Interesting facts about Tunisia

tunisia flag

Tunisia is a country in North Africa.

The official name of the country is the Republic of Tunisia.

It is bordered by Algeria to the west and southwest, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea
to the north and east.

The official language is Arabic.

As of 1 January 2017, the population of Tunisia was estimated to be 11,444,409 people.

It is the 91st largest country in the world in terms of land area with 163,610 square kilometers (63,170 square miles).

Tunis is the capital and the largest city of Tunisia. Situated on a large Mediterranean Sea gulf (the Gulf of Tunis), behind the Lake of Tunis and the port of La Goulette, the city extends along the coastal plain and the hills that surround it. At its core lies its ancient medina, a World Heritage Site.

tunis

Geographically, Tunisia contains the eastern end of the Atlas Mountains and the northern reaches of
the Sahara desert. Much of the rest of the country’s land is fertile soil.

The Sahara is the largest hot desert in the world, and a small part of it covers Tunisia. The Grand Erg Oriental is a large erg or “field of sand dunes” in central Tunisia.

sahara desert

The Atlas Mountains extend northeast from the Algerian border to the Mediterranean Sea. To the northand east of those mountains the topography is generally characterized by low, rolling hills and flat
coastal areas.

The highest mountain of the country is Jebel ech Chambi at 1,544 meters (5,066 feet) above sea level.

jebel ech chambi

Tunisia’s northernmost point, Cape Angela, is the northernmost point on the African continent.

Tunisia has 1,148 kilometers (713 miles) of coastline.

Some of the Mediterranean’s most spectacular beaches are to be found in Tunisia; to the north is a coastline of crystal-clear waters, lush vegetation and wild cliffs, while the southern coastline is fascinating due to the desert landscape surrounding it.

tunisia beach

The network of protected areas in Tunisia covers about 8% of the national territory. It is made up of
17 national park, plus other types of protected areas.

Ichkeul National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the north of Tunisia, 25 km (15.5 mi) southwest of Bizerte and 15 km (9 mi) north of Mateur. The lake and wetlands of Ichkeul National Park are an important stopping-over point for hundreds of thousands of migrating birds such as ducks, geese, storks and pink flamingoes, who come to feed and nest there. Ichkeul is the last remaining lake in a chain that once extended across North Africa.

ichkeul national park

Tunisia has 8 UNESCO world heritage sites.

Amphitheatre of El Jem is an oval amphitheatre in the city of El Djem. The amphitheatre was built around 238 AD, when the modern Tunisia belonged to the Roman province of Africa, in the city of
Thysdrus, currently a suburb of El Djem. It is one of the best preserved Roman ruins in the world, and
is unique in Africa. As other amphitheatres in the Roman Empire, it was built for spectator events, and
it is one of the biggest amphitheatres in the world. The estimated capacity is 35,000, and the sizes of the big and the small axes are respectively 148 metres (486 ft) and 122 metres (400 ft). It is listed by UNESCO since 1979 as a World Heritage Site.

amphitheatre of el jem

The Medina of Tunis is the Medina quarter of Tunis, capital of Tunisia. The Medina contains some 700 monuments, including palaces, mosques, mausoleums, madrasas and fountains dating from the Almohad and the Hafsid periods. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979.

tunis medina

Once Rome’s major rival, Carthage was the city of the seafaring Phoenicians forever memorialised in
history books about the Punic Wars. The atmospheric ruins of this ancient town now sit beside the sea
amid the suburbs of Tunis, a warning that even the greatest cities can be reduced to rubble. It is
listed by UNESCO since 1979 as a World Heritage Site.

carthage

The Bourguiba mausoleum is a monumental grave in Monastira, containing the remains of former president Habib Bourguiba, the father of Tunisian independence, who died on April 6, 2000. The mausoleum was built while Bourguiba was still alive, in 1963, in the modern Arab-Muslim style. It is located in the western part of the Sidi El Mézeri cemetery, the main burial site in the city, at the end of the main alley which is about 200 m (660 ft) long and 30 m (98 ft) wide.

bourguiba mausoleum

The Bardo National Museum is a museum located in the capital, Tunis. It is one of the most important museums of the Mediterranean basin, and the second largest on the African continent after the Egyptian Museum. It traces the history of Tunisia over several millennia and through many civilizations through a wide variety of archaeological pieces. Being in the former palace, it offers many major works discovered since the beginnings of archaeological research in the country.

bardo national museum

Stone age tools dating from the Middle Stone Age (around 200,000 years ago) found near Kelibia are the
earliest evidence of human activity in the region.

Finds have been made of stone blades, tools, and small figurines of the Capsian culture (named after
Gafsa in Tunisia), which lasted from around 10,000 to 6,000 BC.

Then from about 1100 BC the Phoenicians from what is now Lebanon settled and traded in the area.

About 480 BC the Phoenicians founded Carthage. Slowly this city became stronger. In time the Carthaginians built an empire in the Mediterranean.

phoenicians

A major mercantile power and a military rival of the Roman Republic, Carthage was defeated by the
Romans in 146 BC. The Romans, who would occupy Tunisia for most of the next eight hundred years.

After several attempts starting in 647, the Arabs conquered the whole of Tunisia by 697, followed by
the Ottomans between 1534 and 1574. The Ottomans held sway for over three hundred years.

The French colonization of Tunisia occurred in 1881.

Tunisia achieved independence from France in 1956 with Habib Bourguiba as Prime Minister.

tunisia-flag-2

Tunisia has a growing, diverse economy that is focused on agriculture, mining, tourism and
manufacturing. The main industries in the country are petroleum, the mining of phosphate and iron ore,
textiles, footwear, agribusiness and beverage.

Tunisia has a highly homogeneous population, almost entirely of Arab and Berber descent (98%). The small European population (1%) consists mostly of French and Italians.

The majority of Tunisia’s population (around 98%) are Muslims while about 2% follow Christianity and Judaism or other religions.

Tunisian cuisine is a blend of Mediterranean and desert dwellers’ culinary traditions. Couscous, called
“Kosksi”, is the national dish of Tunisia, and can be prepared in many ways. It is cooked in a special
kind of double boiler called a kiska:s in Arabic or couscoussière in French, resembling a Chinese
steamer atop a Mongolian pot.

Football is the most popular sport in Tunisia.

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