Tunis, the capital of Tunisia, is also the largest city in the country. The greater metropolitan area of Tunis which includes Tunis, Ariana, Mandouba and Ben Arous, has an estimated 2,700,000 inhabitants.
Tunis is an interesting mix of old and new. The old city is known as the medina and is recognized on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The new city is known as “Ville Nouvelle” can be recognized by its many colonial French buildings and architectures.
The Medina of Tunis has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979. This Medina quarter contains about 700 monuments which include palaces, mosques, mausoleums, madrasas (educational institutions), and fountains dating from the Almohad and the Hafsid periods.
The famous Zitouna Mosque located in the heart of the Tunis medina was built in 732 and then later rebuilt in 864. The Zitouna Mosque was once a significant place of culture and knowledge. Generally speaking, non-Muslims are not permitted to enter mosques in North Africa. Tourists visiting the Zitouna Mosque are permitted to view the courtyard from behind a barrier.
Bab el Bhar is the iconic city gate in Tunis which separates the Oriental part of the city including the Medina from the European part of the city. Bab el Bhar means “the sea gate” because of its close proximity to the Mediterranean Sea. The gate is also often referred to as “Porte De France” (the gate of France). The gate is made up of a lowered archway and topped by a crenelated parapet.
The famous Avenue Habib Bourguiba is located in the new city (Ville Nouvelle). Originally named the “Promenade de la Marine“, it later changed its name in honor of Tunisia’s first president and national leader of the Tunisian independence. This avenue is 60 meters wide, with two parallel roads lined with hotels, street cafes, and numerous shops.
The Bardo Museum contains a vast collection of important mosaics from the Roman period. There are numerous rooms in this world-class institution offering artifacts from the Punic to Islamic period. This is one museum that you will not want to miss!
Located in the suburbs of Tunis, the ancient Carthage archaeological siteonce the largest ancient cities in northern Africa. This site holds ruins from many eras of history: the Punics, Romans, Vandals and Byzantines all made claim to this area at some point.
The Tunis–Carthage International Airport is the international airport of Tunis. This is the premier airport in the country and serves over one million passengers each year.