An Arab Maghreb country bordered by Algeria and Libya, and dwarfed in size by both of these countries, Tunisia is famous as a historically diverse outpost of both Mediterranean and Arab culture, and more recently as the country in which the Arab Spring began. The country was ruled by France for much of the 20th century and was a major battlefield of World War II. It gained independence from France in 1956 but still maintains close cultural and political ties with its former coloniser. Politically it has recently been defined by the revolution which ousted Prime Minister Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and began the upheaval across the region which would come to be known as the Arab Spring.
The culture of Tunisia is a diverse mixture of influences, both historically and contemporary, from the many conquerors who attempted to colonise Tunisia. These include the Phoenicians, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Turks, Spaniards, and the French all of whom have left some trace in the country, be it in the language, cuisine or architecture.
Music festivals and great singers are all a part of Tunisia’s generous offerings, where Oud players and vocalists entertain crowds with traditional Malouf music elegantly performed by artists such as Kaddour Srarfi.