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Tunis

3,451 bytes added, 06:34, 16 February 2013
Mid-range
===Orientation===
Tunis is divided into the old city, known as the '''medina''', and the new city, or '''ville nouvelle''' in French. Ave Habib Bourgiba Bourguiba is the large avenue running through the new city from the clock tower to the Cathedral of St Vincent de Paul. It then turns into Ave de France, which runs for a few blocks until ending at the Place de la Victoire and the Port de France, a large free-standing gate that used to be the entrance to the medina. This can be a good landmark for taxi drivers, as some of the smaller streets nearby aren't sure to be known by the drivername.
The Port de France also serves as a good entry point for exploring the medina. Rue Jemaa Zaytouna leads past lots of shops to the Zaytouna Mosque, the great mosque of Tunis and the center of the medina. Running obliquely to Rue Jemaa Zaytouna, and also with an outlet near the Port de France, is the Rue de la Kasbah. This runs all the way through the medina to the Place du Gouvernment and the Place de la Kasbah, a huge bleak square fringed by razorwire. It is fairly easy to move between the two streets by cutting through in across the labrynthine medina, and it is easy to keep your bearings and find an exit. Rue Jemaa Zaytouna seemed to be a better entry point from the Port de France at night, remaining relatively well traveled. Rue de la Kasbah, on the other hand, is active after dark on the Place de la Kasbah side, but is extremely dark and almost scary near the Port de France. It is recommended to get a feel for the medina during the day so that you will feel more confident if you find yourself and alone and need to find a landmark at night.
==Get in==
===By train===
[[File:Railways_in_Tunisia.jpg|thumb|200px|Passanger connections in Tunisia:<br/> <b><font color="#905658">red</font> and <font color="#A87BAB">purple</font></b> - routes with passanger trains<br/><b><font color="black">black</font></b> - routes with only freight trains<br/> <b><font color="grey">grey</font></b> - not used routes<br/> [http://sharemap.org/public/Railways_in_Tunisia Interactive map] ]]
 
Tunis Central Station is near Place de Barcelone for easy interchange onto the light metro. Trains are generally cheap and comfortable, but if you want to ride first class during peak season, do reserve your seat in advance. Trains are run by SNCFT.
 
Tunis is a main hub of Tunisia railway system - Tunis Railways Station when it this possible to change from north system trains (this system uses normal rail gauge) to south train network (which uses narrow gauge). The station is unique because different platforms has different track gauges.
===By car===
Free maps of Tunis and Tunisia are available at the '''National Tourism Office''', who also speak many languages, to the north-east of the clock tower (directly east of the main Medina gate).
Tunis is well-served by a convenient four-line '''light metro''' is a convenient six line system run by '''Société des Transports de Tunis''' [http://www.snt.comtranstu.tn/] (French/Arabic only, but including the TGM line). The interchange hub for all lines is in the centre of town at Place de la République/Place de Barcelone.The other station change with TGM is Tunis marine. Single trips cost 0,410 TD. '''Taxis''' are also a good option if you need to go a bit farther than the metro, though cabs picking up in front of nice hotels will charge much higher rates. Prices are displayed as 3.700 for 3.7DT. Flagfall is .400. (.4 DT). Assuming they are honest, the meter is a good way to go. Only try to negotiate a price if you know what you are doing and are sure of the value of the trip.
The '''TGM suburban trainlight rail''' line, starting at Tunis Marine station on Lines 1-4, connects to La Goulette (ferries), [[Sidi Bou Saïd]], [[Carthage]] and the beaches of Marsa. Tickets cost 680 millimes each way. At Tunis Marine, be aware that there is an extreme dearth of signage. No obvious signs even say TGM, and on the maps on the trains themselves the station is marked as Tunis Nord. If you arrive at the station on the Tunis Metro, the TGM platform will be perpendicular to the metro cars and is easily accessed across the tracks. Tickets are sold at the end farthest from the metro stop.
Signs for station names along the TGM differ slightly from what appears those that appear on the onboard map, but if you can see the signs from the train and it is they are free of graffiti, a not uncommon problem, it is easy to tell where you are. It is not unusual for the trains to stop and wait on the tracks after leaving Tunis Nord or upon return. This usually does not last an extraordinary amount of time, and you will likely be better off not following the example of the optimistic youths that decide to leap from the car and walk along the tracks into the city.
Many stations along along the TGM don't have full-time ticket vendors, so if you are making several trips along the line while visiting Carthage or Sidi Bou Said, you might be forced to risk traveling without a ticket. The guidebooks say that officials will sometimes get on the train and check tickets, so travel without a ticket at your own risk. It might be safest to buy a return to your farthest destination. The price difference should be minimal, and that way you might plausibly just have boarded the train, and your ticket will be valid for wherever you get on. The safest option will be to check with the ticket vendors or buy a ticket if you can find them.
 
'''Taxis''' are also a good option if you need to go a bit farther than the metro, though cabs picking up in front of nice hotels will charge much higher rates. Prices are displayed as 3.700 for 3.7DT. Flagfall is .400. (.4 DT). Assuming they are honest, the meter is a good way to go. Only try to negotiate a price if you know what you are doing and are sure of the value of the trip.
'''Societe Nationale des Chemins de Fer Tunisiens (SNCFT)''' is the '''domestic train''' company for long distance travel between Tunis and other cities. Visit http://www.sncft.com.tn for more details on schedules and fares. The Tunis train station is in Place Barcelone.
==See==
[[Image:TunisPortFrance.jpg|thumb|Port de France]]
*'''Bardo Museum''' (''Le Musée National du Bardo''), Le Bardo-2000, (nearest station Bardo on Metro line 4), 1 513-650 (''Fax: 1 513-842''), [http://www.di.com.tn/museebardo/]. September 16 to April 30: 9:30-16:30. May 1 to September 15: 9:00-17:00, Tuesday to Sunday. 4DT (at least on Sunday), photos free. Nearest metro station is Le Bardo on line 4. Then From the station walk toward the fenced compound to the north and walk then clockwise around it until you find the unmarked gate. Count the stops, as signs are often missing, or ask someone on board onboard if you are unsure. Coming from Place de Barcelone, it is the first stop after you go briefly underground for the second time. Occupying the 13th century palace of the Ottoman-era ''bey'' (ruler) and renowned for its extensive collection of Roman mosaics, although the (huge) collection covers Tunisia's entire existence from the prehistoric era until the Ottoman days. Exhibits from Carthage, Mahdia, Sousse, many from the Roman period in addition to presentations of Arabian culture old and new. It can be mercilessly hot and stifling in the museum, so bring water. The only bathrooms are on the ground floor, and have attendants asking for change. The museum is segregated into old and new, so be sure to walk around a fair amount looking for new passages to be sure you haven't missed any major areas. As of July 2012, the majority of the museum is open, although there appear to be a few areas still under construction.
* '''Dar Ben Abdallah''' (''Musée du Patrimoine Traditionnel''). Tu-Su 9:30AM-4:30PM. A small but interesting folk museum within an 18th-century palace in the medina, covering the everyday life of a rich merchant in the Ottoman era with exhibits including faience, stucco ornament, costumes and furniture.
[[Image:AF-TN-TK-TunisSouk-Lamps.jpg|thumb|Camel skin and other lamps for sale]]
* ATMs are a convenient way of getting money without going to a bureau de change and there are many VISA cashpoints around the city [http://visa.via.infonow.net/locator/eur/ResultsDisplayAction.do?uid=X768206-1126521027-ac120464]
* The '''souq''' in the medina makes for a fascinating stroll. Tiny shops overflowing with stuff; people selling, buying, milling about; skeletal cats lurking in the shadows; the smells of essential oils, spices, frying food and rotting garbage; the sounds of the muezzin, raï, football on the radio, Arabic and French... The Tunis medina's main routes are labeled "touristique", but even a few steps off the beaten track it's a real, working market. Behind the often scruffy facades hide old palaces, mosques, Islamic schools. Compared to [[Morocco]] or even [[Sousse]] you will not be hassled here. Bab El Bahr (The large stone-arch "French Gate" at the head of Avenue DeFrance) is a good starting point for the Souk. The goldsmiths are close to Bab Bnet. [[Haggle]] if you wish to buy anything. Prices paid for items are given in July 2012, with the caveat that it is not known if they are good prices. They are provided just for reference. The merchant's first offer is in parentheses: 5DT (12DT) for a low-end scarf, 20DT (45DT, 65DT for a comparable box at another vendor) for an 8" nacre inlaid hexoganal wooden box, 30DT (80DT) for a leather bandolier. If you are unsure, try getting a first estimate from several vendors before you buy. As always, if you give a price and they agree, you will be expected to pay.
* '''Halfaouine''' a cheap, traditional food market, located at Place Halfaouine, near the Habib Thameur metro stop.
There are little stores near every hotel in Tunis, where you can buy everything you need, but it's difficult to call their prices loyal. So it's better to go shopping to other parts of the city. Aproximate 90% of presented in Tunis goods are of local origin. There are networks of state supermarkets Monoprix and General in the capital.
* '''Abid''', 98 rue de Yogoslavie, tel: 216 1257052. You can get a solid meal such as lamb in macaroni for TD5.
* '''Restaurante Les 3 Étoiles''', Rue Mustafa M'barek. Very cheap and filling food such as couscous and salads.
*<eat name="Atlas le Resto" alt="" address="Rue Mustapha M'barek, " directions="directly across from the Grand Hotel de France" directions="" phone="" url="" hours="" price="" lat="" long="">Very friendly owner and his cook speak some English. Delicious iftar (breaking of the daily ramadan fast) of fish soup, bread, harissa, a fried pastry with tuna and a softboiled egg, minced cabbage, grilled chicken and fries, a spicy olive paste, and a lime Bogo, all for 9.500 TD.</eat>*<eat name="Capri" alt="" address="Rue Mokhtar Attia" directions="turn into the pedestrian lane opposite Hotel Africa and turn right on the first corner. 50m further, with bright green-red neon." phone="" url="" hours="" price="" lat="" long="">This place can be crowded and the smoke might make this rather unsuitable for children or asthma patients, but the food is good, the service fast and correct and a pizza and a beer should cost no more than 11 dinars. Also a good place for (male) solo travellers.</eat>
===Mid-range===
The communal bathrooms, however, are not cleaned regularly, and may border on offensive. The shower times are limited to an hour in the morning and at night, though hot water may not be available at these times. Plan on using the local hammams for all hot water and cleaning needs.</sleep>
 
*<sleep name="Hotel de la Medina" address="1 Rue des Glacières" phone="+216 71 327 497" price="20TD"> Located perfectly at Porte de France, this (very) basic hotel offers cheap accommodation. Every floor (5 or 6 rooms) share a bathroom that may be a little dirty (1 dinar). This place urgently needs some fresh paint, but for this price, it's not all that bad of a deal.</sleep>
===Mid-range===
*<sleep name="La Maison Doree" address="6 bis rue de Hollande" phone="+216 71 240 632" fax="+216 71 240 631" price="32-52 TD">This hotel captures a slightly faded, colonial era charm. Rooms are basic (the hotel building is old) but clean. Excellent restaurant with bar (2.5 TD Celtia) that provides room service. Breakfast is included in the price, and the croissants are better than average. Rooms come with ensuite sink and shower, but shared toilets - a room with a toilet is an extra 10 TD. Some rooms overlook the local tram, which can be excessively loud - you may want to look out the window to the street below, and possibly listen to the noise of the passing tram. Located half a block north of Place Barcelone.</sleep>
*<sleep name="Hotel Transatlantique" address="Rue De Yougoslavie 106, Tunis 1000" phone="+216 71 334 319" price="40 50 TD (Dec 2010Feb 2013)">Ground plus four levels, the first three accessible by lift. Nice mosaics. Lots of lounge space near the lobby. A little noisy, but nicely located. There is a roof accessible on the fourth floor (turn left after climbing the stairs, walk to the end, and open the unlocked door to your left): good for fresh air or some sun, though the view is not brilliant. Disinterested management. Poor water pressure observed on level 4.</sleep>
*<sleep name="Grand Hotel de France" alt="" address="Rue Mustapha M'barek" directions="" phone="+216 71 32 62 44" email="[email protected]" url="" checkin="" checkout="noon" price="43TD for one person in a double room with aircon, ensuite toilet and shower" lat="" long="">Located in a neat old building with marble staircases and a friendly staff. They do not speak English, although it was no problem. Free wifi in the lobby and courtyard, two communal computers, but cannot comment on price or quality, although one had a webcam attached. Breakfast was bread, coffee, and apricot jam. Easily accessed by taxi from the Port de France, where Rue Mustapha M'barek is just a quick left off of the main road running south past the front of the gate. Reservations were made via email using google translate into French, although you are expected to call and confirm the day before, and it might be easiest to find a French-speaking friend do it for you.</sleep>
*<sleep name="Dar El-Medina" alt="" address="64 Rue Sidi ben Arous" directions="" phone="" email="" fax="" url="" checkin="" checkout="" price="200-250">A luxury hotel in a century old mansion in the Medina, this is best accessed (at least until you get your bearings) by taking a taxi to Place du Government on the West side of the Medina - it's a few blocks walk from there. [http://www.darelmedina.com/]</sleep>
* <sleep name="Sheraton Tunis Hotel and Towers" address="Avenue de la Ligue Arabe · B.P. 345 · Tunis Carthage Cedex 1080" phone=" (216)(71) 782 100" url="http://www.starwoodhotels.com/sheraton/property/overview/index.html?language=en_US&propertyID=1483"></sleep> Modern hotel overlooking the entire city. Conviently located in the Central Business District.
*<sleep name="Carthage Thalasso Resort" alt="" address="Les cotes de Carthage BP La Marsa-Gammarth 2070" phone="00 216 910 111" email="[email protected]" fax="00 216 71 913 140" url="http://www.carthagethalassoresort.com/" checkin="" checkout="" price="150-200">A 5-star hotel with an excellent thalassotherapy center. The marble and the decorationof the place create the real sensation of harmony and good serenity in mind of the Moorish bath. The accommodation also brings this sensation of tranquillity thanks to the decoration of rooms and their comfort. The place is ideal for the persons in search for tranquillity as seniors or couples; it is moreover the choice of preference of the amateurs of plastic surgery in Tunisia for their convalescence like this http://www.docteur-sami-mezhoud.com/ </sleep>
==Contact==
==Stay safe==
Touts and unofficial "guides" hang around near tourist spots. Shoo them off if they start to launch into a spiel on the architectural wonders of this or that, or they will expect to some ''baksheesh'' for their unwanted efforts.
 
One thing that can get really annoying in Tunis is the number of "friends" a tourist will attract. There is a decent number of men who hang out on avenue Bourguiba, the main drag in Tunis. They work individually. They approach tourists and start talking to them. The tourist may think that this person is just being friendly but don't buy it. Also beware of teens approaching you on or around Av. Habib Bourguiba. They often "prey" on male tourists and try to talk you into joining them to the cinema. Later on your new "friend" will ask you for 10 Dinars or a pack of Marlborros or this or that. It is best to just avoid these people or to shoo them off. They also have different techniques to get your attention. They include: asking for a cigarette, asking for the time, asking for a lighter, bumping into you on the street. The most common one seems to be when they ask you for a cigarette or a lighter. It is wise to get rid of anyone who tries to just bluntly start a conversation with you on the street. Chances are that there are no good intentions involved whatsoever. Tunisian people are nice and curious towards strangers but avoid the ones who seem too friendly - a good phrase to use could be the French "Monsieur, je connais bien Tunis," (Monsieur, I know Tunis well.)
 
Non-French speakers might have luck with a simple "no, merci," repeated several times and without giving them any additional acknowledgment. Some, however, are persistent in spite of this and will not leave you alone. If you can manage to not bring a backpack or large back, seemed to make you less of a target and attracted fewer hangers-on.
 
One visitor was approached at night leaving Hotel Africa, a popular tourist hotel, and was accompanied by an unwanted visitor down the Ave Habib Bourguiba, plying him for information. Several blocks after being left alone, another person approached them on the street and "coincidentally" mentioned he used to work at Hotel Africa, and then tried to get the tourist to follow him into the Medina. The odds of this are extremely low, and it was likely a coordinated scam. Be aware of such possibilities and use your common sense.
==Cope==
One thing that Barbershops can get really annoying be found in Tunis is the number of "friends" a tourist will attract. There is a decent number of men who hang out on avenue Bourguibamedina, the main drag in Tunis. They work individually. They approach tourists and start talking to them. The tourist may think that this person is just being friendly but donthere are women't buy its hair salons throughout the city. Also beware Many of teens approaching you on or around Av. Habib Bourguiba. They often "prey" on male tourists and try to talk you into joining them to the cinema. Later on your new "friend" will ask you for 10 Dinars or a pack of Marlborros or this or that. It is best to just avoid these people or to shoo them off. They nicer hotels also have different techniques to get your attention. They include: asking for a cigarette, asking for the time, asking for a lighter, bumping into you on the street. The most common one seems to be when they ask you for a cigarette or a lighter. It is wise to get rid of anyone who tries to just bluntly start a conversation with you on the street. Chances are that there are no good intentions involved whatsoever. Tunisian people are nice and curious towards strangers but avoid the ones who seem too friendly - a good phrase to use could be the French "Monsieur, je connais bien Tunis," (Monsieur, I know Tunis wellspas.)
===Embassies===
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