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Tunis

A modern city with an ancient heart
With its unique mix of architectural styles, wide boulevards and intersecting narrow streets, Tunis fully embodies the spirit, liveliness and cultural heritage of the Mediterranean. Tunis’ history is rich and glorious, and the Medina is an authentic testimony of the splendour and different epochs that this city has gone through. This ancient area of the city dates back to the ninth century and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since the seventies.
 
Square of Independence with the Saint Vincent De Paul Cathedral
Its reputation and charm are the result of a harmonious blend of architectural and cultural elements from the different people who inhabited Tunis: from the Spaniards to the Arabs, the Turks to the Berbers, and the Christians to the Jews.
 
View of the Zitouna Mosque from Medina
La Medina
The Zitouna mosque is in the heart of the Medina, and just around the corner is the souk, the bustling town market, divided by trades and artisanal products.
 
Here, amongst the scent of spices and voices of merchants that seem to be singing ancient litanies, you can get lost in the narrow alleys and passageways from which white domes and minarets can be seen, giving the feeling of being somewhere far, far away in time and space.
 
If you want to escape from the heat of the city, especially in the afternoon, you can take refuge on the shaded terrace of the Belvedere Park, a wide green area where you can enjoy the view of Tunis and its sea and maybe savour a local tea. The park also houses the city zoo and the Museum of Contemporary Art, in a building that used to be a casino the times of the Belle Epoque.
 
National Bardo Museum
The National Bardo Museum
Among the other interesting museums of Tunis, the most fascinating is certainly the Bardo Museum, which is on the outside of the city. 
 
Built in 1888 in the luxurious residence of the explorer Ali Bey, the museum houses ancient artefacts of great interest from nearby Carthage. The most prestigious collection consists of Roman mosaics dating back to the second to fourth centuries, one of the most precious in existence.

Another museum worth mentioning is the Dar Ben Abdallah: this Museum of Arts and Popular Traditions is housed in a former eighteenth-century mansion, which was completely built and refurbished. It gives an insight into the daily life, public and private, of the rich merchants of the eighteenth and nineteenth century in the Medina.
 
The Tunisian National Theater on Avenue Habib Bourguiba
The Ville Nouvelle (New Town), which stretches toward the sea with an orderly grid of elegant wide avenues in French colonial style, is in stark contrast to the old quarter. In the centre of the capital, a recent restyling has restored the beautiful Art Nouveau halls, the Franco-Arab covered markets and the Catholic cathedrals in a Roman-Byzantine style to their former glory, a legacy of the colonial era that beautifully contradicts the rest of the Arabic architecture.
 
Avenue Bourguiba
Avenue Bourguiba
The elegant tree-lined street in Bourguiba Avenue, which leads from the train station to the Medina’s main entrance, is largely pedestrianised and reminiscent of a Parisian boulevard with cafes and charming restaurants.
 
The squares and streets of the Ville Nouvelle at night are very lively and Tunis can offer every kind of night-time entertainment, with its charm and style.
 
Nearby: Carthage
Just outside Tunis, the remains of one of the most legendary capitals of ancient Carthage can be found. The Phoenician capital that was completely destroyed by the Romans is one of the most important archaeological discoveries ever uncovered and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
 
Landscape of ancient Carthage
Since the nineteenth century it has been subject of considerable archaeological work, and spectacular Punic, Roman and Byzantine discoveries have been made. Its impressive pillarsmonumentsmosaics and sculptures are the perfect scene for an exciting walk through history.
 
Text by Lea Tocchi

Photos: Sisterscom.com, Shutterstock 
All rights reserved. Copyright © Sisterscom.com 
Video: www.discovertunisia.com
Update February 2019
 
 
 
Tourism Board
www.discovertunisia.com
WHERE TO GO
Monuments
SAINT VINCENT DE PAUL CATHEDRAL
Place de l’Indipendance
In Tunis' Ville Nouvelle (New Town) stands this imposing cathedral, the largest surviving building of Tunisia's French colonial period. Its neo-Romanesque facade presides the north end of Place de l'Indépendance.
ZAYTUNA MOSQUE
Rue Jamaa Ezzitouna (Medina)
The largest mosque in Tunisia, this Aghlabite mosque dates back to the VIII century, the minaret is a much later XIX century addition. Non-Muslims can only enter a viewing platform on the edge of the courtyard not the mosque itself.
 
Museums
BARDO MUSEUM
Rue Mongi Slim
It hosts the world's most renowned mosaic collection. The Bardo is one of North Africa's top museum experiences. The Sousse Room, Odysseus Room and Dougga Room have particularly impressive exhibits of mosaic art form, but the entire collection is a real treasure.
www.bardomuseum.tn
MUSEUM DAR BEN ABDALLAH
Impasse Ben Abdallah
A small but interesting folk museum within an XVIII century palace in the medina, covering the everyday life of a rich merchant in the Ottoman era with exhibits including faience, ornaments and costumes.
 
Excursions

BELVEDERE PARK
Avenue Taieb M'Hiri
It covers a large green area  just north of the city, Belvedere Park has a number of family-friendly attractions to enjoy on fine days inTunis, like the Zoo.

CARTHAGE ARCHEOLOGICAL PARK
Here are the remains of ancient Carthage, that was completely destroyed in 146 BC during the third Punic War. The surviving ruins are scattered over a wide area, you can find impressive Roman baths, houses, cisterns, basilicas and streets. Don’t miss to visit theArcheological Museum that  gathers most of the discovered objects in Carthage and in its area. The Park can be easily reached by using the Tunis Light Railway.
AVION TOURISM  MAGAZINE
AVION TOURISM MAGAZINE
in digital version
Italian's art cities. On this issue we recommend you: Venice, Bergamo, Milan, Turin, Florence, Pisa, Rome, Naples, Palermo and Catania. Discover the destinations directly on the website of the magazine.
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