The North African country of Tunisia has recently seen something of a boom in tourism as more and more Europeans are discovering the territory's allure. However, often travellers don't make it far beyond Tunisia's shoreline, being content instead to relish lazing on some of the most beautiful white-sand beaches of the southern Mediterranean. This attraction is without doubt the feature that draws in the majority of Tunisia's tourism business, and understandably so, but as marvellous as the 1,100km coastline stretches are, they are by no means the only attractions that Tunisia has to offer.
Bordered by both the Mediterranean Sea and the Sahara Desert, Tunisia is a country with a great history.
Carthage, as it was previously known, was home to a civilisation that rivaled the Roman Empire. Originally settled by the Berbers, it was in the 9th century BC that the Phoenicians immigrated to found Carthage and created a powerful maritime civilization.
After the Romans defeated Carthage in 146 BC, they would continue to rule for hundreds of years. The influence of the Roman Empire still lingers in the many temples and theatres that are still standing or the mosaic masterpieces that house many of the country’s museums.
Distinctly Roman artifacts such as the monumental Antonine Baths, which in the 2nd century AD were the largest baths in North Africa and the 3rd largest in the Roman world. Another Roman spot, the forum and temple of Dougga with theatres, gymnasia, baths, shops, stone paved streets and lavish villas are all testimony to the golden age this North African city enjoyed during the Roman era.
Tunisia tours include stops at the Roman city of Sufeitula, modern Sbeitla. The Roman civic center is incredibly photogenic, due to the excellent state of preservation its three monumental temples, dedicated to Juno, Jupiter and Minerva, towering over the Forum.
Also included is a stop at the Roman Amphitheatre of El Djem, an extraordinary sight with a capacity of 30,000 spectators for the gladiator combats, wild beast fights, circuses and games.
It wasn’t just the Romans who left their mark on Tunisia; Phoenicians, Greeks, Vandals, Normans, Arabs, Spaniards, and Ottoman Turks have all left their unique footprint on the small patch of land that occupies the northernmost point of Africa.
On our Tunisia tours, wander the Arab souks of Tunis, or the Holy City of Kairouan - the first Islamic city to be established in North Africa, and the 4th oldest Muslim city outside of Arabia. The Grand Mosque is made with hundreds of marble columns reused from Roman temples.
Explore the Christian basilicas of Sbeitla, with their elaborate baptisteries covered in colourful mosaics. Or discover the El Ghriba, the Miracle synagogue, one of the oldest synagogues and most important Jewish pilgrimage sites in the world built after Jewish communities arrived in 566 BC.
Feed off the 1000 year old olive trees on Djerba, or of one of the other 65 million trees found within the country. Olive oil was an important ancient trade that also plays an important role in today’s economy.
Trade has always played an important role for Tunisia. Historically part of the caravan route, areas like Tozeur were well known for merchants. North and West Africa gathered in this thriving oasis, and traded such goods as wool, dates, gold, ivory, salt and slaves. Some of the finest dates of the world are grown in the region, with Medieval accounts stating that over 1,000 camels used to leave here per day, laden only with dates.
With a history dating back thousands of years, and a landscape that varies from the edge of the Sahara to the lapping of the Gulf of Tunis, our Tunisia tours give you the best of it all.