Tunisia is quickly becoming one of the most sought after destinations for all types of travelers. Many might consider the capital city of Tunis nothing more than a gateway to the country’s coastal resorts, nothing could be further from the truth. A stroll through Tunis’ varied and vibrant streets on holidays to Tunisia can reveal the city’s fascinating past and present; all against the backdrop of some of the finest urban settings that any tourist could hope to find.
Stepping into history
Tunis is home to several cultural attractions that date from ancient times. The UNESCO World Heritage-protected Medina is home to labyrinthine streets which are perfect for wandering. The Islamic architecture in Medina is world-renowned and while some visitors may opt to amble, there are walking tours available that stop in at some of the area’s most significant historical sites. The more modern city-scapes throughout Tunis boast rich colors, textures, sounds and smells that come together to create a collection of cultural influences which form a modern context.
Engaging with the spirit
Tunis is an important religious destination and has been for centuries. For those interested in getting to the heart of the matter, The Zitouna Mosque stands dead center in the heart of Medina and has played a significant role in the religious development of Tunisia since 732AD. The mosque was rebuilt in the ninth century and the refurbishment included incorporating 200 Roman pillars that were brought in from the nearby ruins of Carthage. While the calls to prayer float through the air of Tunis, the connection between city and religious spirit is alive and well and worth investigating.
Taking in the culture
One of the city’s most enjoyable activities borrows from Turkish culture. Hammams (or Turkish baths) are located throughout the city and most are open for men in the morning and women in the afternoon. To experience an authentic Tunisian hammam, head to a local bath that has managed to avoid the trappings of a modern facelift. The charm of any hammam lies in its authenticity, and these are some of the best places to get a real taste of life in Tunis and the people that call it home. Just don’t forget a towel.
Tunis is a largely underrated city. With world-class museums, cultural heritage sites and delicious food, visitors can experience many facets of Tunisian life simply by wandering the city’s streets. Some might say it’s the best way to discover a travel.