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Tunisia Mon - Apr, 24 2017

Tunisian Republic
الجمهورية التونسية
République tunisienne

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Tunisia - Foreign Embassies in Tunisia
Tunisia
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- Tunisian Embassies Worldwide

The National Anthem of Tunisia (Read about)

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Coat of arms - Tunisia


Tunisia (Arabic: تونس‎ Tūnis), officially the Tunisian Republic (الجمهورية التونسية‎ al-Jumhūriyya at-Tūnisiyya), is a country located in North Africa. It is bordered by Algeria to the west and Libya to the southeast. It is also located southwest of the island of Sicily and south of Sardinia. Its size is almost 165,000 km2 with an estimated population of just over 10,300,000. Its name is derived from the capital Tunis. It is the northernmost country on the African continent, and the smallest of the nations situated along the Atlas mountain range. Around forty percent of the country is composed of the Sahara desert, with much of the remainder consisting of particularly fertile soil and a 1300 km coastline. Both played a prominent role in ancient times, first with the famous Phoenician city of Carthage, then as the Africa Province which became known as the bread basket of the Roman Empire, and then as the Maghreb region of various medieval Islamic states. Tunisia ranks high among Arab and African nations in reports released by The World Economic Forum.

Etymology

The word Tunisia is derived from Tunis; a city and capital of modern-day Tunisia. The present form of the name, with its Latinate suffix -ia, evolved from French Tunisie. This name was introduced by French geographers and historians as part of their efforts to give names to their new occupied territories and protectorates. The French derivative Tunisie was adopted in some European languages with slight modifications introducing a distinctive name to designate the country. Other languages remained untouched such as the Spanish Tunez. In this case, the same name is used for both country and city as in Arabic and only by context, one can make the difference.

The name Tunis can be attributed to different origins. ancient city of Tynes or to the Berber root ens which means "to lie down".

History

At the beginning of recorded history, Tunisia was inhabited by Berber tribes. Its coast was settled by Phoenicians starting as early as the 10th century B.C. The city of Carthage was founded in the 9th century B.C. by settlers from Tyre, now in modern day Lebanon. Legend says, that Dido founded the city in 814 B.C., as retold in by the Greek writer Timaeus of Tauromenium. The settlers of Carthage brought their culture and religion from the Phoenicians and other Canaanites.

After a series of wars with Greek city-states of Sicily in the 5th century BC, Carthage rose to power and eventually became the dominant civilization in the Western Mediterranean. The people of Carthage worshipped a pantheon of Middle Eastern gods including Baal and Tanit. Tanit’s symbol, a simple female figure with extended arms and long dress, is a popular icon found in ancient sites. The founders of Carthage also established a Tophet which was altered in Roman times.

Though the Romans referred to the new empire growing in the city of Carthage as Punic or Phoenician, the empire built around Carthage was an independent political entity from the other Phoenician settlements in the Western Mediterranean.

A Carthaginian invasion of Italy led by Hannibal during the Second Punic War, one of a series of wars with Rome, nearly crippled the rise of the Roman Empire. Carthage was eventually conquered by Rome in the 2nd century BC, a turning point which led to ancient Mediterranean civilization having been influenced mainly by European instead of African cultures. After the Roman conquest, the region became one of the granaries of Rome, and was Latinized and Christianized. The Romans controlled nearly all of modern Tunisia, unlike other modern African countries, of which Rome only held the northern coast. It was conquered by the Vandals in the 5th century AD and reconquered by the commander Belisarius in the 6th century during the rule of Byzantine emperor Justinian.

Around the beginning of the 8th century the region was conquered by Arab Muslims, who founded the city of Kairouan which became the first city of Islam in North Africa. Tunisia flourished under Arab rule. Extensive irrigation installations were constructed to supply towns with water and promote agriculture (especially olive production). This prosperity permitted luxurious court life and was marked by the construction of new Palace cities such as al-Abassiya (809) and Raqadda (877). Successive Muslim dynasties ruled Tunisia (Ifriqiya at the time) with occasional instabilities caused mainly by Berber rebellions; of these reigns we can cite the Aghlabids (800-900) and Fatimids (909-972). After conquering Cairo, Fatimids abandoned North Africa to the local Zirids (Tunisia and parts of Eastern Algeria, 972-1148) and Hammadid (Central and eastern Algeria, 1015-1152). North Africa was submerged by their quarrels; political instability was connected to the decline of Tunisian trade and agriculture. In addition the invasion of Tunisia by Banu Hilal, a warlike Arab Bedouin tribes encouraged by Fatimids of Egypt to seize North Africa, sent the region’s urban and economic life into further decline. The Arab historian Ibn Khaldun wrote that the lands ravaged by Banu Hilal invaders had become completely arid desert.

The coasts were held briefly by the Normans of Sicily in the 12th century and the following Arab reconquest made the last Christians in Tunisia disappear. In 1159, Tunisia was conquered by the Almohad caliphs. They were succeeded by the Berber Hafsids (c.1230 - 1574), under whom Tunisia prospered. In the late 16th century the coast became a pirate stronghold (see: Barbary States). In the last years of the Hafsids, Spain seized many of the coastal cities, but these were recovered by the Ottoman Empire. Under its Turkish governors, the Beys, Tunisia attained virtual independence. The Hussein dynasty of Beys, established in 1705, lasted until 1957. From 1881 - 1956 the country was under French colonization. European settlements in the country were actively encouraged; the number of French colonists grew from 34,000 in 1906 to 144,000 in 1945. In 1910 there were 105,000 Italians in Tunisia.

World War II

In 1942 – 1943, Tunisia was the scene of the first major operations by the Allied Forces (the British Empire and the United States) against the Axis Powers (Italy and Germany) during World War II. The main body of the British army, advancing from their victory in Battle of el-Alamein under the command of British Field Marshal Montgomery, pushed into Tunisia from the south. The US and other allies, following their invasions of Algeria and Morocco in Operation Torch, invaded from the west.

General Rommel, commander of the Axis forces in North Africa, had hoped to inflict a similar defeat on the allies in Tunisia as German forces did in the Battle of France in 1940. Before the battle for el-Alamein, the allied forces had been forced to retreat toward Egypt. As such the battle for Tunisia was a major test for the allies. They figured out that in order to defeat Axis forces they would have to coordinate their actions and quickly recover from the inevitable setbacks the German-Italian forces would inflict.

On February 19, 1943, General Rommel launched an attack on the American forces in the Kasserine Pass region of Western Tunisia, hoping to inflict the kind of demoralizing and alliance-shattering defeat the Germans had dealt to Poland and France. The initial results were a disaster for the United States; the area around the Kasserine Pass is the site of many US war graves from that time.

However, the American forces were ultimately able to reverse their retreat. Having known a critical strategy in tank warfare, the Allies broke through the Mareth line on March 20, 1943. The allies subsequently linked up on April 8 and on May 2, 1943 the German-Italian Army in Tunisia surrendered. Thus, the United States, United Kingdom, Free French, and Polish (as well as other forces) were able to win a major battle as an allied army.

The battle, though often overshadowed by Stalingrad, represented a major allied victory of World War II largely because it forged the Alliance which would one day liberate Western Europe.

Present-day politics

Tunisia is a procedural democracy. On paper it is a republican presidential system characterized by bicameral parliamentary system, including the Chamber of Representatives and the Chamber of Advisors. Authoritarian president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, previously a military figure, has been in office since 1987, the year he acceded to the executive office of Habib Bourguiba after a team of medical experts judged Bourguiba unfit to exercise the functions of the office. Prior to that moment Ben Ali was Bourguiba’s minister. The day of the succession, 7th of November, is celebrated by the state as national holiday, with many public buildings and even the national currency and the only private airline and TV station (both owned by the family of the President’s wife) carrying the ’7 November’ logo.

In Tunisia, the President is re-elected with enormous majorities every 5-year terms. He appoints a Prime Minister and cabinet, who play a minor role in the execution of policy. Regional governors and local administrators also are appointed by the central government. Largely consultative mayors and municipal councils are elected with most seats going to the President’s party. There is a bicameral legislative body, the Chamber of Deputies, which has 182 seats, 20% of which are reserved for small, window-dressing opposition parties and the Chamber of Advisors which is composed of representatives from such ’political parties’, from professional organisations patronised by the President and by personalities appointed by the president of the Republic. Both chambers are composed of more than 20% of women, making it one of the rare countries in the Arab world where women enjoy equal rights. Incidentally, it is also the only country in the Arab world where polygamy is forbidden by law. This is part of a provision in the country’s Code of Personal Status which was introduced by the former president Bourguiba in 1956.

The judiciary is not independent in constitutional matters and often corrupt in civil cases. The military does not play an obvious role in politics letting the ex-army man President run the country. Hundreds of thousands of young men avoid compulsory conscription and live with the constant fear of arrest although it appears that the police only go after them in certain times of the year only (the ’raffle’) and often let them go if a sufficient bribe is paid.

The regime is expert in passing laws that make it appear democratic to outsiders. Since 1987, Tunisia has, on paper only, reformed its political system several times. It has formally abolished life presidency and opened up parliament to opposition parties. In reality, however, all power is monopolized formally by the President and his party - which is housed in Tunis’s tallest tower- and informally by influential families such as the all powerful Trabelsis from the President’s wife’s side. The President’s party known as the Constitutional Democratic Rally (RCD) in French, is composed of about 2 million members and more than 6000 representations throughout the country and is largely overlapping with all important state institutions. Although the party was renamed (in Bourguiba’s days it used to be known as the Socialist Destourian Party), its policies are still considered to be largely secular. There are currently eight other small political parties in Tunisia, six of whom are represented in parliament giving a semblance of legitimacy. Since 2007, all political parties represented in parliament benefit from state subsidies to cover the rising cost of paper and to expand their publication. In July 2008, new constitutional provisions have been voted by the country’s parliament. These provisions which include lowering the voting age to 18, as well as easing the conditions for eligibility for the presidency, also allow for any head of political party, whether represented in parliament or not to present their candidacy, to run for president. The state has also abolished the ‘Legal Deposit’, which required prior authorization before sending to print, and issued legislation meant to bring amendments to the press code which provides journalists with greater freedom to express their ideas.

In reality no-one ever has ever openly launched criticism of the regime and all protest is severely suppressed and does not get reported in the media. Self-censorship is widespread with people fearing the police which is present everywhere and frequently stops and searches individuals and vehicles - often demanding small amounts of bribe money to make up for their meagre salaries. Daily newspapers run eulogistic articles praising the President whose picture graces the first page on a daily basis. Large pictures of President Ben Ali and ’spontaneously’ erected banners praising him are found on all public buildings and majors streets. The internet is severely restricted including sites like Youtube. Nevertheless the internet has witnessed a considerable development with more than 1,1 million users and hundreds of internet cafes, known as ‘publinet.’ This is primarily related to the widespread unemployment and lack of democracy and opportunities resulting in millions of bored unemployed graduates.

Independent human rights groups such as Amnesty International have documented that rights are not respected.

Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, has consistently expressed his opposition to the presence of religious parties in parliament. While Tunisia cannot boast the natural resources its neighbors have, standards of living are among the best in the developing world. This can be evidenced by two compelling economic observations: the level to which Tunisia has become self-sufficient in material goods, and the extent of real estate development in the cities and major towns of the country. Put simply, the mid-level retail outlet will typically offer goods of which more than 90% of which are internally produced. As to the rise of the building and construction industry, a fleeting visit to any of Tunisia’s smaller towns (let alone the cities) will confirm that development is rampant: many projects, especially hotels, are newly opened, and many more stand as skeleton buildings, ready to be developed as soon as demand - and capital funds - are available to bring them to completion. Poverty has significantly been reduced thanks to a national solidarity policy and strong social commitment from the government and now stands at 3,8%, instead of some 50% in 1956.

Following independence from France in 1956, President Habib Bourguiba established a strict one-party state. He dominated the country for 31 years, repressing Islamic fundamentalism and establishing rights for women unmatched by any other Arab nation. In recent years, Tunisia has taken a moderate, non-aligned stance in its foreign relations. Domestically, it has sought to defuse rising pressure for a more open political society.

Economy

Tunisia has a diverse economy, ranging from agriculture, mining, manufacturing, petroleum products and tourism. In 2007 it had a GDP of $35 billion (official exchange rates), or $76.07 billion (purchasing power parity). It also has one of Africa and the Middle East’s highest per-capita GDPs (PPP). The agricultural sector stands for 11,6% of the GDP, industry 25,7%, and services 62,8%. The industrial sector is mainly made up of clothing and footwear manufacturing, production of car parts, and electric machinery.

Youth suffer from chronic massive unemployment. This is the result of meagre foreign direct investment and rampant nepotism in the domestic sectors. Foreign investors, apart from call centres and maquiladoras, stay away due to the weak rule of law and the complete prohibition of re-exporting invested capital. Characteristically, there are almost no international chain businesses operating in Tunisia. It is quite common for highly qualified university graduates to seek badly paid employment in French ’call centers’.

Transportation

The country maintains 19 232 km of roads, where the A1 Tunis-Sfax, P1 Tunis-Libya and P7 Tunis-Algeria are major highways.
There are 30 airports, Tunis Carthage International Airport and Monastir International Airport being the most important ones. Tunisia is served by four airlines: Tunisair, Karthago Airlines, Nouvelair and Sevenair.
The railway network is operated by SNCFT, and amounts to 2135 km in total. The Tunis area is served by a tram network, Metro Leger.

Region

The region of Tunisia has some deserts, including part of the Sahara Desert in the south. In the north and mid the land is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea. Tunisia is not cold in the winter, where it snows, but the temperature still can get below 0°C (32°F). In the summer it can get up to 32°C (90°F). Most of Tunisia has four seasons.

Religion

The constitution declares Islam as the official state religion and requires the President to be Muslim. Tunisia also enjoys a significant degree of religious freedom, a right enshrined and protected in its constitution which guarantees the freedom to practice one’s religion. The country has a culture that encourages acceptance of other religions; religious freedom is widely practiced. However, the government has been accused of limiting the freedom of Muslims by banning the wearing the Headscarf (Hijab). The government believes the Hijab is a "garment of foreign origin having a partisan connotation".

Individual Tunisians are tolerant of religious freedom and generally do not inquire about a person’s personal beliefs. The majority of Tunisia’s population (98%) are Muslims, while 1% follow Christianity and the rest (1%) adhere to Judaism or other religions. However, there are no reliable data on the number of practicing Muslims. Some reports stipulate that atheists form the second largest group in the country (making it probably on top of any other North African country).

Tunisia has a sizable Christian community of around 25,000 adherents; mainly Catholics (20,000) and to a lesser degree Protestants. Judaism is the country’s third largest religion with 1,500 members. One-third of the Jewish population lives in and around the capital. The remainder lives on the island of Djerba, where the Jewish community dates back 2,500 years.

Djerba, an island in the Gulf of Gabes, is home to El Ghriba synagogue, which is one of the oldest synagogues in the world. Many Jews consider it a pilgrimage site with celebrations taking place there once every year.

Geography

Tunisia is a country situated on the Mediterranean coast of North Africa, midway between the Atlantic Ocean and the Nile Valley. It is bordered by Algeria in the west and Libya in the south-east. An abrupt southern turn of its shoreline gives Tunisia two faces on the Mediterranean.

Despite its relatively small size, Tunisia has great geographical and climatic diversity. The Dorsal, an extension of the Atlas Mountains, traverses Tunisia in a northeasterly direction from the Algerian border in the west to the Cape Bon peninsula. North of the Dorsal is the Tell, a region characterized by low, rolling hills and plains, although in the northwestern corner of Tunisia, the land reaches elevations of 1,050 meters. The Sahil is a plain along Tunisia’s eastern Mediterranean coast famous because of its olive monoculture. Inland from the Sahil, between the Dorsal and a range of hills south of Gafsa, are the Steppes. Much of the southern region is semi-arid and desert.

Tunisia has a coastline 1,148 kilometres in length. In maritime terms, the country claims a contiguous zone of 24 nautical miles, and a territorial sea of 12 nautical miles.

Tunisia’s climate is temperate in the north, with mild rainy winters and hot, dry summers. The south of the country is desert. The terrain in the north is mountainous, which, moving south, gives way to a hot, dry central plain. The south is semiarid, and merges into the Sahara. A series of salt lakes, known as chotts or shatts, lie in an east-west line at the northern edge of the Sahara, extending from the Gulf of Gabes into Algeria. The lowest point is Shatt al Gharsah, at -17 m, and the highest is Jebel ech Chambi, at 1544 metres.

Language

Arabic is Tunisia’s official language. But, as is the case in the rest of the Arab world, a vernacular form of Arabic is used by the public. In Tunisia, the dialect is Tunisian Arabic, which is closely related to the Maltese language. There is also a small minority of speakers of Shelha, a Berber language.

French also plays a major role in the country, despite having no official status. It is widely used in education (e.g. as the language of instruction in the sciences in secondary school), the press, and in business. Most Tunisians are able to speak it. Many Tunisians, particularly those residing in large urban areas, readily mix Tunisian Arabic with French.

Education

Education is given a high priority and accounts for 6% of GNP. A basic education for children between the ages of 6 and 16 has been compulsory since 1991. Tunisia ranked 17th in the category of "quality of the [higher] educational system" and 21st in the category of "quality of primary education" in The Global Competitiveness Report 2008-9, released by The World Economic Forum.

While children generally acquire Tunisian Arabic at home, when they enter school at age 6, they are taught to read and write in Standard Arabic. From the age of 8, they are taught French while English is introduced at the age of 12.

Colleges and universities in Tunisia include:

Ecole Polytechnique de Tunisie
International University of Tunis
Université Libre de Tunis
Université de l’Aviation et Technologie de Tunisie
Institut National d’Agronomie de Tunis
Université des Sciences de Tunis

Culture

The culture of Tunisia is mixed due to their long established history of conquerors such as Phoenicians, Romans, Vandals, Byzantines, Arabs, Turks, Spaniards, and the French who all left their mark on the country.

Current ethnicity consists of Arab/Berber (98%), European (1%), others (1%).

The dominant Religion in Tunisia is Sunni Islam (99%). There are also small groups of Christians and Jews.

Festival

Matmata Festival - Matmata (March)

Festival Oriljazz (April)

Festival "Tozeur, the Oriental, the African" (April)

International spring festival - Sbeitla (April)

Arab poetry festival - Tozeur - (April)

Carthage Jazz festival - Gammarth (April)

Tozeur’s International Oasis Festival - Tozeur (December)

Techno House festival - Gammarth (December)

Dar Sebastian celebrates opera festival - lyrical festival -(December)

Caravana Latina” Festival - Tozeur (December)

Traditional Saharan festival - Douz (December)

The Information are from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Anthem Tunisia
The National Anthem of Tunisia

"Humat Al Hima" - is the national anthem of Tunisia since November 1987.

The text was written by Mostafa Saadeq Al-Rafe’ie and Aboul-Qacem Echebbi. The music was composed by Mohammed Abdelwahab.

The Tunisian National Anthem (Listen)

the national anthem of Tunisia

Transliteration
English translation
Humat al-hima ya humat al-hima
Halummu halummu li-majdi-z-zaman
Laqad sarakhat fi ’uruqina-d-dima
Namutu namutu wa yahya-l-watan
Litadwi-s-samawatu bira’diha
Litarmi-s-sawa’iqu niranaha
Ila ’izzi Tunis ila majdiha
Rijala-l-biladi Wa shubbanaha
Fala ’asha fi Tunis man khanaha
Wa la ’asha man laysa min jundiha
Namutu wa nahya ’ala ’ahdiha
Hayata-l-kirami wa mawta-l-’idham
Chorus
Warithna-s-sawa’ida bayn al-’umam
Sukhuran sukhuran kahadha-l-bina
Sawa’idu yahtazzou fawqaha-l-’alam
Nubahi bihi wa yubahi bina
Wa fiha kafa li-l-’ula wa-l-himam
Wa fiha dhamanun linayl-il-muna
Wa fiha li’a’da’i Tunis niqam
Wa fiha liman salamuna-s-salam
Chorus
Idha-sh-sha’bu yawman ’arad al-haya
Fala budda ’an yastajib al-qadar
Wala budda li-l-layli an yanjali
Wa la budda li-l-qaydi an yankasir
O defenders of the Nation, hasten to the meeting of glory!
We are ready to die, if it is necessary, die so that our country will live!
This our blood in our veins urges us.
There is nobody in our country who refuses to be in the ranks of its soldiers!
We are bound together by our oath of fidelity.
We will live on her soil in dignity
or we will die, for her, in glory.
Be master of your destiny, o my country, and be happy!
Because it is not worth to live without being master of your sovereignty
My boiling blood and all the wealth I possess,
I am ready to sacrifice it for my country and my people.
Glory to you, Tunisia! Greatness of your people, remain forever proud!
Look at your children launching out, such as lions,
In assault on the enemy on the day of the battle
Our heritage, among the nations, is the strength of our arms,
the arms as hard as the rock of these imposing buildings
And which hold high the banner of the country.
This banner makes us proud, and it is proud to be carried by us.
Arms that bring us towards the highest tops
Of glory and greatness
And which guarantee the realisation of our ambitions
Which will bring misfortune to the enemies of our Fatherland
But who are peaceful with all those who want peace.
When the people wants to live, destiny must surely respond
Darkness will disappear, chains will certainly break!



Tunisia Flag

Tunisia

See also: Foreign Embassies in Tunisia

See also: Tunisian Embassies

 




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