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It is with the Romans that Tunis gained importance though, being rebuilt and becoming an important trading post and later city in its own right under the empire.
Incursions by the Berbers weakened the North African part of the Roman Empire though and Vandals took control.
Ben Ali’s rule was generally considered to be that of a dictator using sham elections to give himself legitimacy and using violence and intimidation to keep down protests.
Many of the people of Tunisia though rose in protest with numbers that Ben Ali was no longer to control in late 2010 and on January 14th 2011 Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia and an interim government took control, making Tunisia’s government the first to change during the Arab Spring.
With no dominate ruler the Christian Spanish and Islamic Ottomans fought for control in the 1500s with Turkey controlling Tunisia until their power also waned and the Husseinite dynasty came to rule an independent Tunisia.
Tunisia remained independent until France came on to the scene at first controlling the nation unofficially through a series of treaties and the moving in of forces, initially to put down uprisings.
The medina part of the city is the most fascinating and much of the city’s suburbs are modern and built during the last century during which Tunis has grown in size and importance.
The classic Medina is worth walking around and filled in for Cairo in Indiana Jones and the Raider s of the Lost Ark.
Revolution in Tunisia may have been overdue but when it came it was relatively peaceful as has been the transition to a democracy meaning that the tourism industry in the country is stronger than ever, the coverage having possibly even highlighted Tunisia to potential tourists as a beautiful and progressive nation with a long and fascinating history.
Tourism in the country is well developed and people welcoming, even in smaller towns and villages who see less visitors.
In Tunisia the position of women is much more equal than in many Arab countries and women visiting will find few problems in the major cities, though in restaurants and hotels questions and bills will initially be presented to the men in the party.
In law though the equality of women is guaranteed and though traditionally marriages may be arranged, often by the groom’s mother, consent of both parties is essential to make a wedding valid and breaking of agreements is common though these arrangements are becoming more rare in the first place. Tunisia has several major oil fields, these give a significant contribution to the economy, though the country certainly isn’t reliant on it.