Tunisia, bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east, Algeria to the west and Libya to the south, is the northernmost country on the continent of Africa. There is an estimated population of around 11 million residents, as of 2014. The northern part of the country has a climate influenced by its proximity to the Mediterranean Sea, while the southern part of Tunisia is desert-like. However, the entire country has reasonably warm temperatures much of the year.
Arabic, specifically the vernacular of Tunisian Arabic (also known as Tounsi or Durja) is the official language of Tunisia. Although French is not an official language, it is widely used in schools, by the press, and in business—with nearly 65% of residents speaking French at least part time.
- Tunis is Tunisia’s only town with a “tube” service, actually more closely resembling a tramway.
- Evidence of settlements from the Stone Age have been found at Tunisia’s Kebili oasis.
- In addition to modern tourist destinations like the capital city of Tunis, many people travel to Tunisia each year to visit the ancient ruins of Carthage.
- Tunisia is segmented into 24 ‘wilayats’, or districts. Tunis is Tunisia’s smallest wilayat and Tataouine is its largest.
- Since it achieved independence in 1956, Tunisia has only employed two presidents. President Bourgiba governed until 1987 until the current president, President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, took over in a bloodless coup.
- Tunisia is not just the smallest country that runs against the Atlas mountain range, but also Africa’s northernmost country.
- Art has been paramount to the culture of Tunisia, especially over the last century or so. There are over fifty art galleries featuring exhibitions of both local and international artists.
- Football (soccer) is a popular sport in the country; the Tunisian team represented Africa in the 2005 FIFA Cup of Confederations.