Al-Jumhūriyyah at-Tūnisiyyah Tunisian Republic FlagCoat of Arms
"Liberty, Order, Justice" Anthem: Himat Al Hima
(and largest city) Tunis
36°50′N, 10°9′E Official languages Arabic Demonym Tunisian Government Republic - President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali - Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi Independence - from France March 20, 1956 Area - Total 163,610 km² (92nd)
63,170 sq mi - Water (%) 5.0 Population - July 2005 estimate 10,102,000 (78th) - 1994 census 8,785,711 - Density 62/km² (133rd (2005))
161/sq mi GDP (PPP) 2007 estimate - Total $ 97.74 billion (60th) - Per capita $9,630 (73rd) Gini (2000) 39.8 (medium) HDI (2007) ▲ 0.766 (medium) (91st) Currency Tunisian dinar (TND) Time zone CET (UTC+1) - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2) Internet TLD .tn Calling code +216
Tunisia (Arabic: تونس Tūnis, Amazigh: Tuns), officially the Tunisian Republic (الجمهورية التونسية), is a country situated on the Mediterranean coast of North Africa. It is bordered by Algeria to the west and Libya to the southeast. It is the northernmost African country and the smallest of the nations situated along the Atlas mountain range. Around forty percent of the country is composed of the Sahara desert, with much of the remainder consisting of particularly fertile soil, and a 1300 km coastline. Both played a prominent role in ancient times, first with the famous Phoenician city of Carthage, and later, as the Africa Province, which became known as the bread basket of the Roman Empire.
- 1 History
- 2 Present-day politics
- 3 Governorates
- 4 Geography
- 5 Economy
- 6 Demographics
- 7 Language
- 8 Education
- 9 Culture
- 10 Cinema
- 11 Dance in Tunisia
- 12 Culture
- 13 Crafts
- 14 Festivals
- 15 Miscellaneous topics
- 16 References
- 17 External links
- Main article: History of Tunisia
At the beginning of recorded history, Tunisia was inhabited by Berber tribes. Its coast was settled by Phoenicians starting as early as the 10th century BC. The city of Carthage was founded in the 9th century B.C. by settlers from Tyre, now in modern day Lebanon. Legend says that Queen Elissa founded the city in 814 B.C., as retold in by the Greek writer Timaeus of Tauromenium. The settlers of Carthage brought their culture and religion from the Phoenicians and other Canaanites.
After a series of wars with Greek city-states of Sicily in the 5th century BC, Carthage rose to power and eventually became the dominant civilization in the Western Mediterranean. The people of Carthage worshipped a pantheon of Middle Eastern gods including Baal and Tanit. Tanit's symbol, a simple female figure with extended arms and long dress, is a popular icon found in ancient sites. The founders of Carthage also established a Tophet which was altered in Roman times.
Though the Romans referred to the new empire growing in the city of Carthage as Punic or Phoenician, the empire built around Carthage was an independent political entity from the other Phoenician settlements in the Western Mediterranean.Minaret of the Zitouna Mosque, Tunis
A Carthaginian invasion of Italy led by Hannibal during the Second Punic War, one of a series of wars with Rome, nearly crippled the rise of the Roman Empire. Carthage was eventually conquered by Rome in the 2nd century BC, a turning point which led to ancient Mediterranean civilization having been influenced mainly by European instead of African cultures. After the Roman conquest, the region became one of the granaries of Rome and was fully Latinized and Christianized. It was conquered by the Vandals in the 5th century AD and reconquered by the commander Belisarius in the 6th century during the rule of Byzantine emperor Justinian.
In the 7th century the region was conquered by Arab Muslims, who founded the city of Kairouan. Successive Muslim dynasties ruled, interrupted by Berber rebellions. The reigns of the Aghlabids (9th century) and of the Zirids (from 972), Berber followers of the Fatimids, were especially prosperous. When the Zirids angered the Fatimids in Cairo (1050), the latter sent in the Banu Hilal tribe to ravage Tunisia.
The coasts were held briefly by the Normans of Sicily in the 12th century and the following Arab reconquest made the last Christians in Tunisia disappear. In 1159, Tunisia was conquered by the Almohad caliphs. They were succeeded by the Berber Hafsids (c.1230 – 1574), under whom Tunisia prospered. In the late 16th century the coast became a pirate stronghold (see: Barbary States). In the last years of the Hafsids, Spain seized many of the coastal cities, but these were recovered by the Ottoman Empire. Under its Turkish governors, the Beys, Tunisia attained virtual independence. The Hussein dynasty of Beys, established in 1705, lasted until 1957.
French imperialismCathedral of St Vincent de Paul, Tunis
In the mid-1800s, Tunisia's government under the rule of the Bey severely compromised its legitimacy by making several controversial financial decisions that led to its downfall. France began plans to take control of Tunisia when the Bey first borrowed large sums of money in an attempt to Westernize. This failing state facilitated the Algerian raids that occurred thereafter. The weakened Bey was powerless against these raids and unable to resist European colonization.
In 1878, a secret deal was made between the United Kingdom and France that decided the fate of the North African country. Provided that the French accepted British control of Cyprus, recently given to the United Kingdom, the British would in turn accept French control of Tunisia. This satisfied the French and led to their assumption of control in 1880, anticipating the Italians. Tunisia was formally made a French protectorate on May 12, 1881.
World War II
- Main article: Tunisia Campaign
In 1942 – 1943 Tunisia was the scene of the first major operations by the Allied Forces (the British Commonwealth and the United States) against the Axis Powers (Italy and Germany) during World War II. The main body of the British army, advancing from their victory in Battle of el-Alamein under the command of British Field Marshal Montgomery, pushed into Tunisia from the south. The US and other allies, following their invasions of Algeria and Morocco in Operation Torch, invaded from the west.
General Rommel, commander of the Axis forces in North Africa, had hoped to inflict a similar defeat on the allies in Tunisia as German forces did in the Battle of France in 1940. Before the battle for Tunisia, the inexperienced allied forces had generally been unable to withstand German blitzkriegs and properly coordinate their operations. As such the battle for Tunisia was a major test for the allies. They figured out that in order to defeat Axis forces they would have to coordinate their actions and quickly recover from the inevitable setbacks the experienced German-Italian forces would inflict.
On February 19, 1943, General Rommel launched an attack on the American forces in the Kasserine Pass region of Western Tunisia, hoping to inflict the kind of demoralizing and alliance-shattering defeat the Germans had dealt to Poland and France. The initial results were a disaster for the United States; the area around the Kasserine Pass is the site of many US war graves from that time.
However, the American forces were ultimately able to reverse their retreat. Having learned a critical lesson in tank warfare, the Allies broke through the Mareth line on March 20, 1943. The allies subsequently linked up on April 8 and on May 2, 1943 the German-Italian Army in Tunisia surrendered. Thus, the United States, United Kingdom, Free French, and Polish (as well as other forces) were able to win a major battle as an allied army.
The battle, though often overshadowed by Stalingrad, represented a major allied victory of World War II largely because it forged the Alliance which would one day liberate Western Europe.
Before Western colonialism, Tunisia was ruled by a line of (Turkish colonial) Beys until 1881. Up until this point the Beys of Tunisia borrowed money from Europe to finance modernization within Tunisia. When the local population resented tax rises to fund the repayment the country found itself bankrupt. It is at this point that France, Britain and Italy placed the finances of Tunisia in administration via an international agreement.Habib Bourguiba
Initially, Italy was the country that demonstrated the most desire to have Tunisia as a colony having investment, citizens and geographic proximity as motivation. However this was rebuffed when Britain and France co-operated to prevent this during the years 1871 – 1878 ending in Britain supporting French influence in Tunisia in exchange for dominion over Cyprus. France still had the issue of Italian influence and thus decided to find an excuse for a pre-emptive strike. Using the pretext of a Tunisian incursion into Algeria, France marched an army of about 36,000 personnel which quickly advanced to Tunis and forced the Bey to make terms in the form of the 1881 Treaty of Bardo (Al Qasr as Sa'id), which gave France control of Tunisian governance and making it a de-facto French protectorate.
Tunisia enjoyed certain benefits from French rule; however, the desire for self-governance remained and in 1910 Ali Bach Hamba and Bechir Sfar created the group of young Tunisians which led to the 1920 group called the “Destour” (constitution) party. Keeping the new movement under control led the French to use a combination of carrot-and-stick tactics that worked well but did not halt the momentum for independence. In 1934, a younger, more fervent element of the Destour party called the Neo-Destour emerged, with Habib Bourguiba, Dr Mahmoud Materi, Tahar Sfar and Bahri Guiga as their leaders. This new party was immediately declared illegal by the French administration, but received strong support from the fascist organizations of the Tunisian Italians.
Habib Bourguiba spent a great deal of time in French prisons. However, this did little to stem his influence or halt the momentum for change. The Second World War played into Bourguiba’s hands as he was moved from Vichy French prisons to Rome, and then to Tunisia as the Axis powers courted his influence in Tunisia. Bourguiba never endorsed these requests. He did manage relocation to Tunisia and two months after this, the Allies claimed Tunisia.
In the following ten years, the struggle for independence continued and gained momentum. Bourguiba was again incarcerated from 1952 – 1954, which in turn caused an outbreak of guerrilla attacks by supporters. In 1954, things changed abruptly when Pierre Mendes-France became the leader of the French government and pursued a policy of pulling out from burdensome French colonies, with Tunisia in this category. This resulted in the April 1955 agreement which handed internal autonomy to Tunisian hands while international relations were managed by France, a similar situation to the Turkish Bey method of governance in pre-1881.
The Neo-Destour were now in control, but Bourguiba refused to take the helm until the French relinquished all control over Tunisia. He did not have to wait long, as the terrible Algerian War of Independence changed the French desire for colonialism, leading to the abolition of the Treaty of Bardo and Tunisia gaining full independence in March 20, 1956.
Bourguiba became Prime Minister and, after 1957, the first president of the Republic of Tunisia as the constitutional role of the Bey was abolished.
- Main article: Politics of Tunisia
Tunisia is a republic with a strong presidential system dominated by a single political party. President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali has been in office since 1987, the year he deposed Habib Bourguiba in a bloodless coup. The constitution has been changed twice to allow Ben Ali to remain in power: initially from two to three terms, then from three to five. The ruling party, the Democratic Constitutional Rally (RCD), was the sole legal party for 25 years, known previously as the Socialist Destourian Party (PSD). The RCD still dominates political life.
Facing little opposition, the President is elected to 5-year terms. He appoints a Prime Minister and cabinet, who play a strong role in the execution of policy. Regional governors and local administrators also are appointed by the central government. Largely consultative mayors and municipal councils are elected. There is a unicameral legislative body, the Chamber of Deputies, which has 182 seats, 20% of which are reserved for the opposition parties. It plays a growing role as an arena for debate on national policy but never originates legislation. The Chamber virtually always passes bills presented by the executive with only one minor change. The judiciary is nominally independent but responds to executive direction, especially in political cases. The military is professional and does not play a role in politics.
Tunisia is noteworthy for its lack of public political discourse. Tunisia's precise political situation is hard to determine due to a strong level of silence and lack of transparency maintained by the government. There is compelling evidence that dissidents are routinely arrested, for crimes as minor as viewing banned web sites. There are currently six legal opposition parties all with their own newspapers. However, the Committee to Protect Journalists, in its 2005 country report on Tunisia, details a persistent record of harassment, persecution, imprisonment, and physical harm perpetrated on journalists critical of the government. Even Western journalists, when writing on Tunisian soil, are not spared this fate.
Despite official proclamations, the Tunisian government imposes significant restrictions on freedom of speech and human rights. As such Tunisians are noticeably insecure when discussing political matters. The internet, however, is the most immediately apparent sign of the pervasiveness of state control. In fact the growth of the internet has been a major issue for Tunisia. As tourism (mainly from Europe) has expanded in Tunisia, so has the number of Internet Cafes. Tunisian internet access is invariably censored. This censorship is targeted at material deemed pornographic as well as press or chat room commentary that is critical of the government. For example, the website of the Al Arabiya satellite channel is officially censored and thereby inaccessible from any computer in Tunisia.
Tunisia is also one of three Muslim countries (Azerbaijan and Turkey are the others), that prohibits the hijab in government buildings. By government edict, women that insist on wearing the hijab must quit their job. Dissenters are forced to sign a document admitting to having committed a crime punishable by law and, in cases of recidivism, are jailed. Women who insist on keeping their veils despite all threats become the subject of negative propaganda disseminated by the Tunisian authorities on all state and private media.
Underground opposition from Islamic Fundamentalists has an obvious but shadowy existence in Tunisia. Under former president Bourguiba, Islamic Fundamentalists were allowed to serve as a counterweight to more left-leaning movements. Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, however, has followed an aggressive policy regarding the Fundamentalists, though the extent of government success is difficult to judge in a nation where so much is secret. While Tunisia has a repressive political system, standards of living are among the best in the developing world. This can be evidenced by two compelling economic observations: the level to which Tunisia has become self-sufficient in material goods, and the extent of real estate development in the cities and major towns of the country. Put simply, the mid-level retail outlet will typically offer goods more than 90% of which are home produced. As to the rise of the building and construction industry, a fleeting visit to any of Tunisia's smaller towns (let alone the cities) will confirm that development is rampant: many projects, especially hotels, are newly opened, and many more stand as skeleton buildings, ready to be developed as soon as demand - and capital funds - are available to bring them to completion. Tunisia remains an autocratic regime, but one where starvation, homelessness, and disease, problems seen in much of Africa and Asia, are rare.
- See also: Foreign relations of Tunisia
The following is an excerpt from the The World Factbook about Tunisia;
Following independence from France in 1956, President Habib BOURGUIBA established a strict one-party state. He dominated the country for 31 years, repressing Islamic fundamentalism and establishing rights for women unmatched by any other Arab nation. In recent years, Tunisia has taken a moderate, non-aligned stance in its foreign relations. Domestically, it has sought to defuse rising pressure for a more open political society.
GovernoratesGovernorates of Tunisia
Tunisia is subdivided into 24 governorates, they are:
GeographyTopographic map of Tunisia.
- Main article: Geography of Tunisia
Tunisia is a country situated on the Mediterranean coast of North Africa, midway between the Atlantic Ocean and the Nile Valley. It is bordered by Algeria in the west and Libya in the south-east. An abrupt southern turn of its shoreline gives Tunisia two faces on the Mediterranean.
Despite its relatively small size, Tunisia has great geographical and climactic diversity. The Dorsal, an extension of the Atlas Mountains, traverses Tunisia in a northeasterly direction from the Algerian border in the west to the Cape Bon peninsula. North of the Dorsal is the Tell, a region characterized by low, rolling hills and plains, although in the northwestern corner of Tunisia, the land reaches elevations of 1,050 meters. The Sahil is a plain along Tunisia's eastern Mediterranean coast famous for its olive monoculture. Inland from the Sahil, between the Dorsal and a range of hills south of Gafsa, are the Steppes. Much of the southern region is semi-arid and desert.
- See also: List of cities in Tunisia
- Main article: Economy of Tunisia
Tunisia has a diverse economy, with important agricultural, mining, energy, tourism, petroleum, and manufacturing sectors. Governmental control of economic affairs, while still heavy, has gradually lessened over the past decade with increasing privatization, simplification of the tax structure, and a prudent approach to debt. Real growth averaged 5.0% in the 1990s, and inflation is slowing. Increased trade and tourism have been key elements in this steady economic growth. Tunisia's association agreement with the European Union (EU), the first such accord between the EU and a Mediterranean country, entered into force on March 1, 1998. Under the agreement Tunisia will gradually remove barriers to trade with the EU over the next decade. Broader privatization, further liberalization of the investment code to increase foreign investment, and improvements in government efficiency are among the challenges for the future of Tunisia. According to the British Philip's university atlas of 2000, Tunisia also possesses major phosphate reserves in the middle section of the country.
Tunisia is ranked most competitive economy of Africa in the 2007 edition of the Global Competitiveness Report that is released by the World Economic Forum. It also ranks first in the Arab World and 29th globally.
- Main article: Demographics of Tunisia
The majority (98%) of modern Tunisians are Arab, and are speakers of Tunisian Arabic. However, there is also a small (1% at most) population of Berbers located in the Jabal Dahar mountains in the South East and on the island of Jerba. The Berbers primarily speak Berber languages, often called Shelha. The other long-established community in the country is Jewish (today mainly in the capital Tunis and on Jerba), much reduced in number since independence from France.
One study indicates that the majority of the genetic material in Tunisia did not arrive with the Arabs (no more than 20% was found to come from the Middle East, and most of this presumably was added by Phoenicians/Carthaginians or as even early as the neolithic several millennia B.C. rather than during the Arab conquest). Another study, which does not compare Tunisian genetics with those of the Middle East, states that what it calls the Arab subhaplotype Va was found at a relatively high frequency in Tunisia at 50.6%., but also states that this group in fact "probably correspond to a heterogeneous group representing various ethnicities", rather than just Arabs. Yet another finds that "the Tunisian genetic distances to European samples are smaller than those to North African groups" (these groups being from the Moroccan Atlas and the Siwa oasis in Egypt). This suggests a fairly significant European input to Tunisian genetics.
The first people known to history in what is now Tunisia were the Berbers. Numerous civilizations and peoples have invaded, migrated to, and been assimilated into the population over the millennia, with varying influxes of population via conquest and settlement from Phoenicians/Carthaginians, Romans, Vandals, Arabs, Ottoman Turks, and French. Additionally, after the Reconquista and expulsion of non-Christians and Moriscos from Spain, many Spanish Moors and Jews also arrived at the end of the 15th century.
Religion in Tunisia is dominated by Islam, to which nearly all Tunisians (98%) adhere. In addition to the aforementioned Jewish population there is also a small indigenous Christian population.  Small nomadic indigenous minorities have been mostly assimilated into the larger population.
LanguageAdvert primarily in Tunisian Arabic
Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) is Tunisia's official language. However, as is the case in the rest of the Arab world, a vernacular form of Arabic is used by the public. In Tunisia, the dialect is Tunisian Arabic, which is closely related to the Maltese language. There is also a small minority of speakers of Shelha, a Berber language.
French also has a major role in the country, despite having no official status. It is used widely in education (for example being the medium of instruction in the sciences in secondary school), the press, and in business, and most educated Tunisians are able to speak it. Many Tunisians, particularly those residing in large urban areas, readily mix Tunisian Arabic with French.
Prior to 1958 education in Tunisia was only available to a privileged minority (14%). It is now given a high priority and accounts for 6% of GNP. A basic education for children between the ages of 6 and 16 has been compulsory since 1991.
While children generally acquire Tunisian Arabic at home, when they enter school at age 6, they are taught to read and write in Standard Arabic. From the age of 8, they are taught French while English is introduced at the age of 10.
- Main article: List of universities in Tunisia
Colleges and universities in Tunisia include:
- Ecole Polytechnique de Tunisie
- International University of Tunis
- Université Libre de Tunis
- University of Aviation and Technology, Tunisia
Tunisia, a melting-pot of different civilizations, has always had a rich cultural activity, as testified by its prestigious museums and cultural institutions and by the various international festivals held throughout the year. Sustained efforts have been deployed to promote the cultural sector. The Heritage Code grants companies important tax breaks to encourage investments in restoration and protection of archaeological monuments (e.g. Cathedral of Carthage;) promulgation of legal texts allows free importation of books and paper destined for cultural purposes and the exemption from customs duties of musical instruments.
A whole strategy has been put in place to set up institutions serving as points of reference in the various domains of cultural activity. Among them, the National Dance Center of Borj El Baccouche, the House of Baron of Erlanger converted into a Center for Arab and Mediterranean Music, and the Husseinite Museum (covering the period of the Beys) in the Palace of Ksar Said.
Other projects are in the process of completion, such as the Museum of Modern Art, located at the Palace of El Abdellia, and the National Cultural Center of Tunis. In addition, the International Cultural Center of Hammamet has been refurbished and transformed into the House of the Mediterranean, specializing mainly in theatrical arts. The institution of "Beit el Hikma" was converted into an Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters in order to better contribute to the cultural and intellectual activity of Tunisia. The academy also welcomes distinguished scholars wishing to conduct research in various fields and serves as a meeting place for debates and exchanges between researchers, scholars and artists.
A strategy was adopted , consisting in setting up institutions that can act as vibrant focal points in Tunisian cultural life.
Among these institutions one can mention Tunisia's new, state of the art National Library, the National Heritage Institute, the National Dance Center of Bordj El Baccouche, the Baron of Erlanger Palace which is home to the Arab and Mediterranean music Centre, the Husseinite Museum (covering the Beylical period) at the Ksar Said Museum, within the Bardo Museum.
Other mega projects are also afoot which include Tunis "Culture city" , which will comprise several premises dedicated to arts (opera, theatre and music), a library, exhibit halls, a national archives arts center for new acquisitions, two cinemas, as well as a national museum of civilizations. On the other hand, the International Hammamet Cultural Center ( formerly, "Dar Sebastian") has been renovated to become "The House of the Mediterranean", specializing namely in dramatic arts.
"Beit El Hikma" or House of Wisdom, which is located in Carthage, has been promoted to the rank of "Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters", so as to better contribute to enrich Tunisia's cultural, intellectual and scientific activity.
The Academy also plays host to conferences, colloquia and a place of meeting for researchers, scholars and men of culture, committed to pursue their scholarly activities in an environment propitious to intellectual endeavour. Moreover in 2006, a National Translation Center has been set up with the aim of consolidating the presence of Tunisian cultural activity on the world cultural scene.
Tunisian cinema was born on a particularly fertile ground, nurtured by a love of cinema and admiration for the great works of world cinema. As early as 1922, Samama Chikly, a forerunner of Tunisian cinema and a dabbler who shot the first submarine and aerial (from a hot-air balloon) pictures, made a short fiction film ("Zohra") and the medium-length "Aïn el Ghazel" in 1924, starring his own daughter Haydé, and so became one of the early "indigenous" film-makers of the African continent (the first feature film to which contributed an Egyptian director was only made in 1927).
Later, in 1949, seven years before it acquired its political independence, Tunisia was already one of the countries in the African continent with the biggest number of film societies.Tahar Cheriaa, the president of the federation of film societies and later in charge of the cinema department at the Ministry for Culture, was set to become the "father" of the first Tunisian film productions (Omar Khlifi's "L'Aube", the first Tunisian feature film, was made in 1967) and the founder of the very first Pan-African and Pan-Arab film festival, the Carthage Film Days which are now as popular as they were in 1966.
The film societies and the JCC contributed to training demanding film-makers and film-goers. Right from the beginning, it was never a case of mimicking the unique, "old" Arab cinema (commercial Egyptian cinema), a great provider of melodramas and musical films out of which a few auteurs were striving to make themselves known. The majority of film-makers would rather try their hand at successfully making, each in their own style, original "expressive" films (about politics, society, culture, etc.) bearing their maker's touch and aiming for the international quality standards. Apart from a few exceptions, they did so without taking the easy way out, which would have been rewarding only with the local audience. Unlike its neighbours in Maghreb where, for various reasons and in various periods, "epic" and "populist" films were made, such categories are virtually non-existent in Tunisian cinema where auteur films prevail in an almost individualistic manner. These films are often very different from each other: for example, Nacer Khemir's aesthetic choices have nothing in common with Nouri Bouzid's. In spite of a general "family likeness" and common subject matters, it has been said that each Tunisian film-maker represents his or her own "aesthetic school", which were all landmarks in their own time. Such freedom of choice was made possible because Tunisia also has a kind of film censorship (different from TV censorship) which is undoubtedly one of the most lenient in the Arab world: scenes that are forbidden in other Arab countries (and edited out from Tunisian films screened there), revealing the celebration of female nudity ("Halfaouine"), homosexuality ("Man of Ashes"), political repression ("Golden Horseshoes"), sex tourism ("Bezness"), the destitution of poor areas ("Essaida"), women's right to sexual enlightenment ("Fatma", "Red Satin"), were eventually approved by Tunisian censorship as long as they were expressed by artists and necessary to the coherence of their work. All these elements (a wide film-loving audience and great freedom of expression allowing film-makers to deal with bold subject matters confronting what remained taboo elsewhere), as well as the economic rejection of the all-powerful State and the active support of the private sector which enabled energetic producers (such as Ahmed Attia, Hassan Daldoul, Selma Baccar, and today Dora Bouchoucha, Ibrahim Letaief, Nejib Belkadhi, etc.) to emerge, despite difficulties, all these helped create a sort of golden age both for the artists and the audience during the 1986-1996 decade. Of course, during the previous decade, Tunisian cinema had already been a star on the international festival scene with several films such as "The Ambassadors" (1976), "Sun of the Hyenas" (1977), "Aziza" (1980), "The Trace" (1982)and "The Surveyors of The Desert" (1984), which all received numerous awards in many festivals.
The miracle was that, from "Man of Ashes" (1986) onwards, Tunisian viewers also acclaimed national films in an unprecedented way, unlike what happened in most Southern countries where auteur films are restrained within the ghetto of art houses or exclusively benefit from the glamour of foreign festivals. Tunisian autor films did much better at the local box-office than the best-selling Hollywood or Egyptian films, even so-called difficult films such as "Chich Khan" or "Soltane el Medina": they created a totally new filmic category Ñ mass autor films!
These films won on the local as well as international scenes through theatrical release in foreign countries, reaching a wider audience than that of the festivals, as was the case for big local successes like "The Silences of the Palace", "Halfaouine", "A Summer in La Goulette", (and later abroad "Red Satin"). The makers of these films were often honoured by an invitation to be members of official juries in major film events such as Venice and Berlin. The golden age of the local triumph of Tunisian films stopped after a decade for a number of reasons: the proliferation of very cheap satellite dishes with "pirate cards" (giving free access to subscription-based TV channels) and video shops also offering the latest pirated films have kept the general audience away form the big screen. Also, the fact that ERTT (the national TV network) stopped showing daily promotional trailers of Tunisian films deprived the audience of their main source of information and incentive as far as national films were concerned.The decline was also visible on the international scene. Unlike Tunisia, Morocco remarkably based the organisation of its audiovisual industry on solidarity (Moroccan cinema is funded by a part of the TV advertising income) and thus increased its annual production (Moroccan films logically replaced Tunisian films as soon as 2002). Morocco also became a major location for foreign films, whereas Tunisia had been the leader in that respect thanks to Tarek Ben Ammar's achievement as a famous Tunisian producer of international scale. Today Tunisian cinema is far behind in structural terms.
Tunisia still has no national film centre, no unified ticketing system, no multiplexes (to stop viewers from deserting one-screen cinemas, as this was done elsewhere), no diversified funding sources. It yields no more than three feature films a year, with the help of the praiseworthy (and steadily increasing) financial support of the Ministry for Culture and other national and foreign institutional forms of support. Economic helplessness is coupled with artistic disarray. So far, the success of Tunisian cinema had come from the generation of the 1960s film societies, fostered by a love of the great works of the silver screen, a generation born before the generalisation of television which introduced a new relationship to the moving image. To stop the decline of the local audience and of the Tunisian presence on the international scene, new film-makers desperately and unconsciously try to mimic what they think were the "recipes" for the success of the previous generation, or the "expectations" of foreign festival programmers. Others explore totally new directions: this is what Raja Amari or Nidhal Chatta did in their first features and what can be seen in a number of short fiction films by newcomers, or in Hichem Ben Ammar's "ethnographic" and poetic documentaries. While economic reorganisation is yet to happen, the achievements of tomorrow's Tunisian cinema will surely come from this new "young wave".
Dance in Tunisia
Tribal sword dance
Dancing with swords is an ancient skill in North-Africa. Especially bedouin dancers of the sahara used to do it as a sing of the women that they carry the honour of their husband. Some tribes had sword dancers at their wedding to bring good luck. A
Sword dancing - in arabic called Raqs al Saïf - is widely spread in Turkey, the Middle East as well as Pakistan-India (remember the sword dance in the movie Qurbani?) and Iran (Shamshir-bazi).
Raqs al juzur
A characteristic of Tunisian dance is the horizontal forward and back movement of the hips, reminiscent of the Twist of the 1960’s. The costume of the dancers consists of a melia, a draped garment, which is held together by two silver fibulas (the ancestor of the safety pin). The melia belongs to the family of the most elementary kinds of clothing, in which a straight swath of cloth without tailoring or seams is draped around the body, as for example the Roman toga, the Indian sari or the Indonesian sarong. A specialty of the islands of Kerkennah and Djerba is Raq al Juzur in which the dancer, accompanied by the mizwid (bagpipe) and drums, balances a clay pot on her head while she follows the beat of the drum with her hips. A wool belt with large tassels at each side emphasizes the strong hip movements. Men also perform this dance, often balancing high towers of heavy clay pots on their heads. This dance has become a national symbol for Tunisia.
- Main article: Culture of Tunisia
Further information might be found on the talk pageor at requests for expansion.
Tunisian cuisine is a blend of European, Oriental and desert dweller's culinary traditions. Its distinctive spicy fieriness comes from neighbouring Mediterranean countries and the many civilizations who have ruled Tunisian land: Phoenician, Roman, Arab, Turkish, and the native Berber people. Many of the cooking styles and utensils began to take shape when the ancient tribes were nomads. Nomadic people were limited in their cooking by what locally made pots and pans they could carry with them. A tagine is really the name of a conical-lidded pot, although today the same word is applied to what is cooked in it.
Like all countries in the Mediterranean basin, Tunisia offers a "sun cooking," based mainly on olive oil, spices, tomatoes, seafood (a wide range of fish) and meat from rearing.Unlike other North African cuisine, Tunisian food is spicy hot. A popular condiment and ingredient which is used extensively Tunisian cooking, harissa is a hot red pepper sauce made of red chili peppers and garlic, flavoured with coriander, cumin, olive oil and often tomatoes. There is an old wife's tale that says a husband can judge his wife's affections by the amount of hot peppers she uses when preparing his food. If the food becomes bland then a man may believe that his wife no longer loves him. However when the food is prepared for guests the hot peppers are often toned down to suit the possibly more delicate palate of the visitor. Like harissa or chili peppers, the tomato is also an ingredient which cannot be separated from the cuisine of Tunisia. Tuna, eggs, olives and various varieties of pasta, cereals, herbs and spices are also ingredients which are featured prominently in Tunisian cooking.
Tabil, is a word in Tunisian Arabic meaning "seasoning " and refers to a particular Tunisian spice mix, although earlier it meant ground coriander. Paula Wolfert makes the plausible claim that tabil is one of the spice mixes brought to Tunisia by Muslims expelled from Andalusia in 1492 after the fall of Granada. Today tabil, closely associated with the cooking of Tunisia, features coriander seeds and is pounded in a mortar and then dried in the sun and is often used in cooking beef or veal.
Thanks to its long coastline and numerous fishing ports, Tunisia can serve abundant, varied and exceptionally fresh supply of fish in its restaurants. Many diners will be content to have their fish simply grilled and served filleted or sliced with lemon juice and a little olive oil. Fish can also be baked, fried in olive oil, stuffed, seasoned with cumin (kamoun). Squid, cuttle fish, and octopus are often served in hot crispy batter with slices of lemon, as a cooked salad or stuffed and served with couscous.
Couscous is the national dish of Tunisia and can be prepared in many ways. It is cooked in a special kind of double boiler called a kiska:s in Arabic. Meat and vegetables are boiled in the lower half. The top half has holes in the bottom through which the steam rises to cook the grain which is put in this part. Cooked this way the grain acquires the flavour of whatever is below. The usual grain is semolina. To serve, the grain is piled in the middle of a dish, and the meat and vegetables put on top. A sauce can be then poured over before serving.
Like in the rest of North Africa, couscous is served on all occasions. It is traditionally eaten with lamb, the semolina must be very fine, and the vegetables (carrots, little white cabbages, turnips, chick peas) only lightly cooked. Depending on the season, the vegetables change: there may also be cardoons, cold broad beans, or pumpkin.
Mloukhia, a beef or lamb stew with bay leaves and served with bread. Its name is derived from the green herb used, which produces a thick gravy that has a mucilaginous (somewhat "slimy") texture, similar to cooked okra.
The most sought-after seafood speciality is poisson complet: the fish is prepared, fried, grilled or sauted, accompanied by potato chips and either normal or spicy tastira, depending on the kind of peppers used in the dish. The peppers are grilled with a little tomato, a lot of onion and a little garlic, all of which is finely chopped and served with a poached egg.
Other popular Tunisian foods and recipes
Aknef :lamb steamed on a bed of rosemary, accompanied by chorba. Traditionally served during Eid-ul-Fitr, called Aid el Kebir in Tunisia.
Borghol bil alluch :simmered burghul cooked with lamb, peas and chickpeas. Brik :tiny parcels of minced lamb, beef, or vegetables and an egg wrapped in thin pastry and deep fried.
Bouza : rich and sticky sorghum potatos soup. Chakchouka :a vegetarian ragout with chickpeas, tomatoes, peppers, garlic and onions served with a poached egg.
Chorba : spicy soup often containing a type of short pasta shaped like rice seeds".
Felfel mahchi :sweet peppers stuffed with meat, usually lamb, and served with harissa sauce.
Guenaoia : lamb or beef stew with chillies, okra, sweet peppers and coriander.
Houria : cooked carrot salad.
Lablabi :rich garlicky soup made with chickpeas.
Kabkabou :Light and subtly seasoned fish simmered in a tomato-based sauce.
Koucha : whole baby lamb baked in a clay case with rosemary.
Makroud : semolina cake stuffed with dates, cinnamon and grated orange peel.
Masfouf : sweetened couscous, the Tunisian version of the Moroccan seffa.
Mechouia Salad : grilled sweet peppers, tomatoes and onions mixed with oil lemon, tuna fish.
Merguez :small spicy sausages.
Mhalbya : cake made with rice, nuts and geranium water.
Noicer pasta :very thin, small squares of pasta made with semolina and all-purpose flour, flavoured with cinnamon and rosebuds.
Ojja :scrambled egg dish made of tomatoes and mild green chilies supplemented with various meats and harissa.
Osbane : pieces of animal gut stuffed with meat and offal, a specialty from Monastir.
Salata batata : hot potato salad flavoured with caraway seeds.
Samsa : layers of thin pastry alternated with layers of ground roast almonds, and sesame seeds, baked in lemon and rosewater syrup.
Tlithou pasta :small pasta made with semolina, yeast, olive oil, salt and water, mainly prepared for Aid el Kebir.
Zitounia : veal ragout simmered in a tomato sauce and onions, flavoured with olives.
Torshi : turnips marinated with lime juice.
Yo-yo : donuts made with orange juice, deep fried then dipped in honey syrup.
In Tunisia, the sculpture knew its hour of glory at the Roman reign. Nowadays, it is less practiced by the Tunisian artists in spite of the presence of sculptors of talent such as Marzouk and Hedi Selmi, whose several works appear in the museum of modern art of Tunis. It is the pictorial art which is most representative of the visual arts.
The Tunisian school of painting counts several generations of artists. In the Forties was born the school from Tunis and at the end of the Sixties it is with its apogee thanks to artists such as Ammar Foorat, painter of Tunisia authenticates Ali Ben Salem and Jalel Ben Abdallah who reactualized the miniature (major kind of Arab art pictorial), Cjorgi, Bellagha and Zoubeir Turrbli, paintings of Tunis traditional. Let us choose artistic of the rising generation go from the pseudo-abstract to “naive”. Certain painters such as Nja Mahdaoui passing from the lyric abstraction to calligraphic art, reinvented the sign, it making pass in the abstract, the Arab letter becoming a pure plastic element.
List of Tunisian plastics technicians sorted by chronological order
Pioneers: Ahmed Osman, Hédi Khayachi, Yahia Turki, Abdelaziz Berraïes, Aly Ben Salem, Ammar Farhat, Hatim Elmekki.
The school of Tunis: Abdelaziz Gorgi, Ali Bellagha, Ammar Farhat, Brahim Dahak, Brahim Dhahak, Edgard Naccache, Fethi Ben Zakour, Hassen Soufy, Hédi Turki, Jellal Ben Abdallah, Jelal Ben Abdallah, Jules Lellouche, Moses Levy, Nello Levy, Pierre Boucherle, Safia Farhat, Yahia Turki, Zoubeir Turki.
New tendencies: Hatim Elmekki, Néjib Belkhoja, Mahmoud Sehili.
The abstraction: Habib Chébil, Ridha Bettaïeb, Rafik El Kamel, Noureddine El Héni, Rachid Fakhfakh, Habib Bida, Jamel Esseghaïer, Mohamed El Yakoubi, Amel Bennys. New Discovery of the inheritance: Néjib Belkhoja, Nja Mahdaoui, Rym Karoui, Insaf Sâada.
Figurations: Mahmoud Sehili, Habib Saïdi, Belgacem Lakhdar, Gmach, Ridha Ben Abdallah, Abderrazak Sahli, Faouzi Chtioui.
Poetic universes: Gouider Triki, Fethi Ben Zakour, Hamadi Ben Saâd, Mohamed Rolls Sassi, Ahmed Hajri, Mohamed Lamine Sassi, Faouzi Hassouna, Meriem Bouderbala, Halim Karabibène, Hajer Mselmani.
Tunisian naive art: Baghdadi Chniter.
Kairouan is the first center of manufacture while employing more than 23.000 people (especially young women) on a working total of 28.000 in the sector of the craft industry. The tradition allots to a girl of an Othoman governor of Kairouan the introduction in Tunisia, in 1830, carpet at tied points of Anatolian inspiration. However, the oldest traces of carpet go up in Ve front century J. - C. with the famous Carthaginian tapestries tinted with the murex.
In VIIIe century, the emir aghlabide paid the tribute with the caliph de Bagdad out of carpet. The uses of the carpet are multiple, whether it is in the mediums townsman, countryman or nomad: saddle, groundsheet, prayer, carpet of decoration...
One distinguishes today several types of typical carpets of the Tunisian craft industry: The carpet strictly speaking is also specified carpet of Kairouan because its manufacture started at the XIXe century in this city of the center of Tunisia. Even if the manufacture of carpet relates to other cities such as Ksibet el-Médiouni, Gabès or Bizerte, Kairouan remains the principal center of manufacture. Contrary to the mergoum and the kilim, it is about a carpet of tied points not woven. It is manufactured containing wool or of cotton (in particular for the screen and the chain) and more rarely of flax. It can be coloured in the natural colors of the white to chestnut while passing by the beige gray when it is of alloucha type (standard original).
The wool is always thick, because it is that of the sheep, but one can use the hair of the dromedary or the goat. Its dimensions are variable, in a rectangular composition, of 70 by 140 cm up to 300 by 400 cm. Its texture, defined by the number of points tied per m ², spreads out between 12.000 and 490.000 but the standard is of 40.000, i.e. 20 lines by 20 lines. The composition of the carpet is made of a broad rectangular central field framed by edges made up of parallel bands. The field has broad corner pieces which delimit a hexagonal field. The reasons are geometrical but can also be stylized flowers, giving to the unit a symmetrical aspect with prevalence of the form of the rhombus.
During the XXe century, the alloucha type evolves to more complexity and by polychromy, texture increases and the Persian influences are felt with the appearance of the recognizable zarbia to its color brown-red.
The mergoum: it is a short-pile carpet of wool often made up on a red content with Berber reasons (regma). Its place of production of origin is the town of Oudhref close to Gabès which gives him sometimes its name. The kilim which translates a strong Turkish influence left by the period of domination Ottoman.
Tapestries: one finds them with a large variety of colors in certain cities of the Tunisian South such as Gafsa and Tataouine.
Jewels and silverware
The history of the Tunisian jewelry goes back to the paddle of the punic era from which it borrows several signs symbols and forms which are found today still in the current jewels. This secular craft industry was enriched by various contributions Roman, Byzantine, Arabic, Turkish and Andalusian who modelled in various materials the ornament of the woman of their time.
Today, the distinction a long time maintained between the rural money jewel and the town gold jewel definitively grew blurred. The variety of materials used, the multiplication of the production centres and the development of the tastes stripped the jewelry of its value symbolic system to keep only its commercial value of it. Admittedly regional idiosyncracies persist and point out the origins of various ornaments but they are not any more the exclusiveness in the craftsmen of such or such area: ornaments of marriage, they evolved/moved with this institution of which the ceremonial désacralise more and more.Rihana large chain of flat gold rings, Skhab, chains of gold, money and amber. Khomsas, Kholkhals rings of ankles, the additional fibules of support of Melia, Khellas attest the variety and the wealth of these characteristics but yield gradually to the generation of very snuffed jewels: bracelets out of gold, rings in the form of rhombus encrusted with semi-precious stones or enamels, collars modernized and loops with the European one.
Currently designers and artists invest the field of the craft industry and innovate by proposing jewels of very modern invoice. Contrary to the jewelry which evolves/moves and loses its value symbolic system, Tunisian silverware, if it also loses its functions, perpetuates the same purposes and guard the same passion at the customers: ustensils of luxury, curios and accessories various furnish and decorate the modern interiors.
The standard collection consists of a censer (Mabkhara) one to aspergeir (mrech) stylized poudriers, combs, shoes, boxes (Kanawita) and mirrors of toilet. The techniques of pushed back and the filigree compete of beauty and propose different menus purposes with the admiration of the collectors. This range is extended more and more to pieces of furniture, consoles, mirrors and armchairs or the art of the cabinetmaker is requested.
Ceramics and pottery
The art of the pottery and ceramics is thousand-year-old in Tunisia which knows two types of pottery: a pottery turned by the men and another modelled by the women: the latter meets only in rural environment; it is primarily utility. Modelling, the cooking and the decoration of these potteries are remained primitive. The lines, the points, the ciliés features, the teeth of saw, the crosses, the rhombuses are as many reasons which point out tattooings and rural fabrics of wool.
When with the turned pottery, it seems that they are the potters of Jerba which were the first to use the turn since the most moved back times. They hold their improvement of this art of old Egypt, Phénicie, Greece and Rome. In fact also the potters of Guellala (Jerba) are at the origin of the creation of other centers potters in the Tunisian littoral. Tunis, Nabeul, Moknine them must have given birth to there an of the same production invoices than that of Jerba. But if the porous pottery “chaouat” is identified in Guellala, that enamelled, yellow, green or brown, is synonymous with Nabeul. The potters of this city owe their fame with this technique. The use of the glazes and metallic oxides came from Baghdad at the time aghlabide (IX ème century).
Ceramics Fatimide and Zirîde (IX ème century is characterized by a representational art devoting the representation of human figures and animals. This art was spread in the of the same Maghreb countries Q' in Andalusia and Sicily. From the XVIIth century Tunisian ceramics is subject to strongly the Turkish influence: the ceramists tunisois, installed with Qallaline, produce a polychrome ceramics pointing out that of Turkey Ottmane.
Nowadays, ceramics knows a true rebirth. The development of the sector of the building gave him a new strength by allowing the emergence of a great number of artisanal manufacturing units as well as industrial. But ceramics is not limited to the utility functions since it has an increasingly important place in the play activities of the Tunisian plastics technicians who regard it more as art with whole share than like simple technique.
So today, Tunisian gets dressed and relative in the same way, it was different at the beginning of the century, where each area, if not each village had its male and female costumes. The female traditional costume is characterized by its variety from one area to another. However the essential part which constitutes it is the bent “cut” tunic.
Conceived in broad and simple forms the tunics without handles, are often cut in fabrics of wool, cotton or silk, according to the circumstances. The embroidery is the distinctive sign of the various regional costumes. Money wire, spangles and braids gilded are the ornaments of almost all the ladies' garments: portfolios (Qmajja), waistcoat (Farmla), dress (Jebba and Kadrûn), scarf (Takrita), Cap (Qoufiya), handles (Kmâm), and tunic of marriage (large Qmajja).
In the Sahel are made the draped rich person, embroidered of gold and silk where abound with multiple figurative reasons: characters, flowers, animals… The villagers of the mountains of the South raise their elegant draped dresses of geometrical reasons. The caps richly decorated with embroideries of silk, money, pearls and gold, of the jewels, many and varied, of the shirt makers to the broad lace handles, of the shoes to the adapted embroideries were the essential complements of these female costumes.
The traditional costume is today still, the behavior par excellence for the marriages and the ceremonies and constitutes a source of inspiration of more modern clothes. From the techniques and esthetics old, new products were born. Clothing and the ornament know a change adapted to the life contemporary and imposed by the fashion. The male traditional costume has to him also its regional specificities all while referring at Arab ancestral origins for its general aspect (full costume).
Kaddroun, the blouse, the bden are still carried especially in the rural regions but it is Jebba which was essential like national traditional dress. Jebba Tunisian profited from the influences Andalusian and Turkish to forward itself such-which is nowadays. This loose dress covering all the body, is different according to quality from its fabric, its colors and its passementeries.
The vestimentary trimmings (harj-elkessoua), woven passementeries, gallons, braids owe beings harmonizes some with fabrics of the jebba variable according to the seasons: tease, silk, cloth (melf), fabric of flax (quamraya) and mixes silk and teases (mqârdech). The parts supplementing the port of the jebba, male traditional costume of the townsmen, contains two to three open or closed waistcoats (bedaia), sedria, fermla), a jacket (mentân), a jodhpurs (serouâl) tight with the size by a broad silk belt. Outside this costume is supplemented by the port of a burnous which is also raised by a special embroidery works men embroiderers called “Bransia”.
Leather and leather working
The formerly flourishing trades of leather, include the art of saddlery and the embroidery on leather, the manufacture of the traditional shoe (balgha) and various other utility purposes in leather working. The saddlery of pageantry trônait at the top of the trades of leather. The saddle with its varieties of embroidery, constituted the chief of work of the craft industry of leather.
Forming until the beginning of our century one of the most important corporations of the souks of the médina, the saddlers animated in Tunis the gravers of the souk sarrajines. The other principal corporation of the craftsmen of leather was that of the “balgagias” which, grouped in the souks of the same name made the male and female Turkish slippers. The “balgha” knew its period ostentation when it was the single shoe, of interior and exit, used by the men and the women of all the social classes as well by the townsmen as the rural ones. In addition to the balgha, the craftsmen manufactured other kinds of Turkish slippers such as Besmaq, Rihya and Kontra.
The Turkish slippers of men are generally of the natural color of leather. Those of the women in their majority are embroidered with money and gold, cotton, silk wire with floral reasons or crescents.
The development of the lifestyles and transport, gradually, brought the craftsmen of leather to a happy reconversion. Currently, in the gravers of the souks, the craftsmen devote themselves more and more to the manufacture of products of leather working; satchels, portfolios of schoolboys, leather basket, belts, carries sheets, trimmings of offices, boxes, cushions, poufs and purposes decorative. These purposes are often stamped by geometrical reasons. The souk of the “Balghajiya” is today the last and the single souk which still keeps its specialization in spite of the generalization of the modern shoe. The rehabilitation of the port of the traditional dress is at the origin of the promptness of the souk. The balgha being an essential accessory for the traditional costume.
Iron made handicrafts===
The Tunisian wrought iron is especially inspired by the manufacture of Moroccan and Spanish wrought iron (Andalusians). The various reasons which decorate grids, doors, windows, transoms of Souks, and brackets, are of Arab, Spanish and Portuguese inspiration. The reasons for filling are composed of irons in forms of C and S.
Generally, the grids of the windows and the doors are composed of a round iron framework of 8 to 10 mm diameter, and round iron decorative reasons of 5 mm, fixed at the framework and connected to each other by round or flat iron hoops from 3 to 4 mm thickness. More rarely the squares and the flats were employed in these compositions, and only in ironwork inspired by the contributions Spanish and Portuguese or in those of modern times.
Other elements referring to the building, the such stops, the entries of locks, the strap hinges, and the “Khomsas” (specifically Arab elements which represent a hand and which according to the legends protect from the evil eye). The wrought iron or cut out, bronze and copper engraved, engraved or cut out are frequently employed for the execution of these accessories of doors. Nowadays wrought iron at conquered other horizons that of the world of the building, it with crossed the universe of decoration as an approval for other craft industries such blown glass, where he becomes an integral part in manufacture of luminaries (glosses, lamps and brackets), of candlesticks and other decorative purposes.
It is at the XVIIIème century that the craft industry of copper knew its golden age in Tunisia, in particular in the big cities (Tunis, Sfax, Kairouan). The purposes out of copper are an important component of the trousseau of married in the town families until the XX century half. Today, chiselling spreads and embellishes incrustations of money wire,
Red copper cauldrons and pots apparent keeping the traces of the hammering, and which one uses as mask pots. Following the example ceramics, vases with the most varied forms such braziers, the candy boxes, the vases with flowers, are covered with a vitreous enamel to the hot colors like the green, the mauve and the honey, which lets show through a schematized floral decoration.
Tunisia has the richest collection of ancient mosaics of the world. It is at the time Roman and especially starting from IIème century that this art developed so much so that one can speak about a true African school, marked by a great control of the illustrated representation and a pallet as rich as refined. Today still, it is possible to get reproductions of old mosaics that skilful craftsmen elements themselves to reduce and to modernize for decorative uses.
Very much used in Tunisian architecture, the carved calcareous stone, from beige color or pink known as “khadal” comes from Dar Chaabane (Nabeul). It is used for manufacture of the arcs, of the managing staffs of the doors and the windows, and even of capitals such as one can see some in several houses of the médinas of Tunis and Sfax and currently in the modern construction industry.
Vegetable fibers, basket making and nattery
Nabeul is the most important production center of rush mats “smâr”. It produces a varied range of mural twist(qiyâs) or twist of ground and bed (will hsira) which generally furnish the mosques. The Sahel and Sfax are famous for their production of utility esparto manufacture, scourtins used in traditional transport of products. Today this cottage industry is reconverted into the items of domestic use as the door mats or carpet of corridor.
Basket making containing sheets of palm trees constitutes an important aspect of the craft industry of the South; baskets, ranges and hats are the principal products. The wicker is used in the manufacture of basket. The pieces of furniture in basket making (cane-bottoming) are a recent production which gains the favors of increasingly modern customers.
Painting annealed glass
Tunisian painting under glass is characterized by its drawn topics hagiographic and heroic the Moslem epopee. The floral and animalist reasons also are very snuffed. Currently it evolves to the utility product (Mirror) in gilded managing staffs which emphasize the expansion of the colors of the very excavated drawings and the light of the mirrors. Cage of Sidi Bou Saïd
Very elegant and very decorative, the cage of Sidi Bou Said is inspired in its decoration by the arabesques by the window by wrought iron (Zlabiya) which decorates frontings of the residences of Médina.
Puffed up glass
Glass is a very old practice deeply anchored in the cultural history of our country. The Punic ones inherited this practice their ancestors Phéniciens, to adapt it and develop it in Carthage and Kerkouane. After the decline of the Roman Empire, the Tunisian glass-makers continued to produce glass with the traditional way of blowing to the free air or in a mould.
The Moslem Middle Ages see to settle in Tunisia a craft industry glass-maker which makes specific great strides following the example other countries of the Islamic East: Delicacy of the moulded and cut ornaments and especially wealth of the gilded and enamelled decorations works.
The dynasties of Aghlabides, Fatimides and Zirides which sought to compete with the ostentation of the court of Baghdad, developed, as of the IX ème century a craft industry glass-maker which remains active until half of the XIV ème century which saw the elimination of blowing to the mouth with the profit of the industrial production.
After an eclipse of a few centuries, glass returns to Tunisia by the effort of the National office of the craft industry which reintroduced the techniques traditionneles. The creative craftsmen took the changing and express themselves from now on in several registers which combine ancestral traditions and modern practices.
In producing spite of the scarcity of the forests of wood, the work of wood is strongly rootly in the craft industry; the Tunisian inheritance conceals famous masterpieces carried out in various gasolines of this material illustrating various techniques.
The scarcity of wood allowed the development of major arts related to this noble material: sculpture, openwork and painting.
Should it be recalled that the “minbar” of the Large mosque of Kairouan dated from the lXth century is a single piece of furniture by the beauty of its panels (nearly 110) carved and assembled. It is not only most beautiful “minbar” known but also oldest of the Moslem world arabo. The Tunisian craftsman did not only excel in the sculpture of wood. Others techniques, such as turning and painting are familiar for him.
Painting on wood with its geometrical or floral varieties is implemented with art to the ceilings of the mosques and the large residences; she traverses the racks carry-arm, intended to carry weapons lying: she also decorates with splendid trunks devoted by the tradition to contain and take along the trousseau of the bride. But the Tunisian craftsman also expressed his gift by combining some times the sculpture and painting on wood. This is checked for example in several “Hanût Hajjem” which is a kind of front of bed out of painted gilded and carved wooden.
Nowadays, the development of manners and the contact with other civilizations, made fall several branches from this craft industry in disuse. Thus, “Hanût Hajjem”, and the trunks are supplanted by modern pieces of furniture manufactured in series or by senior cabinetmakers who married the spirit of times. The old pieces of furniture become rare, nonfunctional and only decorative parts for the modern interiors. But the techniques remain and evolve/move: the openwork, turning and painting found supports other than the pieces of furniture (racks, consoles, managing staffs, folding screens small curios), where the craftsman continues to excel in thousand-year-old kinds.
El Jem International Symphonic FestivalPerformances of some of the finest classical works, set in the candle-lit surroundings of the best-preserved Roman coliseum in the world. Whether you're a music buff or simply curious, you cannot afford to miss this highly romantic setting. Year after year, the festival has attracted big names from the musical world, clearly as eager to play in such amazing surroundings as spectators are to enjoy them. A word of warning, however: even the most wonderful music will not detract from the fact that you're sitting on age-old stone. Bring a cushion.
Directions El Jem is approximately 210km south-east of Tunis, 60km south of Sousse and 60km north of Sfax. The Colosseum is visible as you approach the town.
Festival of Ksour If the scenery around these parts looks familiar to you, you'd be right. George Lucas' Star Wars were not filmed a long time ago in a galaxy far far away, but in the Seventies, and in the strange lunar landscape of the Tunisian desert.The ghortas (grain stones) created by weathering resemble huge mushrooms, and the inhabitants carve their dwellings out of the sandy rock.The area, thrilling to see at the best of times, is enjoying something of a revival due to the recent Star Wars prequel, and there is no better time to visit than during this celebration of local folklore. Witness some fine music and dance, and follow the natives' lead by sleeping in underground rooms away from the heat. A good time is guaranteed, though light-sabres and X-wing fighters may not be in evidence.
contact: Direction Festival City: Tataouine
Sahara Douz Festival The main theme of this demonstration is the cultural heritage of the “Mrazig”, which was at the origin of the nomads practitioner transhumance in the vast Sahara.The standard program of the festival includes/understands:
reconstitutions of the traditional marriage and its procession of ceremonies.
races of “méharis” and dromedaries. horse-race of thorough-bred Arabic. tables of breeding of the camels and greyhound: the “sloughi”. scenes of hunting for the greyhound and combat of dromedaries. poetic tournaments. folk concerts and evenings. excursions in the great Eastern erg an election of Miss Festival. an economic fair to which share several Arab and African countries take. exhibitions and fairs.
Tabarka Jazz FestivalTabarka Jazz Festival is an annual festival of music taking place in August and July, since 1970, in the coastal town of Tabarka (Tunisia).The town of Tabarka comes to life to the sounds of jazz from around the world.Local and national musicians perform to provide some real fusion flavour, and jazz enthusiasts can take part in seminars and workshops. With the July climate guaranteeing perfect weather, you can enjoy music in the midst of your summer holiday.
History The tourist rise of Tabarka goes back to the years 1970. À this time, a young Tunisian promoter, Lotfi Belhassine (future founder of the Aquarius Club and Air Freedom), creates a festival of musics which in a few years becomes an artistic appointment of international repute. As of the beginning, the slogan of this festival is: “I do not want to bronze idiotic”.
International Festival of Carthage Although this event is intended as Tunisia's premier international arts festival, its most interesting components include examples of fusion between local, more traditional forms of music and dance and more mainstream, international styles. Particular examples include forms of Tunisian music mixed with jazz. Traditionalists, however, can enjoy productions of many works, including international theatre and ballet performances in the well-preserved Roman amphitheatre
of this illustrious ancient site. Carthage was the capital of the Phoenician empire which reached its zenith in the 3rd-4th centuries AD.
cantact: Cultural National Committee 105 Av Freedom of The Belvedere Tunis 1002
- Communications in Tunisia
- Cuisine of Tunisia
- History of the Jews in Tunisia
- Tunisian Italians
- Military of Tunisia
- Transportation of Tunisia
- Les Scouts Tunisiens
- Gay rights in Tunisia
- Islam in Tunisia
- Music of Tunisia
- Tunisian Arabic
- List of schools in Tunisia
- ^ Moustapha Kraiem. Le fascisme et les italiens de Tunisie, 1918-1939". Cahiers du CERES. Tunis, 1969. pag 96
- ^ Committee to Protect Journalists 2005 Report on Tunisia. CPJ (2005). Retrieved on 2006-11-30.
- ^ Tunisia Governorates
- ^ CIA
- ^ Columbia Gazetteer
- ^ CIA
- ^ CIA — The World Factbook — Tunisia. Retrieved on 2007-01-13.
- ^ TUNISIE — Ils ont choisi le christianisme (French) (2005-07-07). Retrieved on 2006-09-09.
- ^ Borg and Azzopardi-Alexander Maltese (1997:xiii) "The immediate source for the Arabic vernacular spoken in Malta was Muslim Sicily, but its ultimate origin appears to have been Tunisia. In fact Maltese displays some areal traits typical of Maghrebine Arabic, although during the past eight hundred years of independent evolution it has drifted apart from Tunisian Arabic."
- ^ Gabsi, Zouhir (2003) 'An outline of the Shilha (Berber) vernacular of Douiret (Southern Tunisia)' 
- ^ Krayt dragon - Wookieepedia, the Star Wars Wiki
External linksThe external links in this article may not follow Wikipedia's content policiesor guidelines.
Please improve this articleby removing excessive or inappropriate external links.
- Tunisia travel guide from Wikitravel
- (French) Tunisia Government official site
- (Arabic) Tunisia Chamber of Deputies official site
- The North Africa Journal business news
- Tunisia Media Online government-sourced
- (French) (Arabic) (English) News and Views of the Maghreb
- AllAfrica.com — Tunisia news headline links
- BBC News Country Profile — Tunisia
- Encyclopedia Britannica, Tunisia — Country Page
- Tunisia on arab.net
- CIA World Factbook — Tunisia
- Open Directory Project — Tunisia directory category
- (French) (Arabic) (English) country info & who's who
- Tunisia.com guide to Tunisia
- Tunisia on Wookieepedia, a Wikia wiki
- Tunisland The Biggest Video Website For Everything Tunisian
- Everything about Tunisia
- Tunisian online demonstration as protest against dictatorship
- For the liberation of Political Prisoners in Tunisia
- The tunisian law from Jurispedia
- Tunisia Daily
- (French) List of catholic marriages in Tunisia 1801 – 1949
- (French) Tunisia Today
- Tunisian Community Center (the Organization of Tunisian-Americans)
Algeria · Angola · Benin · Botswana · Burkina Faso · Burundi · Cameroon · Cape Verde · Central African Republic · Chad · Comoros · Democratic Republic of the Congo · Republic of the Congo · Côte d'Ivoire · Djibouti · Egypt · Eritrea · Ethiopia · Equatorial Guinea · Gabon · The Gambia · Ghana · Guinea · Guinea-Bissau · Kenya · Lesotho · Liberia · Libya · Madagascar · Malawi · Mali · Mauritania · Mauritius · Mozambique · Namibia · Niger · Nigeria · Rwanda · Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic · São Tomé and Príncipe · Senegal · Seychelles · Sierra Leone · Somalia · South Africa · Sudan · Swaziland · Tanzania · Togo · Tunisia · Uganda · Zambia · Zimbabwe
(Aramaicand Hebrew) Iraq
Link former page on this page
Related word on this page