If you ever wondered what a place looks like after roughly three millenniums of foreign occupation, the capital city of Tunisia would be the place to go. Among the wealthiest and most important Arab cities from the 12th to the 16th centuries, Tunis has actually been independent – and thriving — since the French let it go in 1956, but that ended nearly 3,000 years of occupation by the Phoenicians, the Romans and the Byzantines, the Turks and then the Spanish and, finally, the French.
Given that list of colonial and conquering powers, it shouldn’t come as a great surprise that Tunis mixes cultural influences like a good stew. Tunisia sits on the Mediterranean, and visitors will certainly notice strong African influences, such as traditional clothing, often juxtaposed with clothes and behaviors that might be more common in great European cities such as Rome or Paris.
At the center of the city, not far from the grand Avenue Habib Bourguiba, known as the Tunisian Champs-Elysees, the ancient medina invites visitors to explore its dense maze of alleys and passages, where you can see, taste, feel and haggle over food, produce, trinkets and treasures. Tunis also provides easy access to Carthage, where three wars with the Romans and another with the Greeks pretty thoroughly erased a city’s history, although researchers are still striving to uncover more clues. Also be sure to visit Sid Bou Said, with its blue and white sugar cube houses perched on the hillside overlooking the sea.
Avid Cruiser Posts, Photographs and Videos Featuring Tunisia.