There's a great arts scene waiting to be discovered in Tunisia. This is what makes the International Festival of Sousse so memorable.
The last several years have been tumultuous for Tunisia and it's coverage in the press has reflected that. Tunisia was at the forefront of the Arab Spring, disposing its less-than-democratic ruler and triggering revolutions across the Middle East and North Africa.
But unlike its more tempestuous neighbours, Tunisia has made huge strides towards democracy and is no longer embroiled in the conflict it found itself in back in 2011. Once again safe to visit, Tunisia sits perched at the top of North Africa and has a lot to offer tourists. One event that’s certainly open for visitors is the International Festival of Sousse, that runs every year in July and August. Here' what you need to know about one of Tunisia's most popular festivals.
Where is Sousse, Tunisia?
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.
Understanding Tunisian culture and history in Sousse
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.
The International Festival of Sousse serves to add even more to the mix. Recently, Tunisian musicians and artists dominated the lineup at the festival, and performers from neighbouring countries as well as Romania, Italy, Belgium, Syria and Lebanon brought their artistic stylings into the mix, while Russia sent over its prized Symphonic Orchestra. Music isn’t the only focus of the festival though, with screenings of feature films and animations also happening all across the city.
Don’t let the troubling news from the Middle East and North Africa dissuade you from visiting Tunisia. This dynamic country's ability to get back on its feet is an inspiring success story. 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.
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