Record ID: 167

Site Name



Seaport - other


city (1994 pop. 674,100), (cap.) Tunis prov. and Tunisia, NE Tunisia, on the L. of Tunis; 38�48'N 10�11'E. Access to the Gulf of Tunis (an arm of the Mediterranean) is by a canal terminating at a subsidiary port, Halq al Wadi. Tunis is the country�s principal port, as well as its leading commercial and industrial center (with more than � of Tunisia�s industries, including steelworks). Other mfg. includes chemicals, food prods., cement. Natural gas to E at Cape Bon. It is the terminus of the nation�s 1,400 mi/2,253 km RR system, and it has an internatl. airport. Tunis has a compact city center, the madinah (historical center of Arab culture and commerce), and the new city, built by the French in the 19th cent. on reclaimed land on the SE coast of the L. of Tunis. Administrative, financial, transportation, and other services are located in the new city. There are RR workshops and a lead smelter. Popular resorts on L. of Tunis make tourism an important source of revenue. Tunis has notable mosques in the madinah, the Univ. of Tunis (1960), and the Bardu Natl. Mus. The ruins of Carthage are nearby, to the NE. Tunis, an early Numidian settlement, was controlled by Carthage. Romans destroyed both cities in 146 B.C. Although it was rebuilt, Tunis remained in Carthage�s shadow. In 698, Arab armies abandoned Carthage in favor of Tunis, which could be defended more easily. Tunis became (cap.) Tunisia under the powerful Hafsid dynasty (13th�16th cents.) and was a leading center of trade with Europe and the E Mediterranean. During the 16th cent., Spain and the Ottoman Turks fought for control of the city. Turks under Barbarossa took it in 1534 but were temporarily (1535�1569; 1573�1574) dislodged by the Spanish. After 1591, the Ottoman Turk. governors (the beys) were practically independent, and the city prospered as a religious, cultural, and intellectual center and the most important commercial port in N Afr. Under the Fr. Protectorate, the Eur. part of the city was built and the port improved. In World War II, Axis forces captured Tunis in Nov. 1942; the Allies liberated the city in May 1943.