The capital city of Tunisia, Tunis is also the most populated. Although, if you were to compare this city with other capitals you would discover that the population here is scarcer. With about two million people within the metropolitan area, the city is situated in the north east corner of Tunisia along the shoreline of Lake Tunis, or El Bahira in its Arabic version. The lake is actually a natural lagoon which is connected to the Gulf of Tunis through a canal.
The city is extremely old as some historical data points out that people used to live here in settlements during the second millennium BC. The old name of the city is Tunes and it is believed to have been founded by the Berber tribes living in the area. The history of the city shows that the city was overtaken by Numidians, and after that by Phoenicians that came here from Carthage. Berbers did not give up on the city and they took it back for a while. Tunis was also taken over by Greeks and then again by Carthaginians. The Carthaginian Empire included Tunis up to the point when the Romans destroyed the empire. The Roman ruler Augustus chose to rebuild the city, and Tunis was considered the second in importance to the area after Carthage.
The rich history of the place can be witnessed through the many places you can visit while in Tunis. Some of the most important sites are the Mosque of the Olive, also known by its name Aghlabid Ez-Zitouna Mosque, a palace called Dar-al-Bey, and the ruins of the old Carthage that can be explored after a short trip towards north-east.
A place where you can learn more about the history of the place is the Bardo Museum. The museum is housed by a 13th century palace where an Ottoman ruler named Bey used to live. There are many items showcased here, but the most important are Roman mosaics. The art collection contains items that illustrate the history of Tunis from prehistoric times till the Ottoman rule. Roman items are displayed next to Arabian object, so you can get a better feel of the mixed culture of the place.
Another museum you may want to visit is Dar Ben Abdallah. It is sheltered by an 18th century palace. This interesting museum holds many exhibits dating back to the Ottoman era such as costumes, furniture and pieces of faience.
The colonial era of Tunis can be experienced by a visit to the Cathedral of St. Vincent de Paul. Dating to the end of the nineteenth century, the architecture of the place is reminiscent of the neo-Romanesque style.
The largest mosque in the country is Zitouna Mosque and is located in Tunis. Over one millennium old, the mosque attracts people from all over the world. If you are a non-Muslim, you will not be allowed inside the mosque, only inside the courtyard and only if you are properly dressed.
Places to Visit in Tunis is a travel guide from Tripopedia, a travel encyclopedia. Learn about things to do in Tunis, places to see and places to eat.