Tunis Travel Guide
Introduction to Tunis
The capital of Tunisia and a short difference from the ruins of once-mighty Carthage, Tunis is a great place to visit if you are looking to mix a bit of culture into your beach holiday.
Located a short shuttle ride away from the sands of Sousse and Hammamet, spending a few days here is the perfect way to add balance to your trip in Tunisia.
Cultural Attractions in Tunis
Make the Bardo Museum your first stop on a trip to Tunis. One of the largest museums in Northern Africa, this institution is home to a wide variety of relics including portions of the Blue Koran.
It also contains an array of ceramics recovered from archeological digs across North Africa, one of the best collection of Roman mosaics in the world, and a variety of artifacts that accurately depict life during the peak of the Carthaginian civilization.
Housed in a 15th-century palace that was built during the Hafsid dynasty, the building is itself an attraction, so don’t forget to bring your camera.
Next, find the time to stroll through the Medina of Tunis, as this section of town is home to a series of architectural, historic, and cultural treasures that earned it a UNESCO World Heritage Site designation all the way back in 1979.
With numerous mosques, palaces, mausoleums, fountains, and Islamic schools known as madrasas, your day will be consumed by aimless wandering through narrow lane ways that have changed relatively little in over five centuries.
Don’t miss the triumphal arch at the front of one of the entrances to the Medina, as its sheer size will give you an idea of the pride and purpose the Tunisian people have had in their country for ages.
Those interested in theology shouldn’t pass up the opportunity to tour the Al-Zaytuna Mosque. Completed around 703 AD, it was built using up to 160 intact columns from the ruined city of Carthage, and it is the oldest mosque in Tunisia,
In addition to serving as a place of worship, it also was one of the most important madrasas in Islam, as Ibn Arafa (one of the most respected Muslim scholars in history) taught students there throughout much of his life.
Other Attractions in Tunis
Want to dive deeper into the rural life of Tunisia? Want to see where George Lucas filmed the Tatooine scene during the original Star Wars trilogy? If so, go on a day trip from Tunis to the Berber Village of Takrouna.
Restored to its former glory after being abandoned for some time, this village shows you how the Berbers had managed to adapt to life in such a harsh place. Fashioning dwellings that are largely underground, this design enabled occupants to stay out of the harsh sun during the height of the day.
On-site, there is a museum that explains the ways of the Berber in further detail, and a small cafe that serves the mint tea they drink on a regular basis.
Fans of public plazas will want to make time in their schedule for a brief visit to Kasbah Square. A sweeping plaza consisting of a concrete monument surrounded by paving stones and numerous Tunisian flags, it is a centre of both public celebration and protest.
With respect to the latter, it was where some of the most dramatic protests of the 2011 Arab Spring took place, making it a compelling place to visit in Tunis if you follow current events closely.
Finally, no visit to the capital of Tunisia can be considered complete without spending an afternoon exploring its most beautiful markets. Found within the Medina, the Souks of Tunis are home to countless stalls that sell everything from perfumes to precious metals.
With dozens of markets specializing in different goods, you’ll be kept busy for hours on end. As such, this is a great place to pick up souvenirs for friends and family, but be sure to bargain hard, as its merchants are seasoned at this practice.