Mysterious country of warm sun, desert heat and cool oases, date palms and spicy jasmine is a magical Tunisia. For many vacationers this is a country of pure sandy beaches, serene vacation in an atmosphere of warmth and peace, but of course there is something to see in Tunisia and beyond the beach, traveling to places of interest - such as the holy temples, the magnificent Carthage, the Colosseum, the sultry Sahara and other memorable attractions of Tunisia. The country has a high level of service: Hotels in Tunisia meet high international standards, as evidenced by numerous reviews, and guides in Tunisia organize informative tours in Tunisia, full of vivid impressions.
Overview of the main attractions with a brief description will be your mini assistant in planning your upcoming trip. By studying this rating, everyone will find what to see in Tunisia for 1 day and for any other period of time, where to go in Tunisia, depending on opportunities and preferences.
Today Carthage is the most famous suburb of Tunisia, and once there, you will really have something to see in Tunisia: the ruins of the ancient city still stand on the shore of the Gulf of Tunis, impressing with its grandeur and rich history. Until now, unfortunately, historians have not managed to find enough information about the origins of Carthage, but large-scale excavations in the surrounding areas continue. Thus, the ruins of several ancient cities, once existed on this beautiful seaside land, have already been discovered during excavations under the auspices of UNESCO.
The amphitheater is often compared to the Roman Colosseum - this grandiose structure is already 2,000 years old and although today its arena is well below the level of the modern streets of El Djem, its walls still rise above the modern constructions of the city and are visible from afar. Inside the amphitheater one can raid the many underground passages, or climb the spectator rows to imagine the spectacles that unfolded before the eyes of the public.
The beautiful Sidi Bou Said is the most beautiful attraction of Tunisia, a town in white and blue colors, standing on a cliff at the foot of which stretches the Mediterranean Sea, in the distance you can see the Atlas Mountains and the ancient Carthage. The town is unusual in that all of its buildings are painted white and its windows, fences, and grills are sky blue. According to the stories of guides, once in this quiet picturesque place a noble French baron bought a house and he suggested the residents to paint their houses in white and blue colors, so that they were less heated in the rays of the bright African sun.
The Bardo Museum of Tunisia is the premier museum of antiquity, where unique and valuable finds from archaeological excavations throughout the country have been brought in for more than a hundred years. The museum’s exhibition is the richest collection of Roman mosaics and other artifacts, reflecting the history of civilizations in Tunisia over 3 thousand years. Now there are more than 3 hundred mosaics, an extensive collection of marble statues, ancient ceramics, tombstones of priests, terracotta statues and much more.
Dugga is one of the first places to see in Tunisia worth seeing among the ancient ruined cities. Dugga was once a large prosperous city of over 25,000 people, and today it is one of the best preserved archaeological sites in North Africa. Many Roman temples, fountains, water tanks, as well as theaters, markets, aqueducts, necropolises and mausoleums are still preserved in their original state, and even in some places chariot tracks are preserved in the paved streets.
Official site: http://whc.unesco.org/en/
In the northeast of Tunisia, on the Cap Bon Peninsula, lies one of the most important landmarks of Tunisia, the ruins of the ancient city of Kerkouan. Since 1952, excavations at this site have continued unabated. The Punic city, founded between the 6th and 3rd centuries BC, was destroyed by the Romans in 146 BC. What is left of it has been reliably preserved under a thick layer of sand and has come down to this day, giving our contemporaries the chance to see the ancient sites with their own eyes. The city itself was protected from outside attacks by a double wall, and inside was a perfectly organized system of drainage with a multitude of water channels.
The Sahara is one of the most mysterious and at the same time most attractive places in Tunisia. The vast area of the Sahara is desert, but there are nationalities that inhabit these lands in places of oases. Vegetation and fauna in the desert is extremely scarce, but there is something else in the Sahara, which beckons to this region. This is a kind of beauty and charm, which is endowed with sandy plains, dunes, salt lakes, rare oases and unusual local sunsets. Tours of the Sahara, including camel or jeep rides, are most frequent in the early morning hours.
Berber tribes have lived in man-made chalk caves dug into the slopes of the local mountains for more than a millennium and a half. These unusual 1-2-story dwellings are of great interest to visitors, but this way of life in the desert is not a whim, but the only way to escape from the scorching heat of the African sun and the unprecedented differences in temperature during the day. So, in the heat of 40-50 degrees inside the caves there is a comfortable temperature of 20-23 degrees.
On the Tunisian island of Djerba is another interesting attraction in Tunisia, the village of Gellala, also known as the village of potters. The name speaks for itself - this area has been famous since time immemorial for its pottery, clay products and ceramics. This is where you can see how beautiful clay jugs, large dishes and small charming vessels for spices are born. All in all, there are about 450 pottery workshops in the village that have their own secrets for making strong and quality pottery.
In general terms, the medina is a city enclosed by a protective fortress wall. The Tunisian medina is distinguished by the fact that the wall was torn down about 200 years ago as being of no use, and all that was left was a gate. Other distinctive features of the medina of Tunisia - a rounded shape rather than rectangular, as in the classical view, and a mixture of styles - Spanish, Arabic, Turkish and Persian, associated with the construction of different quarters at different times. Tourists are also interested in this area abundance of traditional oriental bazaars.
This classical-style Catholic church was erected in honor of the famous priest Vincent de Paul, who was redeemed from Arab slavery. The majestic building, located on Independence Square in the city of Tunis, is admirable for its exterior decoration and rich interior. The size of the temple is no less astonishing: it is about 80 meters long and almost 30 meters high. A number of artists and sculptors worked on the decoration of the shrine. A special pride of the temple is the organ hall, which houses two powerful instruments, ordered in its time from the great organ builder Aristide Cavaillé-Coll.
This is an important Tunisian landmark in the city of Monastir, a very picturesque building, outwardly imitating a mosque, finished with white marble and stone carvings. Here rests the body of the Tunisian political figure, the famous builder of independence Habib Bourguiba. Not only the exterior decoration but also the interior of the mausoleum is noteworthy: for example, some personal belongings of the president - a desk, a chair and clothes - are kept in the exposition of the museum located here. And the sarcophagus preserving the body of the deceased is installed in a special room on a pedestal.
What to see in Tunisia on the island of Djerba? The Tunisian island is famous for its famous landmark, the El Greib Synagogue in the settlement of Riyadh. There are a great many versions of the founding of the shrine: according to one of them, the priests who escaped from Jerusalem from slavery, took the stone from Solomon’s Temple and put it in the foundation of the future synagogue. Another legend says that on the hill where the synagogue now stands, a beautiful girl used to live in a hut, and some unknown power prevented the inhabitants from approaching her. One night her dwelling caught fire and the girl was killed. The inhabitants realized that the girl was a saint and built a synagogue in her honor. These are not all the legends about the origin of the synagogue, and it is difficult to distinguish between truth and fiction.
Sidi Uqba, 670, is one of the few Muslim mosques where adherents of other faiths are allowed inside. Today it is one of the largest shrines in Tunisia, created through a process of continuous construction over several centuries. In general, each leader in power brought something different to the construction of the mosque. Today, the large space of the mosque includes a large prayer hall, a huge courtyard paved with marble, and a large minaret. The decoration of the mosque and the surrounding areas is characterized by unique methods of decorative work, different from the traditional Byzantine technique.
Official website: http://www.patrimoinedetunisie.
The Olive Mosque, or al-Zaytouna, is the largest mosque of the capital of antiquity. According to belief, on the site where this Tunisian landmark now stands, there grew an olive tree, under which the very first preacher of the future mosque performed his prayer vows. It is believed that construction began in 698 and since then the mosque has undergone many changes. The area occupied by the mosque is about 5 thousand square meters. A library was also founded in the building in 1450 and is located on the left side of the courtyard. In general, the courtyard is the only place in the mosque accessible to people of other faiths.
Official website: http://www.patrimoinedetunisie
In the medina of Sousse on a hill rises the Ribat fortress of 859. It’s square in shape, with a side of 38 meters, and its strong 4-meter-thick defensive walls are 12 meters high. Ribat has a rather complicated history: originally it was a Byzantine fortress, which was later razed to the ground. Later, in the 9th century, was erected a 77-meter tower Khalef al-Fat, which due to its height has served as a lighthouse. It was not until 1063 that the citadel itself was built and its walls were completed by 1205. Today you can visit the archaeological museum in the fortress, which exhibits a large collection of artifacts.
Monastir also has its own fortress, Ribat Hartem of 767, and it didn’t get its final look either. Originally it occupied an area of only about 33 sq.m., but over time it grew and strengthened, and by the 19th century its area was already about 4200 sq.m. Ribat has 3 levels, there are many passages and spiral staircases. At one time Ribat was a religious center and place of pilgrimage, and played a defensive role only a few times. Today inside the fortress you can visit the museum of Islamic art.
On the summit of Cape Bon, about 100 kilometers from Tunis, the Kelibia Fortress, the oldest fortress founded in the 3rd century BC, towers high. The Carthaginians were the first to build the fortress. Today it is the largest surviving fortification in the country. At the base of the fortress there are large stones laid by the Carthaginians, and the upper part is a masonry of natural stone. In the courtyard we can see the remains of a small mosque and a Byzantine fortress, and at the northern extremity of the fortress is a restored chapel.
What to see in Tunisia among the natural monuments? For example, the magnificent Zoo Frigia, located on a large area of 36 hectares between the cities of Sousse and Hammamet. It was founded in 2000 and is executed in the national style - its inhabitants live in large open spaces, not confined in cages. But despite the fact that, in fact, animals live here in the wild, their freedom is only partial: visitors can observe predators only from specially designed decks, and with herbivores - communicate at a palm’s distance.
25 kilometers from Bizerte is a natural nesting place for waterfowl and migratory birds. Because of its location near the densely populated areas of Tunisia this place needed special protection. Thus the Ishköl National Park was created. As early as the 13th century, hunting was forbidden in the local lakes. Today, the park has a large lake of 50 sq km and mountains and hills of limestone on which grow olive and pistachio trees. The hills are home to approximately 180 species of migratory and resident birds, including swans, ducks, flamingos and some rarer species.
This concludes the main list of the best sights, but it’s not all that’s worth visiting in Tunisia.
The list of what to visit in Tunisia can go on endlessly - its sights are more than enough for several trips. After the first vivid acquaintance with the country comes the time of other, no less interesting sights of Tunisia - here are recommendations for their visit.
A huge ridge of the Atlas Mountains stretches along the coast of the African mainland.
For many, a trip to the Atlas Mountains is a chance to enjoy their majestic scenery, take pictures, and see unique species of flora and fauna, some of which live only here. Once upon a time, these mountains were even home to the continent’s only bear species, the Atlas bear, but it is now extinct. The name of the Atlas Mountains comes from Greece, after Atlas, one of the mighty titans. Legend tells us that Atlas was sentenced to the punishment of holding the sky on his shoulders. For this purpose Perseus turned the titan into stone - thus, according to the legend, the mountains of Atlas were formed.
The hospitable island of Djerba has everything you need for a serene holiday on the Mediterranean coast: a great climate that allows you to enjoy the sun and swim most of the year, comfortable hotels, a lot of entertainment options and unique attractions. The island is steeped in olive groves and there are many farms growing dates. The population of Djerba is original - it is just as on the mainland, the Berbers lived here, and the Arab conquerors did not manage to expel these tribes. The Berbers of Djerba are now part of the Ibadite religious community.
In fact, this Tunisian landmark is a saltwater depression in the Sahara Desert. The lake dries up and fills up again throughout the year, and it becomes a body of water in the classical sense only in winter, during the rainy season. In the summer, when the air temperature reaches 50 degrees, it dries up, leaving a thick crust of salt on the surface, which is then covered by dry sand.
A surprising phenomenon in the vicinity of this lake are the “desert roses,” formed from minerals in the soils surrounding the salt marshes. These stone sculptures are really shaped like intricate flowers of various shades.
In addition to a variety of historical sites, Tunisia is known for its colorful markets. One of them is the Souk el-Jouma market, whose main focus is the sale of locally produced ceramics. Tunisian ceramics are sold here at most affordable prices, so many visitors to the country, if they find themselves here, tend to buy something beautiful as a keepsake for yourself or as a gift - a vase, dish, set. In addition to ceramics, you can buy here other local attributes - Berber jewelry, incense, scarves spices and other useful things.
Once upon a time in 1976, it was Tunisia, with its unusual landscapes, that was chosen to film episodes of Star Wars. The country has more than two dozen locations where the famous saga was filmed. The most famous of these places is the town of Matmata, famous for its underground Berber dwellings. In one of these houses and was filming the 4 episodes of the saga, where a lot of sets have been built. In 1995 a fan of the famous movie restored the abandoned scenery and now everyone can see the legendary filming place as it was 40 years ago.
Tunisia, fragrant with aromas of Mediterranean greenery and spicy oriental spices, combines the millennial tradition of Africa and the culture of new Europe. Seaside resorts, amazing natural and man-made attractions of Tunisia will surprise any fan of exotic vacation on the African mainland. Read also about the best sights of Algeria and get inspired for your future journey to Africa!