Tunisi: cosa vedere nell'antica Cartagine

What to see in Tunis: the guide of ancient Carthage

A city with a vibrant heart, where different languages ​​and cultures mix: Arabs, African, European. It is like the perfect mix of a recipe: many different ingredients make up a special dish; just remove even one of its elements to lose the pleasant taste of that whole. This is the historic and bitter enemy ofRoman Empire. So here’s the guide on what see in Tunis, the ancient Carthage to take a journey through our history and that of Mediterranean.

Not even when it was destroyed did it lose its soul. On the contrary. To find it still today, just slip into the labyrinth and sprawl medinain the tortuous maze of alleys and “souks”Leading to the mosque of Al-Zeytouna. It is a very old mosque, built in 732 BC by the dynasty of the Umayyads largely using the material coming from their own ruins of Carthageincluding 160 of its 184 columns.
There city ​​of Dido it is still today a beating heart and a trip to Tunis will let you find out.

Tunis: what to see in ancient Carthage

What to see in Tunis: the Gateway to France

One of the main access routes to Tunis is the Bab Bhar, also known as the “Gateway to France”. It is all that remains of the ancient walls that protected the city. It stands majestically at the end of Avenue de France and marks the entrance to the area of ​​the Medinaalso separating the oldest part of the city from the new one.

Originally the Bab Bhar – which in Tunisian means “door of the sea” – looked right towards the sea; in 1860, however, it was demolished to create the gate we know today. Just cross it to find yourself immersed in the typical world of Arab markets of the Tunisian capital. Inside the Medina there is also the Dar Ben Abdallah Museuma small cultural gem that documents the artistic life of Tunis during the Ottoman period.

Tunis: what to see in ancient Carthage

Discovering ancient Carthage: the Ville Nouvelle

The ancient Carthage it is still today a city full of contrasts. The ancient and brittle stone of the Medina it almost seems to collide with the solidity of the Ville Nouvelle, a stretch of neat colonial buildings, built by the French around the old Arab city. Imposing rows of palm trees line the main avenue, Habib Bourguibaoverlooked by the small cafes where you can enjoy a glass of the traditional Mint teaperhaps accompanied by typical honey sweets.

The soul of Tunishowever, it still pulsates with its history and traces of the historical past are everywhere. A few steps from the city center are the remains of ancient Carthage, flanked by Roman ruins, including the Baths of Antonio. Yet the city is not made only of ruins and relics. It is enough to go away a few kilometers to be dazzled by the white and blue of the village of Sidi Bou Said: an evocative place which inspired many artists. Always a few steps from Tunis, the beaches of La Marsa they are ideal for enjoying a few hours of relaxation and a little sun.

Tunis: what to see in ancient Carthage

What to see in Tunis: the security challenge

A trip to Tunis it’s safe? It is a particularly recurring question these days. While not immune to the growing spread of terrorist violence, the Tunisia in recent years it has been a more protected area than others, such as neighboring Libya. Attacks a Sousse And Tunis, which have also affected tourist sites, have caused many difficulties for the country. However, the government responded to this wave of violence with a state of emergency and by approving a controversial and rigid anti-terrorism law. And yet the atmosphere a Tunis remains very quiet, also thanks to the massive presence of controls.

Despite everything, everyday life continues to flow: the cafes are still open and crowded, the men smoke theirs hookahchildren walk to school and tourists take the sun on the beach nearby ea Djerba. Life goes on, as they say. And here she does it with a pace that is always the same. Because here you don’t walk: you walk at a slow pace.

Tunis: what to see in ancient Carthage

A stroll in the Medina

It really takes a slow step to find out what to see in Tunis: starting from the Medina, built by the Arabs on the ashes of ancient Carthage. The old town rises around the Zaytouna Mosque (open to the public). If to delve into the alleys of the Medina they are women, especially if they are alone, they can be the object of some kind phrase or some appreciation. But don’t be afraid. To limit the discomfort, a pair of sunglasses and headphones will be sufficient.

On the other hand it must be remembered: the Tunisia it is a 98% Muslim country but many women walk bareheaded and many men prefer a secular government; most Tunisians, then, look beyond the Mediterraneantowards theEurope.

Drinking a coffee in ancient Carthage

In Tunis you can find two types of cafes: those for men and those for men and women. The “maqhwa”Is reserved for male guests only, who sit here for a break, to smoke a hookah and make friends. Tunisian women generally don’t frequent these places.
For them the best Théâtre de l’Etoile du Norda coffee much loved by alternative young people, or the Foundouk El Attarine (in the Souk des Parfumeurs): the restaurant is located in a particularly quiet courtyard and the atmosphere is very glamorous.

Tunis: what to see in ancient Carthage

The flavors of Tunis and gastronomy

The undisputed star of every Tunisian meal is bread, combined with other carbohydrates: macaroni with potatoes, cous cousfried potatoes and mashed peppers in a paste called “kefteji”, Sandwiches stuffed with fries. Everything is often flavored withHarissa, similar to ketchup in appearance, but not in taste. It is in fact one chili paste very spicy, peppers, garlic, coriander and cumin.

Tunisians usually eat very spicy food, in the belief that it is good for health: it is good to keep this in mind before biting into any dish, especially if you are not used to it. The French colonization of 1881 greatly influenced the Tunisian cuisine: still today one of the most common forms of bread is the classic one baguette.

Tunis: what to see in ancient Carthage

The secrets of Tunis: shopping and markets

In Tunisia, the marks left by the French colonists are found almost everywhere; in the lexicon, in the broad avenues of the city inspired by the Parisian ones, in the architecture of some buildings, which combines the French neoclassical style with the Arab tradition.
It is even possible to find yourself in “La Fayette”, one of the markets of the city. And being a African market, as per tradition, it is necessary to haggle. For everything. A good rule of thumb is to split any half initial price, or even less, to then treat. The important thing is to never buy gold or silver that have not been weighed. Almost certainly, however, the handicrafts for sale are original, produced in Tunisia.

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