Travel Guide in Tunisia

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This Tunisia Travel Guide will introduce one of the most relaxed countries in the Arab World. Sandwiched between Libya and Algeria, Tunisia is on the Mediterranean coast of Africa. The interior of the nation is composed of desert sand, which was the setting for high profile movies such as The English Patient and Star Wars. There are tour companies that will take visitors to the exact locations where these films were shot. Tunisia has a developed infrastructure and there are many services in place to make visitors feel comfortable. Here is more information about this inviting country.

A Brief History of Tunisia

Tunisia gained its independence from France in 1956. Recorded history began when Phoenicians settled in the country around 1100 B.C. Their capital city, Carthage, became the dominant power in the western Mediterranean by the sixth century. Naturally, this attracted the attention of the Romans and they sacked Carthage after the Third Punic War in 146 B.C. After the Roman Empire collapsed Tunisia was in the hands of different conquerors, including the Vandals, Byzantines, Arabs and the Ottoman Turks, until the French made Tunisia a protectorate in the 1880s. Tunisia became a republic in 1957 and the country maintains close ties with Europe.

Things to See and Do

Tunisia is known for its beach resorts, and is popular with sun-seeking Europeans. Tunis is the capital and it's a modern Arab center. However, Tunisia's colonial past still has a powerful presence in the city. The Bardo Museum has an impressive collection of Roman mosaics and there are sections that cover the Punic, early Christian and Islamic periods. The ruins of ancient Carthage will be appreciated by history buffs. El Jem is a town 80 km south of Sousse and it's famous for the giant amphitheater—one of the country's most amazing sights. It could seat 30,000 people and its purpose wasn't much different from its Roman equivalent. Matmata is a must see for visitors. It's the name of the Berber tribe who live underground in troglodyte houses, some of which have been turned into hotels.

Food and Drinks

Tunisian cuisine has been influenced by centuries of colonization. Dishes include couscous (ground semolina served with meat or vegetables), tajine (a kind of quiche but different from the Moroccan variety) and mechouia (grilled vegetable salad). Tunisian cuisine is spicy and dishes often come with harissa, a chili and garlic condiment. Coriander, aniseed, saffron, cumin and cinnamon are used liberally in many Tunisian foods. Unlike other Islamic countries, alcohol is not prohibited. Tunisia produces its fair share of beers and wines. Mint tea served with pine nuts is Tunisia's signature beverage.

Visas and Health

Entry requirements for British, Canadian and U.S. citizens are straightforward. Residents of those countries will need a valid passport and can stay up to three months without a visa. However, Australian nationals do need a visa. Residents of the Czech Republic, Estonia and Lithuania who are traveling independently also require a visa to enter Tunisia. Health insurance would be advisable and visitors should only drink bottled water.

 

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