Tag Archives: Tunisia holidays

Tunis: city’s highlights

Tunis offers so many beautiful things to see and visit that tdescribing them would not be enough – probably the words would not make the actual idea of ​​such a beauty!

Let’s try to describe the city’s highlights in any case, if not all, since it’s almost impossible, at least some, just to tease the imagination and entice so choose Tunisia, namely its capital Tunis, for their holidays. Meanwhile, before we get into specifics, we must have a premise: Tunisia, and even more its capital Tunis, is very easy to reach, both by air and by sea (click here).

Tunis is overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and is very close to Sicily, from which it is separated only by the Sicilian Channel. The city is a port at the bottom of Bahira and is connected to the Gulf of Tunis by a narrow passage called La Goulette.
Tunis is the largest port and the most populous city in Tunisia. Its public transport are considered very valuable and you can therefore easily move from one point to another of the city and also in its surroundings.

TunisiPublic Domain

Given the historical past, recently in Tunisia and in Tunis it is also spoken both French and Italian and you can also study both languages. This fact certainly will facilitate the stay of European tourists who will have less difficulty in relating to the people.
The city has several well defined and separated aspects , as if they were three cities in one: there is the Medina, the European quarter, and then all the most modern and recent buildings.

  • The Medina is definitely a strong point of attraction for anyone and is among the first places among those visited by tourists. It is a veritable city within a city is made up of narrow streets, or rather we should speak of alleyways, some uncovered, other small places, the sides of which are all activities, craft but also commercial. It is interesting to know that at the time of creation of the Medina were placed various markets not only by grouping the activities by type, but also on the basis of which could cause discomfort: in fact, the area around the mosque Al-Zaytouna which is right in the center, and in the upper part, that is the most western one, were placed all trades and businesses considered more noble, that maybe did not produce too much noise or, even worse, bad smell.

The markets, or as they are called, the souk, have always been appreciated by tourists visiting Tunis, between the various souks there are the most crowded ones, especially that of El-Blat where you can find all the spices and herbs, with unbelievable scents and smells; the  El-Berka souk, which displays the most beautiful jewels; the El-Attarine souks where they sell the most intoxicating scents, to make your head spin, and then many others.

But Medina is not only markets: there are so many other things to see, such as its mosques; we have already appointed the Al-Zaytouna, which is at the very heart of the Medina, then there are still, for example, Youssef Dey Mosque and the  Mammouda Pacha Mosque.

Besides, it must also remember that the Medina of Tunis in 1981 has become a universal heritage site of UNESCO. The Medina is not the only place in Tunis that belongs to a UNESCO heritage site; there is also Carthage that became Unesco before the Medina, in 1979.

  • Carthage is a luxurious suburb of Tunis, it is just 16 km away. It is an archaeological site mostly Roman, but also Punic. It is located on the Lake of Tunis and is well worth a visit, because it is a place full of history.

In Tunis you should visit the Bardo Museum which is the oldest archaeological museum of Africa. It is located on the outskirts of the city, the luxurious residence of Ali Bey III. No less than 34 rooms in several buildings and there you can see, in the midst of all other findings, the magnificent mosaics.

Bardo-MuseumPhoto CC-BY-SA 3.0 by Bgag

Other places to see are definitely the Cathedral of Saint-Louis, built in 1890 in Byzantine-Moorish style and is located not far from Carthage National Museum. And also worth seeing, the College Sadiki, the Palace Dar Rassaa, the Palace Der Elb and Clock Tower.

For families with children, but of course not only for them, we would then go and see the interesting Oceanographic Museum, with its colorful fish and waterfowl.

 

Typical dishes from Tunisia

One of the many beauties of Tunisia is, without any doubt, the food.  Thanks to the wide use of spices that is made in this kitchen, the smell is also satisfied, in addition to taste: the aromas given off by a dish Tunisian inebriate the nose and tempt the taste.

vendita-cous-cousPhoto Public Domain

History

Being a mixture of European and Oriental cuisines, Tunisian cuisine is configured a bit as a bridge between different traditions: those of southern Europe to the Near East, not to mention those of the peoples of the desert, who have given so much to this cooking, with recipes and ingredients that would otherwise have been accrued. The Tunisian territory, as well as being a crossroads between worlds apart from each other, it was also the scene of various rulers, including Arabic and Turkish, but also the French, and all have left their paw in the kitchen. When travelling, one of the first things to do is to know the culinary traditions and the place and, in this case, to know and above all to taste there really much. It is delicious specialties, that once you try remain in the hearts of the taste. This is not an elaborate cuisine with many ingredients and because of that, because of its simplicity, is able to win the hearts of all those who taste for the first time a Tunisian dish.

Ingredients

But let’s see what are the typical Tunisian. List but a few is very difficult, because it is a good cooking and especially, to be discovered. The key ingredients of the Tunisian cuisine are, as mentioned, the spices: it makes extensive use of cumin and anise, but mint is widely used, especially in savoury preparations. But it does not end there, of course, because couscous and lamb are the masters, but also vegetables  which are very used, as well as other meat and fish. Prawns and so are one of the specialties of the nation and it is impossible not to taste them at least once. For example, the grouper seasoned with lemon and fennel is one of the most popular dishes from Tunisia and beyond. It is a simple dish, everyday, yet good and genuine.

It is, as you can see, a very Mediterranean cuisine , which has its roots in the traditions of the past and that has remained very simple  but delicious and rich.

What differentiates this cuisine from all other North African cuisine is the presence of spices and chilli in abundance: it is a tradition much more eastern, but Tunisia is very much that East Africa and, for this reason, it differs from the rest. The shy and delicate palates should stay away from this type of cuisine, strong, determined and with a very special connotation. It is simple recipes, which are reproduced in the newspaper, in homes, but also in restaurants that tourists arriving in Tunis and other cities storming.

800px-Couscous_of_Fes

Photo Public Domain

Main Courses

Among the main courses of the Tunisian tradition we find the brick, which is composed of the malsouka, which is kind of like a rolled pasta dough very thin, which is filled with herbs or eggs. This is also a typical dish from street food, as it usually is fried before the customer that the safety of what they are eating. To accompany the brick, but also other specialties, you can not do without the salade mechouia that is nothing but a mix of grilled peppers and tomatoes, to which are added eggs, capers, tuna and celery. All this, then, is seasoned with lemon and olive oil.

As you can see, these preparations are very Mediterranean, you can unite with those of southern Italy. But among the best dishes of the country we can not forget what is the symbol par excellence: the couscous. Semolina is in all the houses of Tunisia. It is steamed and then topped with meat or fish, but also with vegetables. Certainly, the couscous with spicy stew and the one with the fish are among the most typical of all. Many Tunisian dishes are accompanied by what is called Hai issa, which is a spicy sauce made up of red pepper and olive oil, which is literally explode the taste buds of those who tastes it. It is a strong flavour, but very typical, that can not be tasted.

Even the dishes with vegetables are very popular: of all we must mention the chakchouka, which is nothing but a kind of ratatouille served with an egg. Even the egg, as has been noted, is omnipresent on the tables Tunisian and is prepared in different ways, all very good. You can play it safe and give to your taste buds experience somewhat stronger, but also completely new and delicious.

Dessert & Puddings

Tunisians’ desserts and puddings, however, are all very sweet, since honey is the basis of everything. Therefore, it can be a little difficult to eat, especially for those used to a different kind of flavours. However, this is a peculiarity of the Arab countries and the Middle East. The use of honey is very frequent, as well as that of the almonds. Who does not love such a sweet tastes, it is recommend fruit. In Tunisia it makes widespread use of fruit: from apples to watermelons, from fish to oranges, grapes, dates, which are one of the specialties of the place exported worldwide.

619px-Tabouna_(Piotr_Kuczynski)

Photo CC-BY by Piotr Kuczyński

One last piece of advice to give to all those who travel to Tunisia is to taste the cream and ice cream that are nothing short of delicious. Unlike all the other sweets, as mentioned, may be a little sickly and hard to eat ice cream and, above all, the Tunisian creams are truly sublime and allow themselves to eat with ease.

What more could you want from a holiday? It has great food and lots to visit: the best for those who want to pull the plug. Guests travelling to Tunisia, a destination easily accessible by any means, including ferries  can not help but taste the many delicious dishes. Check the following link for further infos:http://www.ok-ferry.com/en/tunisia-ferries.aspx