25 Interesting Facts About Tunisia

  1. Tunisia is the smallest country in the Maghreb, a region in North Africa. The Mediterranean Sea is located at its north and northeast, while it shares land borders with Libya and Algeria.
  2. The Great Mosque of Kairouan in Tunisia has the oldest complete minaret in the world. The construction of this mosque ended in 836 AD. (Source)
  3. The amphitheater of El Jim, in the center of Tunisia, is the largest colosseum in North Africa. It was founded in the 3rd Century BC and could accommodate up to 35,000 spectators. (Source)
  4. The northernmost points on both mainland Africa and the African continent are in Tunisia. Ras ben Sakka (Cape Angela) is the northernmost point on Africa (mainland), while Galite Islands is the northernmost point on the entire continent.
  5. The initial inhabitants of Tunisia were Berbers (Amazighs). According to estimates, these indigenous people currently comprise a tiny minority of the Tunisian population and reside in mountainous areas of the south. (Source)
  6. Researchers discovered animal bones and stone tools from a dried megalake in Tunisia in 2017. The bones of large animals (bovids, rhinoszebrasostriches, etc.) prove that the habitat of this area was different in the past. According to estimates, these deposits are between 72,000 to 98,000 years old. (Source)
  7. In the southern Djebel Dahar region of Tunisia, people have lived in underground houses for centuries to avoid intense heat and cold winds. These houses are primarily around Matmata, a town 365 km south of Tunis. (Source)
  8. There are currently less than 2,000 Jews in Tunisia. However, they have lived in the country since Roman times. El Ghriba synagogue on the island of Djerba is the oldest Jewish house of worship in Africa, dating back nearly 1,900 years. (Source
    People entering El Ghriba synagogue
    El Ghriba is the oldest synagogue in Africa

  9. Tunisia remained under the control of famous empires due to its strategic location. These include the Carthaginians, Romans, Vandals, Byzantines, Arab kingdoms, and Ottomans. The Carthaginian Empire, the famous rival of the Romans, had its capital city in Tunisia.
  10. Arab Muslims conquered Tunisia during the 7th Century. It converted the local population to Muslim and Arab in the later centuries.  
  11. Tunisia became a French protectorate in 1881. It gained independence from France on March 20, 1956.
  12. The African Campaign of WW2 ended on May 13, 1943. It happened after the surrender of Axis forces in Tunisia.
  13. Tunisia remained a one-party state from 1956 to 2011. Two presidents ruled the country during this period. The presidency of Habib Bourguiba continued for 31 years and ended after a bloodless coup by Zine el Abidine Ben Ali in 1987.
  14. The Tunisian Revolution (2010-2011) resulted in the ouster of the second president Ben Ali in January 2011. However, it also triggered anti-government uprisings in the Arab world, known as the Arab Spring. This event affected many countries, particularly Egypt, Libya, Yemen, and Syria.
  15. Chott El Djerid in Tunisia is the largest salt lake in the Sahara and one of the largest in Africa. This lake and its surrounding area are the filming location for “Star Wars” and other Hollywood movies. (Source)
  16. Medina of Tunis was one of the wealthiest cities in the Islamic world between the 12th and 16th centuries. It contains around 700 monuments, including mosques, palaces, fountains, etc. It became a UNESCO world heritage site in 1979.
  17. Most of the Tunisian population resides in the fertile north and the olive-growing Al-Sahil in the east-central coastal regions. The remaining are seminomadic people in the central semi-arid and southern arid parts.
  18. Tunisia is the least corrupt country in North Africa and one of the least corrupt in Africa. Its CPI (corruption perception index) was 44 in 2022.
  19. Nearly 96% of Tunisians are ethnically Arabs, while Arabic is its official language. Around 97% of the Tunisian population follows Sunni Islam.
  20. According to a survey in 2018-19, Tunisia is the least religious country in the Arab world. Around 31% of people in this North African country do not give importance to religion, while this rate is 46% for the population between 18 and 29 years. (Source)
  21. There are 8 UNESCO world heritage sites in Tunisia. Ichkeul National Park is the only natural site, while the remaining seven are cultural sites.
  22. In 1956, Tunisia became the first country in the Arab world to abolish polygamy. Later, it legalized abortion in 1973. (Source)
  23. In July 2018, Tunisia elected the first female mayor of Tunis. She is the first elected female mayor of a capital city in the Arab world and the 20th such mayor around the globe. (Source)
  24. A coalition of Tunisian dialogue committee members won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2015. They received this award for preventing chaos in the country following the Jasmine Revolution. (Source)
  25. Football is the most popular sport in Tunisia. However, it has achieved the best result in handball by winning the highest number of medals (10 gold) in the African Men’s Handball Championships. This African country has also won five gold medals (in swimming and athletics) in Summer Olympics.

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