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Introduction
Introduction

1. Beach holidays

2. Desert and oases

3. The empty mountains

4. Carthage and Romans

5. Islamic times

6. Berber sensations





















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INTRODUCTION
Africa, Carthage and much more

Sidi Ali el-Mekki

Sidi Ali el-Mekki


El-Jem

El-Jem


Tunis

Tunis


Ksar Ouled Soltane

Ksar Ouled Soltane



Tunisia was once called Africa; it is from this small country on the northern tip of the continent that the rest has its name. Carthage is the other central name linked to Tunisia, Carthage challenged Rome for control of the Mediterranean. First with the defeat of Carthage, the history of the Roman Empire begins.
Islam was introduced with great brutality to Tunisia from the 7th century, causing the same stagnation as in all other Muslim countries. Still, Tunisia today is a positive exception in the modern Muslim world, having industries, export and a welfare state that is not based upon great oil revenues.
Visitors to Tunisia will be pleasantly surprised by the high level of infrastructure at all levels. In short, your mobile phone works anywhere, buses and trains leave on time, there is always water in the tap and electricity is never cut.
Tunisia attracts today mainly visitors looking for a good time of sunbathing and relaxing. It is not quite Spain or Italy, but Tunisia is a very good destination for just that. Especially if you use some of your time to see a bit of the country, its culture and history. Almost all tourist cities have medinas, suuqs and sights, so you can most likely cover this walking.
Since infrastructure is so good, all you need to do to be travelling around the country is deciding where (which LookLex helps you with), bring a map and your wallet. Organized trips are arranged anywhere, but these are quite stressed, it seems that all tour buses are out on the road already at 8.00 in the morning. Driving is highly recommended, car rental is easy, and driving is no problem, as long as you stay away from the highways. Other options are buses, trains, shared taxis or rented taxis, which are all very affordable. In particular, you will be shocked to see how cheap a rented taxi can be.
Travelling around Tunisia, the highlights are either the desert and the oases, the unique Berber villages of the south of troglodytes (underground houses) or ghurfas (cubed buildings that have been used several times for the Star Wars movies). Tunisia has many excellent Roman ruins, while Carthaginian ruins are far less in number. There are also several interesting Islamic sites; Tunisia makes a credible claim of being the home to the very first minaret in the world, built about 100 years after the death of Muhammad, the founder of Islam. It can be seen in Kairouan.
Food is another attraction to Tunisia, although this is something that will disappoint at least as often as thrill you. Well-prepared Tunisian cooking is excellent, in particular fish and salads. But today, far too many restaurants may look nice but the chef in the kitchen is not terribly inspired. Or untalented; Tunisia still suffer from the cousin curse (you start a business, soon your mother is all over you to hire your unemployed, unskilled cousin). I have found over and over again that tour book recommendations, like those of Rough Guide and Lonely Planet, miss the target about which restaurants to visit and not. So, what you should do is ask for recommendations from locals and travellers you meet.




By Tore Kjeilen