The 13 best places to visit in Tunisia

 

Dating from 1976, in the western centre of the country close to the town of Tozeur is what remains of the original Star Wars film set, what many fans would recognise as the location of Lars Homestead on Luke Skywalker's home planet of Tatooine. Abandoned to the desert, many of the structures remain to this day.

13. Abandoned Star Wars Set

 

South east from the capital, Tunis, covering a relatively small 19 square kilometres (7.5 square miles) is Boukornine National Park, named after the 576 metre (1,889 ft) Jebel Boukornine. Relatively small in size, this mountainous coastal forest protects the worlds smallest mammal, the Etruscan shrew, and the mountain gazelle.

12. Boukornine National Park

 

In the centre of the country, covering an area of some 165 square kilometres (64 square miles) is Bou-Hedma National Park, an arid desert like landscape of limestone mountains and sparse juniper forests. Home to endangered Addax antelope and gazelle, this pre-Saharan savannah is one of the least visited locations in Tunisia.

11. Bou-Hedma National Park 

 

On the eastern coast, south from the city of Sousse is the city of Monastir, one of the most visited places in Tunisia. This well trodden tourist location is famed for its beaches, the Great Mosque, and its prominent monument, the Ribat Of Monastir. First built around 796 AD by the Arab conquerors during the Muslim conquest of the Maghreb, it today offers visitors the best view over the city and its long coastline.

10. Monastir

 

In the extreme west of the country, right on the border with Algeria is the village of Mides, a small mountain oasis amidst a region of dry and arid desert. Close to the village is the wonderful Mides Gorge, an impressive canyon sculpted by a river over centuries, making for a superb natural and rugged landscape.

9. Midès

 

In the northern centre of the county, south west from the capital, Tunis, is the archaeological site of Dougga, holding well preserved ancient Roman remains. Its monument are a testament to ancient Roman and Byzantine history, with many considering it the best preserved Roman small town in North Africa. As such, the ancient remains of Dougga have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

8. Dougga

 

In the south west of the county, directly south from the Chott El Djerid salt flats is the 1,500 square kilometre (579 square mile) Jebil National Park, the countries largest protected area and the only national park within the Sahara desert proper. Covering the The Grand Erg Oriental or Great Eastern Sea Sand within Tunisia, the landscape is one of giant sand dunes and pristine Saharan desert for as far as the eye can see.

7. Jebil National Park

In the southern centre of the country, close to the city of Tataouine is the ruined Berber village of Chenini, probably the most photogenic in all of Tunisia. Located on a hilltop above the new village of the same name, the ancient fortified granary has become one of the major stops on the ksar trail, along with the villages of Douiret, Ksar Ouled Soltane and Ksar Hadada. Set in mountainous desert surroundings, the site of the ruined village with its prominent white mosque has become one of the countries most iconic sites.

6. Chenini Village

 

Founded around 670 AD,​ located to the west of Monastir lies the ancient city of Kairouan, one of the holiest cities in the Muslim world. The rich architectural heritage of the city includes the Great Mosque Of Sidi-Uqba, a 9th century structure that has largely remained intact from the period. It is considered one of the most important monument of the Islamic civilization as well as a masterpiece of architecture. With a wealth of historical monuments that include the Great Mosque Of Sidi-Uqba, the ancient city of Kairouan has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

5. Kairouan

 

In the south west of the country, covering an area of some 7,000 square kilometres (2,702 square miles) is the large salt flat of Chott El Djerid, a name that translates as Lagoon Of The Land Of Palms. The largest salt pan of the Sahara desert, set between 10 and 25 metres (33 and 82 ft) below sea level, at times the ground can appear varying shades of white, green and purple, making for one of the most bizarre landscapes in the region.

4. Chott El Djerid

 

In the far north of the country, on the Mediterranean coast is the capital and largest city of Tunisia, the city of Tunis. At its core lies the ancient medina, with monuments dating from the Alhomad and Hafsid period between the 12th and 16th century, it holds a wealth of historical landmarks that include palaces, mosques, mausoleums and madrasas. As a testament to one of the greatest and wealthiest cities in the history of Islam, the entire medina of Tunis has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

3. Tunis

 

On the eastern coast, between the city of Sfax and the capital, Tunis, is the city of Sousse, the third largest city in Tunisia. Dating from the first centuries of Islam, between 800 and 900 AD, the cities medina, surrounded by its ancient city walls and fortifications, is an important historical location. Of the kasbahs and ramparts, the most important building in the medina is the Great Mosque Of Sousse, a fortified ancient mosque that dates back to 851 AD. As a typical example of Islamic architecture from the early centuries of the religion, the entire historical medina of Sousse has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

2. Sousse

 

Dating from 238 AD, between the cities of Sfax and Sousse in what is today the city of El Jem, is the incredible Amphitheatre of El Jem, unique to Africa, and one of the best preserved Roman ruins in the world. Built entirely of stone blocks without foundations, it bears striking resemblance to the Coliseum of Rome. Wonderfully preserved, it is one of the largest amphitheatres ever constructed, making a man made wonder on the African continent. This outstanding witness to ancient Roman architecture has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

1. Amphitheatre Of El Jem

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