Mosque: Its translation is the olive tree mosque, since its founder taught the Koran precisely under this tree, and it is the most important in the city. It is located in the Medina and is considered the largest and oldest sanctuary in the country. It was built in the 8th century, although its current appearance is later. In the 13th century it housed one of the most important Islamic universities in North Africa. [10]
  • Sidi Youssef Mosque: We also find it in the heart of the Medina, at the end of the Souk of the Turks. It was built precisely by the Ottomans in the 17th century, and in the courtyard is the tomb of its founder, Youssef Dey. Of this mosque, it is worth highlighting the octagonal minaret, the first to be built in this way in Tunisia. Like other mosques, non-Muslims cannot visit the interior. [10]
  • Saint Vincent de Paul Cathedral: Located in modern Tunisia, in Independence Square, it was built at the end of the 19th century in neo-Arab, neo-Gothic and neo-Byzantine styles. You are surprised to see a building of this style in a city like Tunis. It was the second Catholic cathedral built in Tunisia, after that of Carthage. It is named after Saint Vincent de Paul, a priest sold as a slave in Tunisia and who, after achieving freedom, dedicated himself to helping Christian slaves who lived in the area. [10]
  • National Bardo Museum: Located in the Bardo neighborhood, it is one of the largest museums on the shores of the Mediterranean. Its collection takes us on a tour of the archaeological remains and the history of Tunisia. It contains possibly the best Roman mosaics in the world, as well as Greek works, ceramics from North Africa and Asia Minor, and Christian and Islamic art. Many of its remains come from the ruins of Cartago, Útica or Dougga. [10] It is one of the largest museums in all of Africa and the main museum in Tunisia. There is a collection of Roman mosaics that is well worth observing, as well as various pieces of Christian, Islamic art, etc. [9]
  • Palace of the Bey: Of all the palaces that we will see in the Medina of Tunis, perhaps the most interesting is this one of the Bey. It is located next to the Sidi Youssef Mosque and bears this name because it was the residence of the beys or local rulers during the Turkish rule. Built in the 18th century, it is truly huge and is currently the seat of the Tunisian Prime Minister and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. As such, it cannot be photographed. [10]
  • The Belvédère park: it is interesting for several aspects. It is a beautiful space with an area of one hundred hectares. Installed on a hill, it offers a multitude of high points that allow you to see the entire city and its surroundings. [8]
  • Habib Bourguiba Avenue: it is the famous avenue where, in 2011, it became popular because it was where the demonstrations that put an end to the country’s dictatorship were concentrated. [9]
  • Kasbah Mosque: located in the Kasbah Square; It is a building with a lot of architectural style. [9]
  • Carthage: the famous ruins of the most important city in Africa at the time of the Roman Empire; There you can enjoy the Port of Carthage, visit the Cathedral of San Luis, the National Museum and the Tophet temple. [9]

Tunis, Tunisia