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Tunis is the capital of Tunisia
Located on the Mediterranean coast but lacking much in the way of beaches, Tunis has been spared the onslaught of package tourism in the resorts to the north and south. There isn't much in the way of must-see attractions, but the Roman ruins of Carthage, now surrounded by houses.
Tunis-Carthage Airport (TUN), 8 km away from the centre, is small and in reasonable shape with all standard facilities. Free wifi is available at several of the restaurants, including Caffe Lindo, but is not always working. International flights will arrive on the ground floor of the airport. Tunisian law requires all currency to be exchanged within the country. It's illegal to bring Tunisian currency with you outside the country or inside, though it can be done at most travel desks if you sign a waiver.
Tunis Central Station is near Place de Barcelone for easy interchange onto the light metro. Trains are generally cheap and comfortable, but if you want to ride first class during peak season, do reserve your seat in advance. Trains are run by SNCFT.
Tunis is a main hub of Tunisia railway system - Tunis Railways Station when it this possible to change from north system trains to south train network.
It is not highly recommended to drive in Tunisia, due to poor quality of roads, driving habits, and poor signage. It is also more dangerous to drive at night, and outside of the city and major tourist areas.
Tunisia has over 70 bus lines, with Tunis at the hub. There are two bus stations in town, with Gare Bab el Fellah serving southern destinations and Gare Bab Saadoun serving those to the north. Buses are run by SNTRI at both stations. The relevant louage stations are beside each.
Ferries connect Tunis to a number of international destinations including Trapani, Palermo, Naples, Civitavecchia, Livorno,Malta Genoa and Marseille. The main ferry terminal is at La Goulette, but check your departure terminal carefully as there are also other ports. Operators include GN, Cotunav, Grimaldi Lines, Sncm.
Free maps of Tunis and Tunisia are available at the National Tourism Office, who also speak many languages, to the north-east of the clock tower. They are well worth the visit.
Taxis are also a good option if you need to go a bit farther than the metro, though cabs picking up in front of nice hotels will charge much higher rates.
What to see
Zitouna Mosque. The largest mosque in Tunisia and an important landmark, this Aghlabite mosque dates back to the 8th century, although the distinctive square minaret is a much later 19th century addition.
The souq in the medina makes for a fascinating stroll. Tiny shops overflowing with stuff; people selling, buying, milling about; skeletal cats lurking in the shadows; the smells of essential oils, spices, frying food and rotting garbage; the sounds of the muezzin, raï, football on the radio, Arabic and French.
Bardo Museum, Exhibits from Carthage, Mahdia, Sousse, many from the Roman period in addition to presentations of Arabian culture old and new. It can be mercilessly hot and stifling in the museum, so bring water.
Dar Ben Abdallah. A small but interesting folk museum within an 18th-century palace in the medina, covering the everyday life of a rich merchant in the Ottoman era with exhibits including faience, stucco ornament, costumes and furniture.
Cathedral of St. Vincent de Paul Built in 1882, this is the largest surviving building from Tunis' colonial era, in the neo-Romanesque style.
Bab Bahr. The Gate to the sea, which remains unchanged since its erection in 1848. It can be found on the Avenue de France and makes a good taxi destination.
Bab Saadoun. Another gate, constructed originally in 1350 with one arch, then rebuilt in 1881 with three arches to facilitate commerce gives its name to the suburb in which the northern bus and louage stations are located.
What to do
Take a walking tour of the ancient buildings, mosques, and gates of the medina. All types of commodities including slaves used to be traded here, today's market is mainly that of day to day goods, increasingly produced in mainland China, and a shrinking quantity of local handicrafts.
See an opera, ballet, or other production at the Théâtre municipal de Tunis.
Wander through Tunis' largest park, Belvedere Park, which houses the Museum of Modern Art and the municipal zoo, and overlooks Lake Tunis.