Tunis, the capital of Tunisia in the north offers a dual perspective to its visitors. On one hand, it bears the attributes of its rich and distant past. This is the medina, the historic heart of the city. Souks, mosques and streets are the most perfect of the Arab-Muslim architecture.
On the other hand, we see the recent traces of the influence of the West and in particular France. To the east of the medina, from Avenue Habib Bourguiba, lies the modern city. On a straight ordered plan are stores, banks, coffee shops and buildings in European style.
Two or three days will not be too much for discovering the charms of the capital and its surroundings. Stroll through the souks of the perfumes of East, drinking mint tea in a cafe, marvel at the Antiquities Museum of Bardo, relax on the beaches near the capital, walking in the village of Sidi Bou Said, lovely blue and white village and discover the remains of the ancient city of the Punic former city of Carthage are some of the thousand that Tunis delights you with.
You will have no trouble identifying the two architectural styles that characterize the heritage of Tunis.
The medina is a gem of Muslim architecture. It was ranked on the list of goods of humanity by UNESCO. Declining a few years ago, the medina has been the subject of a renovation program.
The other facet of the city focuses on the Avenue Bourguiba, Carthage, Paris, and Liberty. This modern neighborhood is the reflection of the period of the French protectorate (1881-1956). Hotels, houses and shops have an Art Deco or Art Nouveau styles, which contrasts with the medina.
Begin your visit to Tunis by the area called the modern city. Strongly inspired by the European model, it does not provide the scenery that you came to seek in Tunisia. However, the animation that reigns at the end of the day is very pleasant.
Then dive in the most authentic part of Tunis. The medina is a maze of alleys and souks tangled around the mosque are Zitouna Mosque or the Olive Tree which dates back to the birth of the city (in 732).
After a scenic walk in the souks, you can visit an ancient palace of the Tunisian bourgeoisie (called Dar Saïd) and the mausoleum of an illustrious person of Tunis, such as Princess Aziza Othmana.
To the west of the city, the Bardo Museum is a must for any art lover of antiquity. Its superb collection of Roman mosaics is unmatched anywhere in the world. Belvedere Park will welcome you for a refreshing stroll under palm trees, pines and eucalyptus.
A few miles from Tunis, two sites have also gained a solid reputation. The village of Sidi Bou Said, in white and blue, seems straight out of a painting. The site of the ancient city of Carthage is also exceptional.
Of course, a stop in La Marsa or any other beaches in Tunis is an option that many remember.
History of Tunis:
In 1160, Tunis was proclaimed capital of the country. Under the dynasty Hafsids the thirteenth century, Tunis sat its intellectual and religious influence on the rest of the country. It also became a commercial pole of first order in the Mediterranean. Also note that Tunis was the birthplace of the famous historian and philosopher Ibn Khaldun or Ibn Khaldoun (1332-1406).
In 1534, the Ottomans took the city. Charles V resumed the following year and gave it to the Spaniards. Then Tunis passed under the domination of Beys in 1591. 19 The beys of the Husseinite dynasty continued one another until 1757.
In 1881, Tunisia was under French protectorate with the Treaty of Bardo. New neighborhoods are built on the European style (houses, multi-storey buildings, wide avenues ...).
Although under the French protectorate, Tunisia could not resist and German forces occupied in 1942. It was liberated by the British in May 1943. Tunisia gained independence on 20 March 1956.