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Festival of Sahara (Photo by FETHI BELAID / AFP)

The Tunisian culture is a synthesis of especially Arab and Berber elements, which come to expression in, among others, its jewellery, ceramics, tapestry, and music. Tunisia cherishes and promotes its heritage in its museums and various cultural institutions and initiatives.

Tunisian culture incorporates elements from the empires and civilizations that have occupied its territory over the

centuries. The Romans, Phoenicians, Arabs, and French have all left distinct traces, contributing to Tunisia’s rich and multi-layered culture.

Various ethnic and ideological groups, such as traditional Muslims, secularists, Jews, and Christians, live side by side in Tunisia, in a complex cultural landscape. Whilst the vast majority of Tunisians are Sunni Muslims, they do not constitute a homogeneous community but can be classified broadly into three groups: Salafists, moderate Islamists, and the general Muslim population.

Tunisian souks are famous and a favourite tourist destination. Tunisian women who dress traditionally wear characteristic long, colourful dresses, often decorated with embroidery. Most Tunisians speak Arabic and, influenced by the culture of the protectorate, French.

For many years, the International Sahara Festival has taken place in Douz, at the end of December. The festival lasts for several days and attracts thousands of people from the Sahara region, as well as national and international tourists who want to celebrate Saharan culture. Traditional arts and crafts, games, singing and dancing, and camel races are performed at the festival, combining historical and modern cultural elements.

Tunisians enjoy a variety of famous cultural events throughout the country. Every year, music, arts, and cinema festivals in Tunis-Carthage bring together thousands of people. Regular expositions by art students and concerts by music students are also popular, taking place mostly in Tunis, usually hosted by universities. Tunisia’s traditional music, malouf, today mixes with contemporary music, resulting in a variety of music styles that can be heard at Tunisia’s many concerts. Modern jazz festivals take place regularly. Tabarka, for example, hosts an annual jazz festival. In addition, the Centre for Mediterranean Music in Sidi Bou Said presents a vast variety of other musical events.

Further Reading

Most Tunisian literature, which dates back to the 7th century, is written in Arabic. Ali Douagi is one of the most famous Tunisian writers; he published in Arabic during the French protectorate, a period when a great deal of Frenc...
Tunisia is famous for its handicrafts, including carpets, ceramics, pottery, leatherwork, and mosaics. Kairouan is the centre of crafts manufacture, employing about 23,000 people, most of whom are women.
Tunisia's traditional ceramics, mosaics, carpets, and other handicrafts reflect the country's long and rich artistic history. All of Tunisia's traditional arts are handmade. Some handicrafts reflect Islamic motifs, while others in...
Probably the most famous aspect of Tunisian architecture is its characteristic white houses, often decorated with blue window frames and large, artistic gates and doors. There is much variation in Tunisian architecture, which has ...
There are many different types of Tunisian music and dance, reflecting the country's rich cultural heritage. Tunisia's most famous music is maluf, which is played by a small band of violins, flutes, drums, and sitars.
Perhaps the most famous museum in Tunisia is the Bardo Museum in Tunis, which is located in a former palace of a bey. It was founded in 1882 and presents a world-famous collection of mosaics, mostly Roman.
The Tunisian film industry and cinema is one of the most liberal and famous in the Arab world. Many companies have filmed in Tunisia, most famously for the Star Wars series, some parts of which were filmed in the Tunisian Sahara. ...
Sports are increasingly popular in Tunisia, especially football (soccer), whose main clubs are Espérance Sportive de Tunis and Club Africain. In 2004, Tunisia's national team, The Eagles of Carthage, won the African Cup of Nation...

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