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Tunis, Tunisia

Tunis is the capital and largest city of Tunisia, with a population of over 650,000 people. It is also the administrative, cultural, and economic hub of Tunisia. Today, Tunis is a rapidly growing metropolis home to nearly all of the nation's large companies. Despite its strong economy, nearly 35% of Tunisian men between the ages of 18-24 are unemployed.

Tunis was built next to the ruins of Carthage, the center of the Ancient Carthaginian Empire, and after it was rebuilt by the Romans following its conquest in 146 BC, one of the largest cities in the Roman Empire. In 698, it was destroyed a second time during the Muslim conquest.

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Sfax, Tunisia

Sometimes called Tunisia's second city, Sfax is the nation's second largest city. Sfax is a regional center for olive and olive oil production and the national center for fishing exports. It has a population of roughly 340,000 people.
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Sahara Desert

Covering 3.6 million square miles, the Sahara Desert is the world's largest non-polar desert. It is also the world's hottest and sunniest desert. Covering most of north Africa, the Sahara Desert is roughly the size of the entire United States. Windswept sand dunes in the desert can reach heights of nearly 600 feet. Parts of the Sahara Desert can go decades without receiving any rainfall. With some rare rainfall in the Sahara, the raindrops can evaporate before hitting the sandy surface.

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Kerkennah Islands

The Kerkennah Islands is an archipelago located in the Gulf of Gabes off of the east coast of Tunisia. The islands have a permanent population of over 14,000 people. The population, however, has decreased in recent years due to a severe drought and a shortage of clean water. While many wealthy Tunisians own homes on the islands, its lack of sandy beaches and extremely hot, arid climate limit tourism.

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Ichkeul Lake and National Park

Ichkeul Lake and National Park are located in northern Tunisia and is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The lake is a crucial migratory stop for millions of migrating flamingos, ducks, and geese. The introduction of dams along the lake's feeder rivers, however, has altered the ecology of the region and resulted in an increase in the salinity (amount of salt) of the water, and hence, a reduction in the biodiversity of plants.

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Grand Erg Oriental

The Grand Erg Oriental is a massive erg or field of sand dunes located mainly in Algeria and western Tunisia. To its west is the smaller (yet higher in elevation)  Great Erg Occidental. Some dunes reach heights of over 500 feet tall. This desert regions does feature several oases (small cities where enough water exists to support plant life). In these cities, date palm trees are grown for commercial purposes and oil refineries help support local economies.


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Fast Facts About Tunisia

Population: 10,982,754 (2014)
Area: 63,170 sq. miles
Capital City: Tunis
Largest City: Tunis
Currency: Tunisian Dinar
Official Language: Arabic
GDP (Gross Domestic Product) $105.347 Billion

Ten Interesting Facts About Tunisia

- Tunisia is the northern-most country in Africa
- Tunisia is the smallest country in north Africa
- Unlike other Sahara nations, most of Tunisia's land is fertile
- Beyond Gibraltar, Tunisia represents the second nearest point to Europe from Africa
- Tunisia recently held its first democratic election in three years.
- Tunis, the capital of Tunisia, was once a base of operations for the infamous Barbary Pirates, who would kidnap and enslave European sailors
- From 1881 to 1956, Tunisia was controlled by France
- The Sahel, an area of coastal plain on Tunisia's Mediterranean coast, is one of the world's great olive producing regions.
- the desert scenes in Star Wars (Tatooine) were filmed in southern Tunisia.
- Tunisia has a thriving economy that is ranked among the most competitive in the world.


Tunisia Flag

In the Tunisian flag, the red color represents the blood of Tunisian martyrs killed during the 16th century Turkish invasion. The crescent and the star, which are representative of the Ottoman Empire, represent Islam, and the white circle represents peace.