Adventures at Matheran Hill Station
March 13, 2013 – 12:05 am | No Comment
Matheran is a Hill Station located near Mumbai, Karjat.   It is located 800 meters above sea level in the Jambol Forest of Maharashtra.  It was found by Hugh Poynts Malet in May 1850.  It spreads over an area of 8 square kilometers in Sahyadri Mountains.  It is one of the best places to spend a two-day holiday if you are in Mumbai or in the vicinity of Mumbai or its suburbs.  To reach Matheran,  [...]

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Amidst The Ruins Of The Past – Tunis Culture

Posted on November 25, 2009 | Fascinating CitiesNo Comment

With beautiful beaches along the Mediterranean Sea and under abundant sunshine, Tunis, the capital city of Tunisia, thrives as a tourist destination. Adding dimension to the city’s attraction are the remains of the past. These remains tell you the story of the rulers who came, went away or settled here. In either of these situations, none of them missed to leave the impressions of their culture behind.

People, places and culture

The Romans, French, British and of course the Arabic world of architecture is reflected in the ruins and old structure of this city in North Africa. While almost 99 per cent of the people follow Islam, the place accommodates all cultures and religion as is suggested by the presence of Churches and temples.

Thanks to its Geography, Tunisia was easily accessible to other civilizations through the Mediterranean Sea. As it lay open have impressions of various cultures like Phoenicians, Romans, Vandals, Byzantines, Arabs, Turks, Spaniards and also the French, its culture has now developed as that connecting the Western, Arabic and the Islamic worlds.

For instance, the Arabic here is sprinkled with French and substantiating this are the souks (as the Arabic markets are known) with French names like the Souk de la Laine or the Souk des Etoffes.

The mosques here reflect exemplify fine Arab-Islamic architecture, but they also have parts that belong to the Roman ruins in the city of Carthage.  The colonial houses, especially in the French built Ville Nouvelle speak a lot about the city’s blend of cultures while the Arab way of living is visible in the medina. The souks in the medina, with souvenirs in the form of crafts work stand testimony to the contribution of artisans of the city in the city’s culture.

Arab-Islamic architectureThe 3 medersas which include Medersa Achouria, Medersa Bachia and Medersa Slimania built by Ali Pasha symbolize the culture of learning and were well known Islamic universities. The museums like the Dar Ben Abdallah or the Musee du Partrimoine Traditionnel serve as store houses of the city’s rich culture and heritage.

Excursions to the nearby cities like Hammamet, Monastir, Nabeaul, Sfax and Sousee brings you closer to the culture of Tunis, though archaeological sites and exhibitions at museums.

Festivals and events in Tunis

Summer is the time for most of the cultural events in the city, especially during Festival de Carthage. There are few good theatres that stage plays, which though are in French or in Arabic. Theatre de l’Etoile du Nord at Farhat Hached Avenue is a theatre that holds plays and regular concerts. Theatre d’Art Ben Abdallah in the medina too shows good films and plays.

A number of cinemas around the city centre screen Hollywood and Bollywood movies that are well-known worldwide, though they are dubbed in French. Maison de la Culture at Ibn Khalsoun is the space to screen art house cinemas.

While few bars that are there and the restaurants and hotels of the city do have live music, for traditional music concerts, the Dar Ennejma Ezzahra in Sidi Bou Said is the place you should head to.

The city of Tunis has a number of cultural festivals, with music being an integral part of most of them. The very popular Carthage International Festival is held in the month of July and August. It is the largest cultural festival celebrated in the North African country of Tunisia. Roman amphitheatre of Carthage is the venue for this festival and there is music, dance, theatre and art as well as part of the celebrations.

The same months July-August is the time for Khajra Festival at Sidi Bou Said. As a part of this festival, Sufi Falconry Festivalbrotherhoods take out a procession up to the shrine of the local Muslim Saint, Sidi Bou Said after whom the village too has been named.

July and August are also the time for the Hammamet International Festival at Hammamet; at about one hour drive by bus from the city, with a variety of international theatre and music performances.

The four day festival, Festival d’Epervier or the Falconry Festival is held in July. There are falconry demonstrations on all four days of the festival. This is accompanied by live music and a big market. Very interesting part of this festival are the Sparrow Hawks. They are captured during spring when they migrate here, are trained for the festival and released after it is over. The festival is held at El-Houaria, Cap Bon, which is at about 2 hours drive by bus from Tunis.

Tabarka, which can be reached in about three hours by bus from Tunis, plays host to a number of music fiestas all throughout the summer. The second week of July is the time for Jazz Festival here. The mid of August brings with it the World Music Festival. It is followed by the Latino Festival in the third week of August and by the end of August comes the much awaited Rai Festival.

The Ramadan evenings, usually falling in the months of October and November are time for the Tunis Medina Festival that has good concerts. The dates may differ every year as Ramadan is celebrated as per the Islamic Calendar which follows the movements of the moon.

tunis medina festivalOctober is the time for film fiesta with the Carthage International Film Festival held every in alternate year in Carthage. This well known film fest screens a couple of good Hollywood movies, though the center of attention is enjoyed by African and Arab films.

This Capital City of Tunis in definitely worth a visit for all and especially for those who are keen to discover a place through insights into its archaeological remains, its street and alleys, its museums that have been royal palaces before. Simply put, the culture of this city in the North African country of Tunisia  is best enjoyed walking by foot, at complete leisure and then recalling about its past in one of its many cafes at a relaxed pace in one of those busy streets that the modern day Tunis has.

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