Balcony on the Mediterranean
Tunisia on its own opens a major chapter of the history of the Mediterranean Basin. More than anywhere else, the Phoenicians left their mark in this region: it was the Tyrians that founded powerful Carthage, which for a long time rivaled with Rome for supremacy in the western Mediterranean; however, Carthage was wiped out and Rome reigned supreme. The African province was urbanized, carefully administered and covered with opulent cities where intellectual life was intense; after the triumph of Christianity in the empire it was in Carthage that the future Saint Augustine studied rhetoric … But Byzantine Tunisia did not resist the Islam thrust for long. This soil of the "ribat" – fortified monasteries served by monk soldiers – gave birth to the dynasty of the Fatimids. Independent under the Idrissids and the Zirids, given in fief to Morocco under the Almohads, placed under Spanish domination under Charles V, Tunisia then fell under Ottoman control and only regained its independence in 1956, when the Bardo agreement put an end to the French protectorate. Tunisia is greatly appreciated for the beauty of its beaches and its historical treasures.