Republic of Tunisia

Republic of Tunisia

According to ABBREVIATIONFINDER, Tunisia is the smallest of the North African states on the Mediterranean. The north of the country is shaped by the foothills of the Atlas Mountains and has a Mediterranean climate. To the south follow steppe areas with salt marshes (bulkheads), which then merge into the Sahara, which is dominated by the hot desert climate. Tunisia is the most advanced of the developing countries in North Africa. The most important economic sectors are agriculture, mining, traditional branches of the manufacturing industry and tourism.


Tourism as a growth factor is also based on the country’s wealth of cultural monuments from Roman antiquity and Islam.

Tunisia borders the Mediterranean Sea with a coastline of around 1000 km. In front of the coast is the island of Djerba, which is comparable in size to Rügen. Neighboring countries are Libya in the east and Algeria in the west (Fig. 1).

The state capital Tunis is located on a lagoon in the Gulf of Tunis of the same name.

Surface shapes

The natural area of ​​the country is essentially shaped by four major landscapes: The entire north of Tunisia is taken up by the foothills of the Atlas Mountains (Tell Atlas). The mountain and hill country, which is only flat undulating here, drops steeply to the Mediterranean Sea. In the south it is demarcated from the Central Tunisian mountain ridge by the valley of the Medscherda, the only year-round water-bearing river in Tunisia. This highly fragmented mountainous country with the highest elevation in Tunisia, the Djebel Chambi (1544 m), is in a sense the backbone of the country. To the south, the land drops sharply into a wide steppe landscape with bulkheads.

Bulkheadsare salt flats that become swampy after heavy rainfall. In the hot summer they dry out completely. Often an air reflection occurs in the shimmering air above the salt surface, the phenomenon of the mirage.

The z. Bulkheads, some of which are below sea level, cross the country from southeast to northwest. The southern part of the country up to the Algerian and Libyan borders is occupied by the Sahara. In the sandy deserts of the Great Erg, which extends far into Algeria, there are hardly any oases. In the southeast, Tunisia has a share of the Djeffara coastal plain with flat sandy coastlines, lagoons and offshore islands, including Djerba.

Climate / vegetation

I n the north there is a distinct Mediterranean climate. The mild winters bring most of the precipitation, up to 1000 mm on the coast and 500 mm more in the mountains. Under these conditions, Mediterranean deciduous and scrub forests (maquis) with cork oaks and Aleppo pines thrive in these regions.

The Schotts area in central Tunisia has a steppe climate. This continues in the south into a hot, dry desert edge climate with only episodic and decreasing rainfall towards the Sahara.

Republic of Tunisia

Important data about the country

Surface: 163,610 sq km
Population: 9.9 million
Population density: 61 residents / km²
Growth of population: 1.1% per year
Life expectancy:
(men / women)
71/75 years
Form of government: Presidential Republic
Capital: Tunis
Population groups: Arabs and Arabized Berbers 98%, Berbers 1.2%
Languages: Arabic as the official language
Religions: Islam as the state religion (Sunni Muslims)
Climate: Mediterranean climate in the north, otherwise steppe and desert climate. August temperatures in Tunis
26.2 °C, January temperatures
10.2 °C
Land use: Arable land 30.2%, forest 3.6%, pasture land 19.3%, otherwise mostly desert
Main export goods: Petroleum, petroleum products, phosphate, clothing, shoes, olive oil, wine, grain
Gross domestic product: US $ 25,037 million (2003)
Economic sectors:
(share of GDP)
Industry 28%, agriculture 12%, services 60%
Gross National Product: US $ 2,240 per resident (2003)


Tunisia is the most economically successful developing country among the five Mediterranean countries in North Africa. It can therefore offer its residents a number of social benefits, such as a relatively well-developed social security system and healthcare. Nevertheless, the difference between rich and poor in the country is still considerable.

The main economic sectors in the country are agriculture, mining and manufacturing, and tourism.

Every fifth Tunisian is employed in agriculture.

About half of the country’s area can be used for agriculture, with over a tenth of the usable area being irrigated to increase yield.

The most important agricultural product and an important source of foreign exchange is the olive. Tunisia is the world’s second largest exporter of olives and olive oil.

In addition, fruit, vegetables and wine thrive in the Mediterranean climate of the north, while cereals are added in the central part of the country.

Of the mineral resources, the country’s rich phosphate deposits and, since the 1960’s, the extensive oil and natural gas deposits in the Sahara have been of greatest importance for export. The mineral resources are z. Partly processed industrially in the country.

The most important branches of industry are traditionally the textile, leather and food industries, which are mainly located in the north.

Since the 1970’s, tourism has become an important economic factor. After all, in 1999 around 4 million tourists brought over US $ 1.3 billion into the country.

In addition to the natural beauties of the country, magnets for tourism are also the witnesses of the eventful history of the ancient cultural people.


In Tunisia there are many noteworthy remains from Roman antiquity. The area of ​​what is now Tunisia was founded between 150 BC. Ruled by Rome and later by the Byzantines. Ancient temples, thermal baths, theaters and forums can therefore be found in many places.

In some places, e.g. B. in Carthage not far from Tunis, the ruins from Roman times are of much older date. These date from the time when the Phoenicians created an important ancient empire on the Mediterranean with Carthage as its center. When Carthage became a competitor, it became 146 BC. Razed to the ground by Roman legionaries.

Tourist magnets are also the testimonies from the Islamic times of Tunisia. This began with the conquest of the area by the Arabs in the 7th century and continues to this day.

Most cities in the country have an old Islamic district, the Medina. Islamic life pulsates in the narrow streets of the medina (Fig. 6).

In the souks, the markets, the products of traditional handicrafts are for sale: magnificent carpets, embroidered fabrics with traditional patterns, pottery, copperwork or artistic leather articles.

In the medina are also the places of worship of the Muslims, the mosques. In the medinas of larger cities there are sometimes several hundred. Islamic architecture in Tunisia finds its most beautiful expression in the mosques of Tunis, Sfax, Sousse and Kairouan.

The Kairouan Mosque is central to the Muslim world. After the mosques in Mecca and Medina and the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, it is considered the fourth holiest place in Islam. A seven pilgrimage to Kairouan can replace one to Mecca.

The Islamization of all of North Africa started from Kairouan.

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