Tunisia trip report

 

Tunisia



Tunisia was Rome's breadbasket, and the cultural riches the Romans left behind are more than enough reason to visit. Add to that the Arab history which bestowed the country with some of the region's most beautiful examples of Islamic architecture. And if you ask the millions of Russians you will encounter, Tunisia has great beaches too.

 

Sidi Bousaid

Cute and amazingly photogenic, Sidi Bou Said is a clifftop village full of whitewashed alleyways and colorful blue doors. It's Tunisian village architecture at its finest, with the Mediterranean backdrop a proverbial cherry on top.


 

Monastir

Monastir, also called Mistīr, is a city on the central coast of Tunisia. Traditionally a fishing port, Monastir is now a major tourist resort.


 

El Jem

El Djem or El Jem is a town in the center of Tunisia. It is home to some of the most impressive Roman remains in Africa, particularly the world-famous "Amphitheater of El Jem", the 2nd largest colosseum in the world.


 

Medinine

Medenine is the major town in south-eastern Tunisia on the main route to Libya. In pre-colonial times, Medenine was already the most important trading centre, attracting merchants from all over North Africa and even from the south of the Sahara. The Ksar housed the central granaries of the various nomadic Berber tribes of the region.


 

Tataouine - Ksar Ouled Soltane - Chenini

Tataouine is a city in southern Tunisia. The below-ground "cave dwellings" of the native Berber population, designed for coolness and protection, render the city and the area around it a filmaker's playground.
In the heart of an arid landscape of mountains, plateaux and craggy peaks, the impressive architecture of Ksars surges up. A ksar is a collection of "beehives", lost in the middle of nowhere. These desert castles used to be rallying points for semi-nomads of the area who stored their crops away from thieves, in hollow spaces called ghorfas built on top of another. Ksar Ouled Soltane is one of the best preserved Ksar. Other Ksar villages include Chenini, perched on prohibitive peaks. Its ruined ghorfas merge with the moutain tops and homes are partly dug out of the rock face.


 

Toujane - Matmata

Toujane is a mountain village that is divided into two parts by a valley. On both sides of the deep valley, the mountains quickly rise to dramatic summits.
Matmata rose to fame thanks to its underground houses that cut into the rocky desert. The troglodytes as they're called, were barely known until 1967, when the town immediately became a major tourist attraction. Some of the cave houses go down as far as 30 feet and are said to date as far back as the 4th century BC. The Berber inhabitants use earthen steps and rope ladders to make their way between the levels of the caves and use passageways to wend their way between rooms.


 

Chott el Djerid - Tozeur - Shabikah

Chott el Djerid one of the largest lake and salt pan in the Sahara Desert. The lake dries up in summer, but repenished with new rain waters in winter that amazes with its white, green and purple colors.
Tozeur is a charming city that is based around a large Oasis famous for its palm trees and production of dates. Tozeur was historically an important stopping point for caravans crossing the Sahara, a place to rest and refuel before heading deeper into the desert.
An hour's drive from Tozeur, Shabikah is an oasis at the foot of ancient abandoned homes.


 

Kairouan

With mosques, madrassas, and tombs aplenty, Kairouan is an inspiring city of Arabic architecture here is truly inspiring. With narrow, maze-like lanes lined with crumbling colorful houses, Kairouan's medina has an enchanting, lost-in-time atmosphere.


 

Tunis

Tunis is an interesting mix of new and old, including colonial french buildings. Its main draw is the bustling and atmospheric old quarter of the city. When in Tunis, avoid Hotel Roma at all costs, unless you want to be served as buffet for the bed bugs.


 

Itinerary

I rented a car from "Free Rent a Car", which is a misnomer since it's obviously not free. Not only they were late in delivering the car, they insisted on a mandatory cash payment for "cleaning", even though the car was delivered unclean. Then after I returned the car, they sneakily took an inexplicable 85TND from my card without giving any explanations.
My itinerary on Google Maps