Tunisia is a beautiful country in North Africa, often known as the first capital of the Maghreb countries. Therefore, the country has a relatively deep past. Beyond its rich and unique history, there are many facts about Tunisia worth exploring.
Common Facts About Tunisia
Tunisia, officially known as the Republic of Tunisia, has a population of around 12.3 million people.
The country is recognized as the African continent’s northernmost nation. It boasts a lengthy coastline, an interesting history, and incredible old ruins. If you ever decide to visit this lovely nation, you should know some of these facts about Tunisia.
Several countries in Africa are prone to armed conflicts and civil/social unrest. Always double check the latest situations from both your government and the local government advisories.
Historical Facts On Tunisia
Land Of Carthage
Tunisia is overseen by many empires and reigns over the years. The Carthage is believed to be the first ever people to inhabit present-day Tunisia.
In ancient times the Carthage empire was considered one of the most powerful empires. Ultimately it was annihilated by the Roman empire.
An interesting fact about Tunisia’s Carthage in 300 BC is its status as one of the world’s most prominent cities. It was estimated that at least 700,000 people lived within its borders.
This was one of the most luxurious cities in the classical world. It hosted one of the most influential trading hubs of the ancient Mediterranean region.
Here’s a Tunisia fact you probably didn’t know. It was one of the most influential trade routes in the world and a regional power in Africa before it was integrated as a member of the Ottman Empire in 1574.
Located in the Maghreb region of North Africa, the country is surrounded by Algeria, Libya, and the Mediterranean Sea.
Its proximity to the Mediterranean Sea makes it part of a strategic shipping route, thereby giving the nation a strong influence in the region.
There are many cities with immense significance to Muslims, but did you know? Kairouan in Tunisia holds great importance to Muslims. Like Mecca in Saudi Arabia, Medina, and Jerusalem, in Islam, Kairouan is deemed one of the holiest cities.
You may be wondering why this city, which happens to be a UNESCO world heritage site, is special. Kairouan is the first Islamic capital in the Maghreb. The city was founded by Uqba Ibn Nafi in 670 CE.
It became prominent in the 9th century as a powerful trading hub and an Islamic Scholarship center. Kairouan became famous when it was ruled by Aghlabid and built many of its beautiful monuments.
Independence In Tunisia
Tunisia gained independence from France on the 20th of March, 1956. The independence of Tunisia was led by Habib Bourguiba through the separatist movement.
The French took over the region of Tunisia in 1881. They wanted to exercise their authority by surpassing the British and Italian influence in the region. At the time, they already had influence over Tunisia’s neighbor Algeria.
But with the help of the separatist movement, Habib was able to negotiate the country’s independence. The national day of Tunisia is the 20th of March. However, the 25th of July is the republic day in Tunisia, as the country became a republic on that date in 1957.
This is one of the important yet not so known facts about Tunisia. The famous Arab Spring, which rocked the Maghreb and some parts of the middle east between 2010-2012, started in Tunisia.
The Arab Spring was a revolution against the government because of corruption and economic stagnation. It is hard to say whether the revolution was successful in all participating countries, although many rulers were deposed at the time.
Regardless, the revolution started in Tunisia and spread widely across Libya, Egypt, Yemen, and Syria, among many other countries. It led to many uprisings and civil wars, with large street demonstrations in some countries. Ultimately, the government rule in Tunisian got better.
Useful Facts About Tunisia For Tourists
Because of the country’s long coastline, there are many amazing beaches in Tunisia. The beach in Hammet is a great example. Hammet is a beautiful city in Tunisia, about an hour’s drive from the country’s capital, Tunis.
The beach has white sands with crystal clear waters, an incredible area to unwind. It has warm waters, providing a cool place to bathe. Beyond that, the water has good marine life, making it a great place to enjoy snorkeling or scuba diving.
Brado National Museum
Here is a cool fact about Tunisia, it houses the second-largest museum in Africa. Only Egypt has a bigger museum in Africa “Grand Egyptian Museum.”
Brado museum is located in Tunis, the capital of the country. It showcases the history and struggles of the country. On your travels to Tunisia, make sure to visit this insightful museum.
You get to see some amazing artifacts from the stone age era and embrace the country’s history. Some of the archaeological artifacts there are suggested to be over 200,000. Most of which were discovered in Kebili, a former palace of Tunisia’s rulers.
How about this for a cool fact about Tunisia? It is home to the northernmost part of Africa, “Cape Angela.” Cape Angela wasn’t originally the northernmost part of Tunisia; it used to be Cape Blanc.
Cape Angela is a rocky headland in the country, and its tip, “Ras Ben Sakka”, is said to be the northernmost part of the country and the entire continent of Africa. It took the title from Cape Blanc in 2014.
Cape Angela in Tunisia is a good location for hiking and meditation, and it’s worth a visit on your trip to Tunisia.
National Parks In Tunisia
Tunisia is one of Africa’s top 5 countries with the highest number of National Parks. The country has 17 National Parks featuring diverse wildlife.
The most famous of the 17 national parks in Tunisia is the Ichkeul National Park. This park hosts a large migration of birds. During this migration, you can spot a lot of geese, flamingos, and ducks, among many majestic birds.
This bird migration is always during winter, from November to February. So if you want to catch this nature phenom, plan a trip around that period.
Did you know that the 3rd largest Roman ruin can be found in Tunisia? That is one of the many fun facts about Tunisia. The amphitheater in El Djem is one of the biggest in the world; it is just a little smaller than the famous Colosseum in Rome.
The El Djem amphitheater was built around 238 AD, with a capacity of around 35,000. This theatre is a symbol of the Roman empire. It has been a UNESCO world heritage site since 1979.
The most impressive fact about the amphitheater is that it has axes over 400 ft high at different corners. Interestingly, the town around the theatre is small, with short houses, meaning you can spot this iconic Tunisia landmark from many miles away.
Cultural Fun Facts Of Tunisia
No Domestic Violence
In Tunisia, women are protected well, with many laws in their favor. Women in Tunisia have the right to get land as an inheritance and pass on their nationality to their children.
Domestic violence in Tunisia is a big crime. The first ever legislation law the Tunisian government passed was the law eliminating violence against women. This law criminalizes domestic abuse of any sort.
First Arab Country To Ban Polygamy
This is quite a surprising fact about Tunisia. Considering it is a Muslim-dominant country, it’s a surprise that polygamy is expressly prohibited in the country.
Based on the Koran, a Muslim man is permitted to marry more than 1 wife. He can marry 4 if he can deal justly with them all. However, a Muslim woman is only entitled to one man at a time.
Tunisia made history in 1956, becoming the first Arab country to ban polygamy. In Tunisia, you will face punishment if you have more than one wife.
Languages In Tunisia
Considering Tunisia is a member of the Maghreb (North African Countries), it is no surprise that the official language in Tunisia is Arabic.
But Arabic is not the only language spoken in Tunisia. Because of its history with France, French is one of the common languages in Tunisia. Although Tunisian Arabic and English are also widely spoken in the country.
Couscous The National Dish
The national dish in Tunisia is couscous (kosksi), but like many African countries, Tunisia has so many amazing delicacies. A perfect blend of Punics-Berber and Mediterranean cuisines is the best way to describe traditional Tunisian food.
Because of the country’s proximity to the Mediterranean Sea, most Tunisian cuisine is based on seafood. Although meat, tomatoes, olive oil, and many spices like paprika are stable in Tunisian cuisine.
Couscous is a food derived from semolina; it’s more like pasta but in small granules form. It is a popular dish in many North African countries like Libya and Algeria. The meal is served with meat and vegetable stew.
Red The Mourning Color
Every culture has different colors of mourning and funeral clothing. In many western cultures, black is preferred. In some African cultures, white is the choice of color for mourning clothing.
Countries like Iran and Thailand have blue and yellow mourning clothes. In Tunisia, though, the preferred color is red. However, this tradition is not unique to Tunisia. Countries like Ghana and South Africa also prefer red as their choice color for mourning clothing.
Geographical Tunisia Facts For Kids
Tunis is the capital of Tunisia. It is also the largest city in the country. Tunis has a total land area of 212.6 square km.
The capital city is known for some of its golden beaches and its warm people. Without surprise, it is the hub of the country’s economy. In addition, Tunis serves as both the administrative and political center of Tunisia.
This is one of many beautiful cities in Tunisia with interesting things to check out. Here is one Tunisia fact that seems like trivia. Before AC (air conditioners) and fans were invented, people needed a way to escape the scorching sun, and Tunisians had a brilliant way of doing that.
In Matmata, a small town in Tunisia, you get to see some underground houses. These houses are not modern classic houses with all the sophisticated technologies integrated.
Berber-speaking people originally inhabited Matmata. It was their small innovation of escaping the scorching desert sun of the Sahara.
Although most Tunisian buildings are above the ground, Matmata people still prefer to live in their underground houses.
Tunisia is ranked 12th among the 38 African nations having coastlines. It has a reasonable coastline of 1200 km and hence several gorgeous beaches. You will find some of the best beaches in Africa here as well.
You wouldn’t be faulted for assuming the African continent is more of a desert than anything. Although not every African nation is in a desert, many African nations play host to one desert or another.
That said, almost every North African nation features some part of the largest desert in the world – The Sahara Desert. And Tunisia is no different, you will be able to visit some parts of the Sahara Desert in this country.
Mount Jebel Ech Chambi
At 5,066 feet above sea level, Mount Jebel ech Chambi in Qasrayn is the highest point in Tunisia. The mountain is part of the Chambi national park and is covered in pine forests.
One important piece of information about Tunisia that is not so cool is that the pine forest in Chambi is speculated to be a hideout for terrorists. However, the Tunis Armies are allying with the Algerian armies to find a way of dealing with the terrorist situation in that forest.
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Other Interesting Facts About Tunisia
Star Wars And Tunisia
Did you know? Some scenes of the Star Wars movie were shot in this country. This is one of the many fun facts about Tunisia.
Many parts of the country were used as settings for the series of Star Wars movies. Only “Episode V, The Empire Strikes Back” didn’t have a scene from Tunisia. Places like Djerba, Tataouine, and Matamata are famous locations where the movie was filmed.
Agriculture In Tunisia
Agriculture plays a reasonable part in the country’s economy. It is estimated that around 65% of the total land area in Tunisia was used for agriculture.
Some of the country’s main export include dates, potatoes, grapes, figs, tomatoes, and citrus, although the main export is olive oil.
Here is an interesting statistic about agriculture in Tunisia. About 70 to 80% of the food energy consumed in Tunisia comes from non-native Tunisian crops. Also, compared to other Maghreb, only 16% of the workforce in Tunisia works in agriculture.
Agriculture input in the country’s economy has witnessed a steady 2% rise for a few years now, accounting for 12% of the country’s GDP.
Here is an important demographic of Tunisia. The fertility rate in the country has witnessed a great decline over the years.
In 1973, the fertility rate in Tunisia stood at 6.2 birth per woman. Fast forward to 2022, the fertility rate in Tunisia stands at 2.1 birth per woman.
The decline in fertility rate can be accredited to many factors like family planning, familiarizing contraceptives, and the abolishment of polygamy.
National Sport In Tunisia
Like most African countries, football (soccer) is the most popular sport in the country and is considered the national sport in Tunisia.
Although Tunisians enjoy other sports like handball, volleyball, and basketball, football is still the dominant sport. Tunisia’s men’s national team is nicknamed the “Eagles of Carthage.”
Football is loved by Tunisians and is even followed by many who don’t understand the game’s rules. The Eagles of Carthage have qualified for the FIFA world cup six times, including the most recent one in 2022. As the host, they also won the AFCON (African cup of Nations) once in 2004.
Arts In Tunisia
Tunisia has a lot to offer regarding arts and visuals that are interesting to dive into. The art in Tunisia is laced with ruins of an ancient civilization. Tunisia has a case to plead as one of the most important places to study world archaeology and architecture.
There are many important historical sites in Tunisia. Al-Zaytunah, a mosque in Tunis built in the 8th century, the remains of the ancient city of Carthage, many roman ruins, and the important city of Kairouan, which houses the Great Mosque, Uqbah Ibn Nafi.
The Tunisian Flag
The flag of Tunisia is a bicolor flag with red and white. The background is red, while it has a white disc carrying an image of a red crescent and star in the middle.
It is believed that the star and Crescent were symbols of Carthage, but it is more associated with Muslim countries.
El Ghriba Synagogue
Did you know this exciting fact about Tunisia? It houses the oldest synagogue in Africa. The El Ghriba synagogue, built on a site of a Jewish temple over 2000 years ago, is suggested to be the oldest synagogue in Africa.
El Ghriba is one of the most popular destinations for the sacred Lag B’Omer. Every year in May, Jewish worshippers worldwide embark on a pilgrimage journey to El Ghriba as a part of the Lag B’Omer festival. It’s a festival that marks the 33rd after the Jewish Passover has started.
Discovering More Fun Facts About Tunisia
Tunisia is a country rich in culture and history, from its national sports to its important archaeological sites. It’s these interesting facts about Tunisia that make the country so special, and why it remains such an intriguing place for travelers looking to explore something new.
There is much to be discovered in Tunisia, with its deep traditions and exciting landmarks. You can embark on an adventure to the country when you get a chance, and uncover more fascinating facts about Tunisia!