In Tunisia's capital, the term "living history" really does apply. Here, periods of conquest, trade and independence have woven into the city's fabric and culture a rich and complex flavor that becomes apparent wherever you explore.

Take the magnificent medieval medina, sidelined by the French after colonization but coming into its own in the 21st century, as boutique hotels open and arty cafes lure locals back to the neighborhoods their grandparents grew up in. And consider the historic settlement of Carthage, once colonized by Phoenicians and Romans but now the province of upwardly mobile locals, whose sophisticated lives play out among the ruins.

In some ways, these developments – and the optimism that is inspiring them – fly in the face of the economic downturn apparent elsewhere in the country. But Tunis has always been a resilient and forward-looking settlement, one that makes an excellent starting point for any exploration of Tunisia.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Tunis.

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