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About Tunisia
 
  • Facts
  • History
  • Infrastructure
  • Culture
  • Adventure
  • Attractions
  • Links
Generalities
Official name: Republic of Tunisia.
Population: 10,5 million (2009 estimate)
Situation: North Africa.
Time zone: GMT + 1.
Area: 164,150 square kilometres.
Borders with: Algeria, Libya.
Coasts: Mediterranean.
Capital: Tunis.
Major Towns: Bizerte, Sousse, Sfax, Gabes, Monastir, Nabeul, Kairouan, Hammamet, Mahdia, Tabarka, Zarzis, Djerba, Tozeur.
Chief Port: Tunis.
Religion: Islam (98%).
Rest Day: Sunday.
Electricity: 220 Volts AC, 50 Hz.
Physical: The Atlas Mountains in the North West rise to 1,544 meters. There is a central depression following a line roughly west to east where there are several dry lake beds that are drier and sandier to the south to the edge of the Sahara Desert. Gulf of Gabes contains few islands including Djerba.

Economy
Agriculture: Employing about 50% of the population and is declining: livestock, fishing, dates, grapes, vegetables, olive oil, barley, wheat, henna, almonds, citrus fruit, cork.
Mining: The world's fifth largest producer of phosphates; also oil, iron ore, zinc, lead, gold, barite, fluorspar.
Manufacturing: Food processing, textiles, carpets, sugar refining, tires, oil refining, cement.
Important Trade Partners: EU (France, Italy, Germany, Belgium) and USA
Other: Tourism is important.

Currency:
Currency: Tunisian Dinar divided into 1000 Millimes.
1 Tunisian Dinar is approx. 4,5 Nok
Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Access, American Express and Diners Club are widely accepted in good hotels, restaurants and also in many stores. In the rural areas to the south acceptability is less common.
Foreign Accounts: Foreign nationals are allowed to have accounts in the one of the major currencies of their choice. Transfers from and to these accounts are totally free
Currency Restrictions: Import and export of Tunisian currency is not allowed. Import of foreign currency is unlimited; export is limited to the amount declared on arrival. All the investments made through foreign accounts and declared to the central bank are freely transferable abroad when whished.

Language
Official: Arabic.
Commercial: French and Arabic.
Others: English, Italian, German, Spanish, Swedish (in tourist areas)
Phoenician staging posts were set up very early in the Mediterranean. Until the 6th century BC when cities on the Syrian coast lost their independence and in the 7th century BC when the Greeks began to create their colony, these posts remained relatively unimportant.

The Phoenicians who were principally maritime traders had a great effect on the native Berbers, they taught them advanced agricultural methods and about urban living. Ideas of a monotheistic religion were spread by the Jews among these pagan tribes.
Carthage fell to the Romans who literally ploughed the city into the ground.

The most significant Roman contribution to the area was the opening of North Africa to Christianity. After this Carthage became the greatest of Christian centres after Alexandria and produced one of its greatest figures, St Augustine (a Libyan Berber educated in Carthage).

There was much opposition to the Roman rule due to differing religious beliefs and the adoption of Donatism (a rigorous, puritanical movement) by the orthodox Byzantine Church.

Persecutions launched by Byzantium as a result alienated much of the population. There was then a rapid adoption of Islam.
In 670 AD the Arabs first arrived they established a base at Kairouan, they lost their hold due to a disastrous attack on the lands further west. They gained control again at the end of the century, during this attack they also had to contend with the Berber tribes whose resistance was set to continue for many centuries.

After the political fragmentation of the Arab empire Tunisia joined the Moroccan empire of the Almohades, it remained this way until threats from the Christian armies in Spain and the Bedouin in the central Maghreb forced the Moroccan rulers to divide their administration and appoint Hafsid families as governors of the eastern half of the empire in Tunis.

The Hafsids defeated the Bedouin very successfully, but this also intensified the destruction of the central Maghreb and effectively cut Tunisia from Morocco. Tunisia became a very stable and prosperous enclave.

Until the Ottoman Turks conquered Tunisia in 1574 the Hafsids remained in power.

The Ottoman rule soon became merely nominal after the defeat of the Turkish fleet by the Christians.

Power in Tunis came to reside in self perpetuating cliques who fought off conquering Greek corsairs and Anatolian janissaries.

The conquerors merged with the local people and by the 18th century they had produced their own national monarchy, the Husainid beys who revived the Hafsid practices.

The Turks tried to re-assert their authority over Algeria in the late 19th century, but the French army prevented this.

In 1857 Tunisia adopted its first constitution.

In 1883 the French declared a protectorate over Tunisia.

The Neo-Destour movement for national liberation developed in the 1930's under the leadership of Habib Bourguiba.

Bourguiba was soon imprisoned and the movement was banned because the French felt threatened.

Tunis was occupied for a short time by the Germans in World War 2. Bourguiba was released and the beys were allowed to appoint ministers from among the Neo-Destour.

All of this ended in 1945 with the allied victory, and Bourguiba went into exile in Egypt. From there he organized propaganda and encouraged two years of guerrilla warfare against the French which, in the end, forced the French to grant autonomy to Tunisia in 1955.

In 1956 Tunisia was granted independence from France.

In 1957 Bourguiba became president and Tunisia became a republic.

A National Assembly made him president for life in 1975.

The first elections were held in 1981, Bourguiba consolidated his power.

Zine el-Abidine ben Ali staged a peaceful and popular coup in 1987, he then had himself named as president.
Tunisia has undergone a tremendous change thanks to its strong growth and its ties to Europe. While rural inhabitants continue to live a traditional lifestyle, the cities become much more modernized and westernized without loosing their Tunisian cachet.

Airports

International Airports such as Tunis Carthage, Enfidha, Monastir, Djerba, Tabarka, Sfax and Tozeur offer a good standard and have many tax free shops.

Trains
The railway network has relatively a good standard. Trains have both first and second class and an air-conditioned comfort class for the express trains. Kids under 4 years travel for free.

Buses
There are bus connections between all major cities and towns. The great Tunis Area has a dense bus network. There are bus connections taking from Carthage Resort to the Marsa and Sidi Bousaid Area and further to the city centre.

Metro
Tunis has a quite modern “over ground” metro network.

Suburbs’ Train
Also called TGM, is a light train line connecting the Tunis city centre with the northern suburbs

Car Rental
There is a big choice of car rental companies offering also the possibilities to rent motorbikes, scooters and in some areas bicycles. Around Carthage Resort, many hotels have rental possibilities for quads and cross country motorbikes for a beach tour.

Traffic Rules

Like the continental European countries and Scandinavia, cars are driven on the right side.

Electricity

220 Volts AC, 50 Hz and same plugs as in France, Germany, Italy and Scandinavia

Internet

Most cities are connected to high speed Internet. Mobile Internet possibilities are also provided by Network Operators. There are Internet Cafés all over the country

Telephone

Possibility for landline or Mobile lines through various phone operators

Markets
In addition to the traditional narrow streets Medina markets in all the major cities in Tunisia, many weekly markets are set to provide goods ranging from food products, to household and clothes.

Medinas
The medinas in Tunisia are typically walled, contain many narrow and maze-like streets, vaulted passages, and were built by Arabs as far back as the 9th century CE.

Medinas often contain historical fountains, palaces, hammams and mosques. Here or there, one will discover a mausoleum covered with green tiles, a mosque decorated with pink marble. The monuments are preserved for their cultural significance. Because of the very narrow streets, medinas are free from car traffic, and in some cases even from motorcycle and bicycle traffic. There is no doubt that the medinas are the right place for exotic shopping and enchanting experience.

Cinemas and Theatres
In major cities people still like going to the movies. Movie events are held all year around and theatres host also classical music event  

Nightlife
Many hotels have nightclubs, bars or dining shows. In some trendy areas, indoor and outdoor private clubs offer a wide variety of nightlife experience. There are always possibilities around for a nice dinner with a music and belly dancer show.

Festivals
The Tunisians "joie de vivre" is reflected in their festivals. Even the smallest village sets aside a time for celebration whether it is for the summer harvest, fishing season, a local saint, or the arrival of spring. Whether one is looking for classical music, Jazz or modern music, the choice is large. The Saharan Festival and the falconry Festival are alternative events for those looking for real exoticism.

Art Galleries
Especially in the SidiBousaid, Gammarth and Carthage Area, one can find numerous art galleries ranging from painting, pottery, glass blowing to modern art.

Museums
There is wide choice of museums in the country displaying the rich culture heritage of Tunisia
The Bardo museum contains, for instance, the largest collection of mosaics in the world.

Beaches
1300 km to choose from

Hiking
Beautiful sceneries over the Atlas Mountains offer a great

Horse riding
Most of the hotel facilities offer the possibilities for horse riding either on the beaches or in the forests

Hunting
Wild rabbit, wild swine and fox hunting are very popular, also the hunting of some species of birds is possible.

Cycling & Motorbike trips
Many centers and hotels organize cycling and motorbike trips. There are also local clubs arranging week-end trips

Paragliding
This activity is mainly offered buy beach hotels

Red Lizard Train

Wildlife (Bird watching)
There are many hotspots for observing wildlife activity and migrant birds. It will often be possible to see the pink flamingos from the apartments in Carthage Resort on the shores of the lake.

Windsurfing, Kite surfing Jet skiing & Waterskiing
This activity is mainly offered buy beach hotels

Sports & Activities
Most sports activities can be practiced in Tunisia such as Tennis, squash, badminton and bowling.

Camel / Horse or Pony trekking
This activity is mainly offered buy beach hotels. Few hundred meters from Carthage Resort, many beach hotels can offer this experience.

Hot air ballooning
Especially in the oasis areas, this activity offers an amazing experience especially if one chooses to see the sunset in the Desert from above.

Sailing & Diving
This activity is mainly offered buy beach hotels, Marinas and scuba diving clubs.

4x4 Off-Roading
Although 4x4 off-roading is possible on sandy beaches, the thrilling pleasure can be experienced in the great sand dunes of the Sahara desert. Paths and guided trips are arranged by professionals.

January

  • Tunis, Medina-festival

February

Mars

April

  • Tataouine, Ksour-Desert Festival
  • Menzel Bou Zelfa, Orange Festival

Mai

  • Maknassy, Horse Parades
  • Al Haouaria, Hunting Falcon Festival
  • El Djem, Classical music concerts in the open air Roman amphitheatre
  • Tabarka, Coral Festival

June

  • Carthage, International Music Festival in the open air roman amphitheatre
  • Djerba, Odyssey festival
  • Dougga, Festival in the Roman Theatre

July

  • Mahdia, Fishing Festival
  • Bizerte, Regatta, Sports- and Culture Festival
  • Tabarka, International Jazz and Folklore Festival
  • La Goulette, Fish party
  • Sousse, Summer Carnival
  • Hammamet, International Festival in the open air Theatre of Dar Sébastien

August

  • Monastir, Culture and Traditions Festival
  • Testour, Traditional Music
  • Kerenna, Mermaid Festival
  • Sfax,Music and Popular Arts Festival

September

  • Grombalia, Wife Party

October

November

  • Carthage, - International Film and Theatre Festival
  • Tozeur, Dates harvesting, music and Camel races
  • Djerba, Puppet Theatre
  • Bou Kornine Park, World Biodiversity Day,

December

  • Tozeur, Festival of the Oases includes parades, folk dances and camel races.
  • Douz, Sahara festival includes parades, folk dances and camel races.
Frommer's Top Destinations 2010
Tunisia Ranked Nr 1 Destination in 2010 by American Frommer's
http://www.frommers.com/trip_ideas/arts_and_culture/article.cfm?ideaID=ARTCULTURE&articleID=6469&t=Frommer's%20Top%20Destinations%202010

The New York Times ranking
Tunisia is ranked as 3rd best destination to go to out of 53 in 2008
http://www.nytimes.com/ref/travel/20071209_WHERE_GRAPHIC.html?ex=1197867600&en=08d913ae93b78f45&ei=5070&emc=eta1#goto3

The Free Library ranking
Why Tunisia is Africa's most competitive economy? http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Why+Tunisia+is+Africa's+most+competitive+economy:+Tunisia+continues...-a0209801072

The Jewel of the Mediterranean
The official website of the Tunisian National Tourist office in the UK & Ireland
http://cometotunisia.co.uk/

Tourist Guide
Travel and tourism guide to Tunisia
www.tourismtunisia.com

The Residence Golf Course
The golf course neighbouring Carthage Resort
http://www.theresidence.com/tunis/vuk/index.html

World Travels
Overview over Tunisia
http://www.wordtravels.com/Travelguide/Countries/Tunisia/

Canada.com

Tunisia packs modern convenience with rich cultural history
http://www.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/news/travel/story.html?id=087f9fce-a400-46f3-8614-619bc88d0b9e

Travel Intelligence.com
Desert Blossom Days Article
http://www.travelintelligence.com/travel-writing/desert-blossom-days

Canoe.com

The ancient land rich in modern resorts and golden beaches
http://www.canoe.ca/Travel/Africa/2004/01/04/304109.html

Star Tribune.com
Discover a Mediterranean bargain
http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/travel/37298729.html?elr=KArks7PYDiaK7DUqyE5D7UiD3aPc:_Yyc:aUU

TravelPix
Information about the country
www.tunisiaonline.com

CIA World Factbook - Tunisia
https://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/ts.html

Lonely Planet: Tunisia
http://www.lonelyplanet.com/destinations/africa/tunisia

Maps for Tunisia

http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/africa/tunisia.gif
http://www.accuweather.com/world-forecast-15day.asp?partner=netweather&traveler=0&locCode=AFR|TN|TS000|TUNISI&metric=1

Guided Tours in Tunisia
http://www.incredible-adventures.com/sahara1.html

Tunisia info
http://lexicorient.com/tunisia/tunis.htm
http://www.tunisietourisme.com.tn/index1.htm
http://www.alltheweb.com/search?cat=web&cs=utf8&_sb_lang=pref&rys=1&q=pictures+of+tunisia
http://www.kerkennah.com

Gallery Tunisia
http://www.bikeabout.org/gallery/tunisia.htm