Where is Tunisia? This is the question I hear the most when I declare Tunisia as one of my “must visit destinations”. So where is Tunia? And why would anyone want to go on holidays to Tunisia?
Tunisia is a country in Northern Africa, and lies immediately south to Italy and Malta. It is an islamic country with a fairly well developed tourism infrastructure. So why have you not heard of Tunisia before? Well, if you are interested in history, then you probably have heard of it by its previous name. Tunisia was the original Carthaginian empire.
Top Historical and Archeological Sites To Visit In Tunisia
Monastir is a town on the central coast of Tunisia. It is best known for it’s well preserved Ribat – a fortified monastary. The Ribat may be most familiar to some people as one of the filming locations for Monty Pytons, Life of Brian, and most of the ruins are open for the public to explore and maybe even re enact your favourite scenes from the film.
Sfax is located on the east coast of Tunisia and is most famous for it’s archeological museum. This museum is one of the best in the country and contains an impressive collection of mosaics from the region. The town is also famous for being one of the filming locatios for The English Patient.
Sousse is one of the oldest cities in Tunisia, and is a popular sea side resort due to it’s location on the Mediteranean. It is also renowned for containing one of the oldest authentic medinas in the region and has been delcared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Another historical site in Sousse worth visiting is the Great Mosque. Built in 850 AD, the mosque is still in use so do dress modestly if you wish to visit.
Just 15 km’s north of the capital of Tunis is the ancient city of Carthage. Carthage was originally a Phoenician city and was famous for it’s general Hannibal who waged war with the Romans. Unfortunatley for him, Hannibal was unsuccessful and Carthage was conquered by the Romans and declared the capital of the Roman province of Africa. The city is now a UNESCO world heritage site.
There are lots and lots of ruins to explore in Carthage – and you will want to budget your time accordingly. Some of the main historical sites to see are the Antonin Baths and the Basilica of Saint-Cyprien.
The Antonin Baths are the largest ruins of Roman baths located outside of Rome. The site also includes an old Punic cemetary, some housess, a chapel, and many other ruins – and it may be worthwhile to hire a guide to interpret them all for you.
The Basilica of Saint-Cyprien is a historic Christian temple which offers fantastic views out to the sea. It makes a great picnic stop and admission is free.
Dougga is in the north of Tunisia and contains yet another UNESCO world heritage site. Dougga contains the ruins of an ancient Roman town spanning over 65 hectares. The site is rather large and contains many impressive archeologiacl finds, so allow yourself a sufficient amount of time to explore.
One of the best preserved Roman amphitheaters in the world is located in El Jem. This small town in the east of Tunisia contains yet another UNESCO world heritage site. Entrance to the amphiteathre also includes entry to the adjacent museum which includes a large collection of mosaics. You may recoginize the amphiteatre from the film Gladiator as well.