What will surprise the tourist in Tunisia: features of national life

Tunisians – rich in spirit

Tunisia appears to many as an exotic country. And Tunisians, accordingly, exotic people. They have a rich history, culture, great contribution to the development of the region. Their cities can surprise you with the extraordinary beauty, and people give a lot of good impressions.

History

The Punic period was characterized by the creation of colonies on the Mediterranean coast. It was here that the city of Carthage receives the greatest development. Because of its close proximity to the Romans, Carthage becomes a major enemy of Rome, which leads to the Punic Wars. Carthage had a strong navy, but this did not stop the Romans from quickly building their own to eventually win the First Punic War.

The Second Punic War was led by Hannibal Barca, who managed to reach the territory of modern Italy and defeated the Roman commanders. However, he did not attack Rome. The enemies of Carthage proved cunning and took advantage of a clever strategy by attacking the castle. Winning the battle, they outmaneuvered the Carthaginians and cut them off from distant territories. As a result of the Third Punic War, Carthage fell and was destroyed. The Romans began to occupy the remaining territories of Tunisia in 146 BC. Some of the cities were destroyed by the invaders, while others decided to leave untouched. Tunisia over the next 300 years began to become rich through trade. The Romans built many cities here, and Tunis was particularly prosperous under Emperor Augustus. However, the Romans did not bother to create a combat-ready army for the region, so the Vandals, who invaded here in 439, had no trouble conquering Tunisia. Literally 100 years later, the Byzantines took the place of the Vandals. This period is considered the most difficult in the history of the country, as it was thrown into chaos. After the Vandals and the Byzantines, the Arabs came to Tunisia. It took them about 60 years to conquer the territories. As a result of the protracted wars, the Romans and Greeks lose. The Arabs and Berbers take their place. The Arabs rule the country with varying success. A cultural boom takes place, but the economy shows first growth and then a sharp decline. Revolts that undermined the influence of the Arab Caliphate played a significant role in this period. Dynasty feuds hindered development and at the same time influenced the history of the region. The internecine strife ended with the rise to power of the Hafsid dynasty, which ruled for 300 years. For the next 500 years Tunisia experienced the war of the Ottoman Empire and Spain, the French protectorate, and the emergence of the republic. Difficult political situations as well as a lack of successful reforms negatively affected the country’s development. Tunisia is now experiencing political instability and economic decline.

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Culture

Tunisians are the bearers of a unique culture, influenced by Islam and a complicated history. The most amazing achievement of Tunisia, as perceived by tourists, is the art of the local population. The inhabitants make beautiful jewelry using the Berber style. The main precious metal for making jewelry is silver. Using coins, beads, and coral, people make unique compositions. In the markets you can buy many different amulets with symbolic meaning. The locals like to make ceramic plates, pots, using clay. Pottery is in great esteem. Processing of jugs or amphorae is done by hand. Brass and copper products are no less common. You can buy from a Tunisian artisan not only aesthetic, but also useful in the economy things. Collectors from all over the world come to Tunisia to buy art objects, luxuriously decorated with silk and natural wool. Tunisia has created a unique musical genre called malouf. It appeared thanks to the Spanish invasion. It combines lutes, Indian instrument sitara, violin and drum. The architecture of Tunisia may also be noted. The houses themselves in the country have a resemblance to Eastern and at the same time Greek architecture. In Tunisia there are many temples, fortresses, beautiful mosques, medinas, serving as fortresses and monasteries.

The noble citizens decorate their houses with ornaments and amazingly beautiful paintings. The main colors are sky blue and dazzling white. Even now you can come to Carthage, which is well preserved, despite the regular invasions of the Roman armies here.

Life

Women are obliged to respect their husbands, as Islam dictates. The men themselves are notable for their outward mildness. For example, they may wear beads or earrings in their ears and adorn their clothes with jasmine flowers, which are proof that the man is married. At the same time, the arrangement of flowers on the left directly indicates the fact of free marital status.

Tunisians are caring, often interested in the affairs of others and neighbors. They used to have to get used to tourists, but now with the development of the industry they are happy to help themselves with advice and point the way. However, it is important to remember that due to adherence to Islam, to photograph a resident of Tunisia only with his permission. Tunisians are considered to be great gossipers. Women are constantly discussing the children of their entourage, talking about who is betrothed to whom. Connections are of great importance in the country, so many people are eager to find out who has what connections. Men in their leisure time prefer to gather in cafes, choosing clubs of interest. Many play backgammon, tell stories while drinking coffee. Hamams are very popular with the population. These are Turkish baths, which are often located next to the mosques. Such facilities serve for relaxation, communication, business meetings.

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Dwelling

By nature, people of Tunisia are always quiet. Rural residents prefer to settle in small houses, which are built from raw bricks. The floor in such houses is earthen, and the roof is made of thatch. The inhabitants of the south build huts called kibs. Their frame is made of palm leaves and individual branches.

Traditions

The traditions of Tunisia are fascinating. One of the brightest events in the life of every resident of this country is a wedding. There are many customs associated with it, which the locals still observe.

Wedding

For example, men meet women with a sprig of jasmine. A young man just needs to hold out the flower to the girl he likes, and if she accepts it, it means she likes him too. Of great importance is the decision of the parents, who will be interested in the position of the groom, his work and activities. It is desirable that the man has already had his own place before the wedding. Engagement is called betrothal in Tunisia. During the ceremony, the man should give the bride gold jewelry and white slippers. She is also given a white candle, a pillow, and beautiful white gloves. Such wedding sets are sold in many stores at fabulous prices. Traditional wedding clothes are also expensive. For example, one men’s wedding shirt takes about 2 months to sew. Imagine how great its price is! For women, on the other hand, there can be as many as ten outfits. The wedding can be celebrated for a week. According to the old traditions, the celebration could last for 40 days, although now this custom is not followed because of the incredible cost. The girls, who are friends of the bride, share her old clothes. According to legend, this is how to ensure the chances of an early marriage. The bride’s hands should be painted with henna, and at this time a candle given to her for the wedding should be burning in the bedroom. Then the girl puts on white slippers and gloves. Before all the procedures, a trip to the bath is obligatory. The groom must give the bride a lot of jewelry. The total weight of gifts should exceed 3 kilograms. Of course, the young man has to rent things. Tradition dictates that the jewelry should be gold, and gold is also needed to decorate the chairs on which the bride and groom will sit. That is why the groom has to rely on the help of relatives and guests, because it is not easy to afford the rent of such luxury.

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Holidays

Among the holidays it is worth noting the numerous festivals. One of the most striking is the Independence Day. The country was able to find it only in the middle of last century, so the Tunisians are very appreciative of freedom and celebrate its day with a flourish. In mid-March, Tunisia has carnivals and fairs. This is a great time to get acquainted with national crafts, see folk music performers and witness interesting competitions.

Appearance

The appearance of Tunisians can be argued about for a long time. Most believe that their facial features are dominated by Berber genes. However, a number of geneticists have remarked that, because of regular invasions, the native Tunisians are more like French Arabs. There is some truth in this, for the majority of the Tunisian population is well versed in the French language.

Clothing

Traditional clothing is quite rare among the population. The influence of the West has affected the Tunisians quite strongly, so many people prefer everyday options typical of Europeans. However, you are sure to meet at least a few people dressed in traditional clothing.

  • Men in Tunisia wear a jabba, which is a long robe made of silk. On top of this robe is a burqa. It helps keep warm during the cool winter;
  • Women wear a futa. This garment is a dress that is sewn from silk. They wrap it around the waist and put a blouse on top;
  • A safsari is a long scarf that covers a woman’s entire body. Young girls rarely wear it, but older people like it very much;
  • On their feet people wear contra or balga. These are shoes with pointed toes that are familiar to everyone.

The food in Tunisia is varied and delicious.

  1. One of the most popular dishes is brioche, which is served in almost every restaurant. It is made from dough, in which a variety of fillings are added. The most common choices are tuna, eggs, and celery.
  2. Couscous is the second most popular. This dish has a base of grits, and pumpkin, artichoke, beans and vegetables are added as an additional assortment.
  3. Peppers and tomatoes are used to make a mashuya salad. Fish or lamb is served with it. If you prefer a less spicy version, they serve tuna and eggs.
  4. Make sure you try the kefta. It’s made for meat lovers. The main ingredient in kefta is minced meat, which is prepared from lamb with onions and spices. The stuffing is fried to get a semblance of meatballs.
  5. It is highly recommended to try lamb in a cauldron. The uniqueness of the dish lies in the fact that it is several centuries old. Chefs follow recipes set out in a book written back in the Middle Ages.
  6. Finally, it is worth tasting the casserole tagine. The main ingredient is the same lamb, spices and eggs are added. The casserole is topped with a sprinkle of cheese.
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The Tunisians are really surprising in many ways. They have gone through a lot of trouble, but they managed to create a country that has a fabulous look. Nowhere in the world is there such a city, such people and such cuisine. In the future, with a good set of circumstances, they can prosper and become the most interesting people in the whole African continent.

Customs and manners of Tunisia – what a tourist should know.

When we have a season of summer heat gives way to cooler months, many begin to dream of a trip to warm countries. Someone is limited to just daydreaming, someone comes to the choice of a particular country, and someone acts in the literal sense of the word and soon is basking in the rays of warm overseas sun.

Tunisia is one of the most popular tourist destinations. Although there is no year-round influx of tourists. This is due to the fact that during the winter months the temperature stays within 12-15 degrees. The season here lasts from May to October. In summer the temperature reaches 32-35 degrees, but due to the winds blowing from the sea the heat is easily tolerated.

Traditions and laws of Tunisia

However, do not forget that Tunisia is a Muslim country. Here 99% of the population are Muslim. That is why tourists should know the peculiarities of the country’s laws and how not to behave here.

In general, Tunisia is a peaceful country; crime rate is lower than in other African countries. Tourists can easily walk around the streets at night, and if you see a fruit grove, feel free to pick fruits, first asking the guard. Nevertheless, there are cases of petty theft in crowded places.

The official language is Arabic, but everyone here knows French, because the country used to be a colony of France. The locals are friendly to tourists.

In Tunisia men wear a bouquet of jasmine behind the ear. And married men wear it behind their right ear and single men – behind the left ear. Tourists should not repeat this, because it would look ridiculous. During the religious holiday of Ramadan Tunisians do not smoke and do not eat until sunset, so tourists who are in the country during this period, should also refrain from eating and smoking on the streets. However, you can do whatever you want in the hotel.

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Tunisia has a “hamam”, a Turkish bath. It is mainly used for the purpose of purification of the believer, personal hygiene and communication with compatriots. Often such baths are located next to mosques. There are other “hamams” that serve as something like beauty salons – in them you can get a session of foam massage, dye your hair and beard with henna, make a clay mask. By the way, in this country men and women paint their hair, palms, nails and soles of their feet with henna (it is common in many Muslim countries). Such coloring can be considered a decoration.

The strictest punishment for drug use and distribution is given here, but there are no indulgences for foreign tourists. For example, drug use is punished by 5 years in prison, for drug distribution – from 10. The rights of foreign citizens are protected by law here, but if a tourist has broken the law, he will be punished to the full extent specified by the law.

Tunisia is the only Muslim country where abortion is officially allowed and prostitution is legalized.

How to behave as a tourist in Tunisia

In order not to anger the locals, you must comply with some measures, namely:

– Tunisians are better not to offer to keep you company in drinking alcohol.

– Eating standing up or on the go is not accepted.

– No need to stare at women in a veil.

– Bread should be broken off with your hands.

– One should not look into the face of the person taking food.

– In the old neighborhoods and the capital to walk in shorts and open T-shirts is not worth it, but in the resort areas it is normal.

– It is forbidden to take pictures of official buildings, when photographing local residents need to ask their permission.

– Trading is allowed everywhere, except in stores with fixed price tags on goods.

– Visiting a hotel or store, it is customary to greet people passing by. This can be done in any language.

– You should try not to speak too loudly, do not make scandals in hotels and on the streets.

– If you suddenly met a kneeling person in the street, go around at a decent distance and do not interfere with the prayer ritual.

– It is customary to give alms to the poor.

– Do not eat or smoke on the streets during Ramadan, but please do so in the hotel and restaurant.

Adhering to these rules, you can make a holiday in hot Tunisia as comfortable as possible.

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