Tunis


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Tunis

(to͞onĭs), city (1994 pop. 674,100), capital of Tunisia, NE Tunisia, on the Lake of Tunis. Access to the Gulf of Tunis (an arm of the Mediterranean) is by a canal terminating at a subsidiary port, Halq al Wadi (La Goulette). Products include textiles, carpets, and olive oil. There are railroad workshops and a lead smelter. Popular resorts make tourism an important source of revenue. Tunis has notable mosques, the Univ. of Tunis, and a national museum. The ruins of CarthageCarthage
, ancient city, on the northern shore of Africa, on a peninsula in the Bay of Tunis and near modern Tunis. The Latin name, Carthago or Cartago, was derived from the Phoenician name, which meant "new city.
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 are nearby, to the northeast. The famous Festival of Carthage is held there each year.

Tunis is probably pre-Carthaginian. Surviving from the Middle Ages are walls, an aqueduct, and a mosque. Tunis became the capital of Tunisia under the powerful Hafsid dynasty (13th–16th cent.) and was a leading center of trade with Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean. Turks under BarbarossaBarbarossa
[Ital.,=red-beard], surname of the Turkish corsair Khayr ad-Din (c.1483–1546). Barbarossa and his brother Aruj, having seized (1518) Algiers from the Spanish, placed Algeria under Turkish suzerainty. He extended his conquests to the rest of the Barbary States.
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 took it in 1534 but were temporarily (1535–69, 1573–74) dislodged by the Spanish. After 1591, the Turkish governors (the beys) were practically independent, and the city prospered as a center of piracy and trade. Under the French occupation (1881–1956), a modern European quarter was built and the port was improved. In World War II, Tunis was held by Axis forces from Nov., 1942, to May 7, 1943, and was the base for their final stand in Africa. The Arab LeagueArab League,
popular name for the League of Arab States,
formed in 1945 in an attempt to give political expression to the Arab nations. The original charter members were Egypt, Iraq, Jordan (then known as Transjordan), Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria.
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 was headquartered in Tunis from 1979 to 1990.

Tunis

 

the capital of Tunisia, the chief economic and cultural center of the country, and the administrative center of the province of Tunis.

Tunis is located on the western coast of the Gulf of Tunis, an inlet of the Mediterranean Sea. It has a subtropical maritime climate, with temperatures averaging 10.2°C in January and 25.6°C in July. Annual precipitation is 444 mm.

The population of Tunis and its adjacent suburbs is 970,000 (1975). It is a railroad and highway junction and has an international airport. The port of Tunis and its outer harbor, Halq al-Wadi (La Goulette), handled a cargo turnover of 2.8 million tons in 1974. Iron ore, phosphorites, lead, olive oil, fruits, and vegetables are exported. Enterprises of the food-processing, textile, metalworking, chemical, cement, glass, and printing industries, as well as of ferrous metallurgy, are located in Tunis, mainly in the southeastern, southern, and northeastern parts of the city.

Tunis was known as a suburb of Carthage for several centuries before the Common Era. The rise of Tunis itself as an important economic and cultural center of North Africa began in the late seventh and early eighth centuries A.D. after the seizure (698) and final destruction of Carthage by the Arabs, In the 13th to 16th centuries, Tunis was the capital of the eastern Maghrib state of the Hafsids. In 1535 the city was seized and sacked by troops of the Spanish king Charles V. In 1574 it was made part of the Ottoman Empire. From 1881 to 1956 it was the administrative center of the French protectorate of Tunisia. From November 1942 to May 1943 it was occupied by Italian and German troops. It was the center of the national liberation movement and the scene of major uprisings in 1911,1936, and 1938 and from 1952 to 1954. On Mar. 20,1956, it became the capital of independent Tunisia.

Medieval Tunis extended in an oval from north to south. The gates of Bab al-Jadid and Bab al-Manarah (both 13th century), which were part of the city’s protective walls, have survived. Among the city’s architectural monuments are the Great Mosque, or Jami al-Zaytunah (from 732; main construction from 856-S57); the mosques of al-Halik (1375), Mellasin (1435), Yusuf Dey (1616), and Sidi Mahrez (1675 onward); the Dar al-Bey palace (late 18th to 19th centuries); and the mausoleums of Beni Khorasan (1093) and the Husaynids (18th century).

Many new areas have grown up around medieval Tunis since the late 19th century. Most modern construction is being carried out according to the plan of 1962–63 (by the Bulgarian architect L. Tonev). Twentieth-century construction has included the university (designed by B. Zehrfuss and W. Gropius) and the Olympic Complex (by the Bulgarian architects N. Paskalev and N. Chipev and the engineer G. Apostolov), both from the 1960’s, the Africa Hotel (by O.-C. Cacoub and G. Kyriakopoulos), and the Hôtel du Lac (1970’s).

Among Tunis’ cultural institutions are the Bardo Museum in the Bardo Palace (18th and 19th centuries, housing ancient classical and Islamic architecture) and the Museum of Islamic Art in the Dar Husayn Palace (18th century). The city’s educational institutions include the University of Tunis, the National School of Administration, and the National Conservatory of Music, Dance, and Folk Art. Such research institutions as the Center for Nuclear Research, the National Nutrition Institute, the National Institute of Veterinary Research, the Pasteur Institute, the National Institute of Pedagogical Research, and the National Institute of Agronomic Research are also located in Tunis. The city is also the home of the National Library, the Public Library, and the Municipal Theater.

REFERENCES

Revault, J. Palais et demeures de Tunis (XVI et XVII siècles). Paris, 1967.
Revault, J. Palais et demeures de Tunis (XVIII et XIXsiècles). Paris, 1971.

Tunis

the capital and chief port of Tunisia, in the northeast on the Gulf of Tunis (an inlet of the Mediterranean): dates from Carthaginian times, the ruins of ancient Carthage lying to the northeast; university (1960). Pop.: 2 063 000 (2005 est.)
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