Tunis (تونس) is the capital of Tunisia. With a population of around two million inhabitants, the entire city feels sprawling and somewhat chaotic. There are quite a few must-see attractions, especially if you include the ruins of Carthage, which are easily accessed from here, and the Punic ports are interesting, too. Tunis is an interesting mix of new and old, including colonial French buildings. The souq and the medina are among the most authentic and hassle-free in North Africa.
Located on the Mediterranean coast but lacking much in the way of beaches, Tunis has been spared the onslaught of package tourism to the resorts to the north and south. Downtown is located about 10 km from the sea, at the bank of Lake Tunis. Tunis started out as a modest village compared to cities like Carthage, Kairouan and Madhiga. It eventually became the capital of the Almohad Caliphate in 1159, and has been conquered by various Muslim and Christian empires after that. Tunis has been the capital of Tunisia since the independence in 1956, and is today the commercial and cultural heart of Tunisia as well as the most important traffic hub.
Tunis is divided into the World Heritage Listed old city, known as the medina, and the new city, or ville nouvelle in French. Ave Habib Bourguiba is the large avenue running through the new city from the clock tower to the Cathedral of St Vincent de Paul. It then turns into Ave de France, which runs for a few blocks until ending at the Place de la Victoire and the Port de France, a large free-standing gate that used to be the entrance to the medina. This can be a good landmark for taxi drivers, as some of the smaller streets nearby aren't sure to be known by the driver. Read more