Tunisia hasn’t exactly had a lot of positive press lately, and for understandable reasons. The country’s disposal of its less than democratic ruler triggered revolutions across the Middle East and North Africa, which became known as the Arab Spring. Yet, what you likely haven’t heard is that unlike neighboring Libya and fellow countries on the block Egypt and Syria, Tunisia has made huge strides towards democracy, and is no longer embroiled in the conflict it found itself in back in 2011. Now once again safe for tourists to visit, this country that sits perched at the top of North Africa has a lot to offer tourists, and one event that’s certainly open for visitors is the month-long International Festival of Sousse, which runs from July 16th all the way through until August 16th.
Sousse is situated 140 kilometres south of Tunis, the capital of Tunisia, and enjoys an enviable climate, with an average temperature of twenty four degrees Celsius, meaning that those seeking out some sunshine would be wise to head to the North African nation, especially as cheap flights to Tunisia are easy to come by from destinations all over Europe. Sousse has a lot going for it, and visitors often find themselves becoming spellbound, and subsequently lost, in the maze-like alleys of the city’s souks. The Medina of Sousse is a UNESCO World Heritage site, ascending to its current status in 1988, and tombs dating back to when the city state of Carthage dominated the region. And it goes without saying that there’s a whole lot of fresh produce to satisfy food lovers, with olives, dates and couscous just waiting to be delved into.
The International Festival of Sousse serves to add even more to the mix, and this year marks the 47th edition of the festival. Tunisian musicians and artists dominate the lineup at the festival, and performers from neighboring countries as well as Romania, Italy, Belgium, Syria and Lebanon add their artistic stylings into the mix, and Russia is also sending its Symphonic Orchestra across to Tunisia. Music isn’t the only focus of the festival though, with screenings of feature films and animations also happening all across the city.
The diversity of Tunisian culture and history is celebrated at the International Festival of Sousse, and for a country nestled among the African giants of Libya and Algeria, Tunisia’s history sure is an impressive one. Before gaining independence in 1956, Tunisia changed hands many times over the course of history, with the Romans, Ottomans and the French being in charge of the country, not to mention the Galactic Empire. That’s right, Star Wars fans – scenes involving Tatooine, Luke Skywalker’s home planet, were filmed in Tunisia, with set locations not being too far away from Sousse.
Lodging during the festival shouldn’t pose too much of a problem, as Sousse is a city that welcomes tourists with open arms, with hotels catering to tourists arriving from the nearby airport in Monastir. Tunisia’s third largest city, Sousse has the tourist infrastructure necessary to both handle and welcome the influx of people who come to experience and be immersed in true Tunisian culture.
Don’t let the media fool you into thinking Tunisia is a country to be avoided – when was the last time you heard about a country successfully getting back on its feet again in the news? Exactly. Tunisia is back open for business, and there’s no better place to get a taster for one of the African continent’s most accessible countries than at the International Festival of Sousse, with its world-class lineup taking place in the height of summer.
However, with only 2 weeks still to go, if you are interested in attending the festival, you’ll have to act quickly! Luckily, First Choice have some great deals to Tunisia for you to take advantage of.
About the Author: Terrance Richardson is a keen writer, explorer and musician. He is particularly interested in music in different cultures but is also a big food lover.