Medina of Tunis

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Tunis Medina Entrance

Tunis Medina Entrance
Tunis (c) Linda Garrison

The Tunis Medina (Old Town) is a fascinating place to learn more about this north African city, which is the capital of Tunisia. The 9th century Medina was originally surrounded by walls. Today the walls are gone, but the area is filled with narrow streets, souks, mosques, and historic structures. The Tunis Medina became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979 and has over 700 monuments dating back to the Almohad and the Hafsid periods of Tunisian history.

Cruise ships docked at La Goulette often include a tour of Tunis as a shore excursion option. These tours include a walk around the Medina and one of the enclosed souks (shopping areas). The city tours also will travel to the Bardo National Museum, which has the world's largest collection of Roman mosaics. Tourists might also choose to visit Sidi Bou Said, a small town near La Goulette and the remains of Carthage.

While in the Medina, we visited a Berber carpet shop in the souk, where we learned more about the beautiful rugs made in Tunisia. We also climbed the stairs to the roof of the shop, where the views of the Medina and Tunis were beautiful.

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Medina of Tunis

Medina of Tunis
Tunis (c) Linda Garrison

This view of the old town of Tunis from the rooftop of one of the shops in the souk shows the white monochromatic look of the Medina.  

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Tunis and the Atlas Mountains

Tunis and the Atlas Mountains
Tunis (c) Linda Garrison

Tunis, the capital of Tunisia, sits between the Mediterranean and the Atlas Mountains. This photo was taken from the roof of a Berber rug shop in the Medina.

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View of the Medina of Tunis

View of the Medina of Tunis
Tunis (c) Linda Garrison

The newer part of Tunis, which has over 2 million residents, features skyscrapers and other modern buildings.

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05 of 15

Medina of Tunis - Cathedral of St. Vincent de Paul

Medina of Tunis - Cathedral of St. Vincent de Paul
Tunis (c) Linda Garrison

The Cathedral of St. Vincent de Paul is a late 19th century Roman Catholic cathedral in Tunis. When Tunisia was a part of France, many residents were Catholic. After the country gained its independence in 1956, the number of Roman Catholics in Tunis decreased, and many churches were either shut down or transferred to the Tunisian government. However, this cathedral is still owned by the Catholic Church.

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Al-Zaytuna Mosque in the Medina of Tunis

Al-Zaytuna Mosque in the Medina of Tunis
Tunis (c) Linda Garrison

The Al-Zaytuna Mosque is also known as the Mosque of Olive in Tunis. Al-Zatunya features columns from the original city of Carthage.

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Medina of Tunis - Souk Rug Shop

Medina of Tunis - Souk Rug Shop
Tunis (c) Linda Garrison

A tour of a souk is not complete without a stop at a rug shop. This one in Tunis specializes in Berber rugs.

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Tailors in a Souk in the Medina of Tunis

Tailors in a Souk in the Medina of Tunis
Tunis (c) Linda Garrison

These tailors were hard at work as we walked by their shop in the Tunis souk. 

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Souk in the Medina of Tunis

Souk in the Medina of Tunis
Tunis (c) Linda Garrison

The souk in Tunis is like those in many other locales--narrow passageways and many small shops in a covered building. 

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Wall Mosaics in Tunis

Wall Mosaics in Tunis
Tunis (c) Linda Garrison

 I love the way mosaics are used to decorate walls and floors. These aren't as old as the mosaics in the Bardo National Museum, but they add a bit of color to the walls.

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Tunisia Ministry of Finance in Tunis

Tunisia Ministry of Finance in Tunis
Tunis (c) Linda Garrison

Like the IRS in the United States, the Tunisia Ministry of Finance is responsible for collecting taxes.

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Tunis City Hall

Tunis City Hall
Tunis (c) Linda Garrison

 The City Hall of Tunis was built in the late 1990's and is located on Kasbah Square. 

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Trimmed Trees near the Medina of Tunis

Trimmed Trees near the Medina of Tunis
Tunis (c) Linda Garrison

These trees in Tunis are trimmed so carefully they almost look like boxwood hedges.

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Tunis City Hall Garden

Tunis City Hall Garden
Tunis (c) Linda Garrison

 The City Hall gardens are lovely to stroll around and enjoy the fountains and flowers.

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Tunis Lighthouse

Tunis Lighthouse
Tunis (c) Linda Garrison

This lighthouse on a rocky island could easily be mistaken for New England; however, it is in the Mediterranean Sea near Tunis.

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