Tunisia 68th Independence: 10 Fun Facts to Know About this Scenic Country  

Tunisia situated in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea connecting the Middle East, Asia, and Europe to Africa officially gained its independence from France on March 20, 1956.

3 mins read
Tunisia 68th Independence: 10 Fun Facts to Know About the Scenic Country  
Image: United States Institute of Peace

Today, Tunisia is adorned in vibrant colors as it commemorates its 68th Independence Day with national pride and fervor. The country, which gained independence from France on March 20th, 1956, usually celebrates this historic milestone with grand parades and dazzling fireworks displays.

Tunisia’s journey to freedom was not an easy one. For nearly a century, the nation endured the weight of French colonial rule. However, through the unwavering determination and sacrifices of countless Tunisian nationalists, including the revered Habib Bourguiba, Tunisia gained independence. On March 20th, 1956, the French government agreed to Tunisia’s demands for independence following extensive negotiations with Bourguiba. It was a moment of triumph as the Tunisian flag was hoisted for the first time.

Tunisia, a favored spot for travelers, holds many fascinating facts that make it unique:

1. Language

Arabic is the official language in Tunisia, widely spoken throughout the country. However, French holds significance, especially in business and education. Most Tunisians speak a dialect of Tunisian Arabic, while Modern Standard Arabic is taught in schools.

Image: Britannica

2. Religion

Religiously, Tunisia is predominantly Muslim, with Islam, particularly in its Mālikī Sunni form, serving as the state religion. Since independence, the numbers of Christian and Jewish minorities have declined substantially. While non-Muslims numbered more than 300,000 in 1956, today, they have been reduced to only tens of thousands. Tunisia embraces religious diversity, allowing both Muslim and non-Muslim communities to practice their faiths freely.

Al-Zaytuna Mosque in Tunis, Tunisia. Image: WorldAtlas

3. Historical Significance

Tunisia’s ancient city of Carthage, an ancient city founded by Phoenician settlers in the 9th century BC, holds immense historical significance. Once a powerful trading empire, Carthage played a prominent role in the ancient world. Tunisia’s geographical location has facilitated the entry of various peoples throughout history, with the original population likely being Berber-speaking.

4. Flag

The Tunisian flag ranked as the 85th prettiest flag globally, carries deep historical and cultural significance. It symbolizes Tunisia’s Arab and Islamic heritage, representing the nation’s identity and pride.

5. Ethnic Diversity

The nation’s population comprises mainly Caucasian and mixed Caucasian-Black ethnicities, with a notable minority of Black Tunisians. Minority populations of Black Tunisians make up roughly 10% to 15% of the total population. Notably, Tunisia stands out in the Middle East and North Africa as a country that recognizes racism as a problem. In 2018, it became the only nation in the region to enact legislation criminalizing racial discrimination.

Tunisians dressed in national costume for the celebration of the national day of traditional dress on March 13, 2022. Photo: Xinhua

6. Star Wars Filming Locations

Many scenes from the iconic Star Wars movie series were filmed in the southern regions of Tunisia, which have now become popular tourist attractions, drawing visitors eager to explore the cinematic landscapes since the movie’s release in 1977.

The set of Tatouine from Star Wars. Image: Reflections enroute

7. Roman Ruins

Tunisia is home to some of the world’s most well-preserved Roman ruins, with sites such as Dougga, Mustis, Uchi Maius, Thibar, Bulla Regia, Hammam Mellegue, Haïdra, and El Jem stand as testaments to Tunisia’s rich archaeological heritage, inviting enthusiasts to embark on a journey through history.

Ruins and ancient streetscape of Dougga. Image: Renee Vititoe

Tunisia’s rich history includes a remarkable water supply system dating back to the Middle Ages. Known as “Roman Hanaya,” this system featured bridges with covered canals made of solid rocks, stretching over 132 kilometers. Its primary purpose was to transport clean water from Zaghouan to Carthage. Among Tunisia’s historical treasures is the colossal El Jem Amphitheater, built in 238 AD with a staggering capacity of 35,000 spectators.

8. UNESCO World Heritage site

The Medina of Tunis, a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1979, boasts an impressive collection of 700 monuments. Situated not far from the capital, Tunis, this historic quarter offers a treasure trove of cultural heritage. Within the bustling Medina, visitors encounter a vibrant antique and traditional clothes market, alongside a plethora of monuments. These include elegant ancient palaces, historic mosques, and revered mausoleums, all frequented by both locals and tourists. Notably, visitors can explore the Zaytuna Mosque, constructed in 698 AD, making it the oldest mosque in the capital.

Medina of Tunis. Image:rjtravelagency.com

9. Tunisians Loves Couscous

Couscous holds a special place in Tunisian cuisine, beloved by locals who prepare this nutritious dish at least once a week. Made from wheat semolina, vegetables, and various proteins such as meat, chicken, fish, or octopus, couscous reflects Tunisia’s culinary heritage and healthy eating habits.

Tunisia Couscous Salade Image: Jenniferlowery.com

10. Olive Oil Production

Tunisia ranks among the top three olive oil exporters globally, renowned for its high-quality olive oil. The country’s rich olive tree heritage has been cultivated by various civilizations throughout history. Tunisia ranks among the top three olive oil exporters globally. Tunisian olive oil is highly sought after worldwide for its unique flavor and quality. The country’s olive trees have been cultivated by numerous Mediterranean civilizations, including the Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, and Arabs.

Juliet Anine

Juliet Anine is an accomplished writer and editor, boasting over five years of experience in the field. She specializes in crafting compelling narratives and excels in reporting and news writing.

Leave a Reply