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 STUDY IN  TUNISIA
ABOUT TUNISIA
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Study in Tunisia - About Tunisia 

 
 
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General Information   |   Geography   |   Government   |   Culture   |   Communication
 
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General Information
 

Area: 163,610 sq km (63,170 sq miles)

Population: 9,673,300 (official estimate 2001)

Population Density: 59.1 per sq km

Capital: Tunis

Population: 1,897,000 (official estimate 2000)

Ethnicity/Race: The population of Tunisia numbers approximately 9.6 million inhabitants. The demographic growth rate is 1.14 %.

Arab, Berber, African, and European influences have helped shape the unique Tunisian cultural identity.

Map of Tunisia
Courtesy of Google Maps

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The overwhelming majority of the population is Muslim, and the official religion is Sunni Islam. Christian and Jewish communities practice their faith freely and contribute to Tunisia's rich cultural diversity.

Urban Population

Tunisia's population is over 62% urban. Tunis, the capital, with a population of about 1 million, is one of the principal cosmopolitan urban centers of the Mediterranean. Other cities in Tunisia include Carthage, Jerba, Hammamet, Sfax, Nabeul, Kairouan, Sousse, Bizerte, Jendouba, Medenine, Monastir, Gabes, Gafsa, Tabarka, Zarzis, Beja, Kasserine and Le Kef.

The official language is Arabic; French is widely used. English is spoken among a growing number of Tunisians. Many also speak Italian.

Family

The family remains the basic unit of Tunisian society . With the assistance of public and private institutions, it continues to function as a vital support mechanism for the individual at all stages of life. Enjoying total equality of rights with men, women have gained a good measure of autonomy and are able to pursue their own careers on an equal footing with men.

Middle Class

The structure of Tunisian society is characterized by the predominance of the middle class (around 75 to 80% of the population). There has been a continuous rise in the standard of living of Tunisia's citizens thanks to sound development policies and to the implementation, since 1987, of a series of measures and actions which have promoted business initiative and economic opportunity, and ensured the access of all citizens to basic amenities.

Nationality: noun: Tunisian(s) adjective: Tunisian

Ethnic groups: Arab 98%, European 1%, Jewish and other 1%

Religions: Muslim 98%, Christian 1%, Jewish and other 1%

Languages: The official language is Arabic. French is the second language, Italian is spoken in major cities, and English and German mainly in tourist resorts.

Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 74.2%
male: 84%
female: 64.4% (2003 est.)

 
History of Tunisia - Video

An Informative Video about the History of Tunisia

From Tunisia Tourism, http://www.Tunisia-Tourism.org

 

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Geography

The Republic of Tunisia lies on the Mediterranean coast of Africa, 130km (80 miles) southwest of Sicily and 160km (100 miles) due south of Sardinia. It is bordered by Algeria to the west and Libya to the southeast. The landscape varies from the cliffs of the north coast to the woodlands of the interior, from deep valleys of rich arable land to desert, and from towering mountains to salt pans lower than sea level. South of Gafsa and Gabès is the Sahara desert. The 1100km (700 miles) of coastline is dotted with small islands, notably Jerba in the south and Kerkennah in the east, and from the northwest to the southeast the coastline is backed successively by pine-clad hills, lush pasture, orchards, vineyards and olive groves.

Location:Northern Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Algeria and Libya

Area: total: 163,610 sq km
water: 8,250 sq km
land: 155,360 sq km

Climate: temperate in north with mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers; desert in south

 

Tunisia Another Side of the Mediterranean - Video

A Beautiful Video Showing the Best of Tunisia.

From Tunisia Tourism, http://www.Tunisia-Tourism.org

 

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Government

Under the 1959 constitution, legislation is the responsibility of the unicameral Chamber of Deputies, whose 163 members are elected by universal adult suffrage for 5 years. All but 19 seats, which are reserved for opposition parties under a system of proportional representation, are elected under a simple majority system. The president, who is also elected by universal suffrage for a 5-year term, is Head of State and appoints a Prime Minister and Council of Ministers who exercise executive power under his leadership. There are also various advisory bodies – the State Council, the Social and Economic Council, the Constitutional Council and the Higher Islamic Council.

Country name:

  • conventional long form: Tunisian Republic
  • conventional short form: Tunisia
  • local short form: Tunis
  • local long form: Al Jumhuriyah at Tunisiyah

Government type: Republic

Capital: Tunis

Administrative divisions: 24 governorates; Ariana (Aryanah), Beja (Bajah), Ben Arous (Bin 'Arus), Bizerte (Banzart), Gabes (Qabis), Gafsa (Qafsah), Jendouba (Jundubah), Kairouan (Al Qayrawan), Kasserine (Al Qasrayn), Kebili (Qibili), Kef (Al Kaf), Mahdia (Al Mahdiyah), Manouba (Manubah), Medenine (Madanin), Monastir (Al Munastir), Nabeul (Nabul), Sfax (Safaqis), Sidi Bou Zid (Sidi Bu Zayd), Siliana (Silyanah), Sousse (Susah), Tataouine (Tatawin), Tozeur (Tawzar), Tunis, Zaghouan (Zaghwan)

 

Independence: 20 March 1956 (from France)

National Holiday: Independence Day, 20 March (1956)

Constitution: 1 June 1959; amended 12 July 1988

 

Legal system: based on French civil law system and Islamic law; some judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court in joint session.

 
Flag description: Red with a white disk in the center bearing a red crescent nearly encircling a red five-pointed star; the crescent and star are traditional symbols of Islam
 
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Culture

It has been said that the most important driving force in a nation’s fortunes is its culture. Without a strong grounding in culture, a nation is like a stricken ship, pushed and pulled hither and thither by prevailing currents and winds. This has been the unfortunate fate of many developing countries which, having forgotten where they came from, now drift aimlessly on the vast cultural oceans of the world.

On the African continent, where the cultural crisis is most acute, Tunisia and Egypt are the rare exceptions. Both have very deep histories and both have worked tirelessly to keep their histories as fresh as possible. But culture is not only about ancient history; it is the story of how people adapt and change as events around them change. It is about evolution and unbroken identity.

Well aware of the enormous resources that European countries and the US pour into their own cultural spheres, Tunisia has embarked on a unified national strategy to maintain and deepen its cultural identity. President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali has decided that over the next four years to 2004, a full one percent of GDP will go to culture. The annual budget for culture is expected to grow from $45m in 1999 to $140m in 2004. Budgetary allocation is as follows: Cultural exhibitions (24%); museums and institutions (20%); cinema (14%); literature (14%), theatre (9%) and poetry (4%).

Despite all its economic and social successes, Tunisia has never taken its eye off the vital importance of culture in the grand scheme of things. “Culture provides us with our values and identity,” says Abdelbaki Hermassi, Tunisia’s Minister of Culture. “It enables us to cope with the many challenges and changes occurring as we expand our relationships with the European Union.”

Survey written by Anver Versi

 
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Communication

Telephone: Full IDD is available. Country code: 216. Outgoing international code: 00. Automatic dialling extends to almost every part of the country and covers direct international calls.

Mobile Telephone: GSM 900 network. Operators include Tunisiana (website: www.orascomtunisie.com) and Tunisie Telecom.

Fax: Facilities are available in main towns, hotels and post offices.

Internet: ISPs include 3S Global Net (website: www.gnet.tn), ATI (website: www.ati.tn) and Planet Tunisie (website: www.planet.tn). E-mail can be accessed from Internet cafes in Tunis, Nabeul, Sousse and Tahar ben Amar.

Telegram: The Telecommunications Centre in Tunis is located at 29 Jamal Abdelnasser. Telegraph facilities are available at the Central Post Office at rue Charles de Gaulle, Tunis; telegrams can also be sent from most hotels.

Post: Airmail to Europe takes 3 to 5 days; an express service guarantees delivery in 4 days or under. Poste Restante facilities are available in main cities. Post office hours: Mon-Sat 0800-1300 (summer, approximately 15 Jun-15 Sep); Mon-Fri 0800-1200 and 1400-1800, Sat 0800-1200 (winter, approximately 16 Sep-14 Jun); Mon-Sat 0800-1500 (during Ramadan).

Press: Daily newspapers are printed in Arabic or French, the most popular being As-Sabah and La Presse de Tunisie. The weekly Tunisia News is published in English.

Radio: BBC World Service (website: www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice) and Voice of America (website: www.voa.gov) can be received. From time to time the frequencies change and the most up-to-date can be found online.

 

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Sources: MyTravelGuide.com
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
   
 
 
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