The Ancient Heart of a Modern World; Ross McCarthy Discovers Art, Culture, History and Chocolate Cake in Tunisia

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Byline: Ross McCarthy

Shopping in Tunis Medina is an exciting experience Shopping in Tunis Medina is an exciting experience IF YOU ever find yourself on a road heading towards the capital of Tunisia there is one colour you will notice more than any other.

F YOU ever find yourself on a road heading towards the capital of Tunisia there is one colour you will notice more than any other.

The colour is yellow. It's the colour chosen for the taxis which buzz around Tunis and its suburbs like a swarm of busy bees.

The colour is yellow. It's the colour chosen for the taxis which buzz around Tunis and its suburbs like a swarm of busy bees.

Everywhere you look there are the distinctive cabs, dodging from lane to lane in the dense mass of traffic.

Everywhere you look there are the distinctive cabs, dodging from lane to lane in the dense mass of traffic.

Because not only is Tunis the capital of this North African country, sandwiched between Algeria and Libya, 80 miles south of Sicily and just a two-and-a-half hour flight from the UK, but it is also the taxi capital of the world and they are the cheapest and easiest way of seeing the sights.

Because not only is Tunis the capital of this North African country, sandwiched between Algeria and Libya, 80 miles south of Sicily and just a two-and-a-half hour flight from the UK, but it is also the taxi capital of the world and they are the cheapest and easiest way of seeing the sights.

Tunis is a is a pink For anyone interested in pink For anyone interested in culture, Tunis has a good response to the question: "What did the Romans ever do for us?" In the centre of this bustling metropolis is the Bardo Museum, situated on a former palace which itself dates back to the 13th century and which houses a celebrated collection of Roman mosaics.

culture, Tunis has a good response to the question: "What did the Romans ever do for us?" In the centre of this bustling metropolis is the Bardo Museum, situated on a former palace which itself dates back to the 13th century and which houses a celebrated collection of Roman mosaics.

Visitors coming into the spacious entrance hall are immediately struck by a massive mosaic depicting the Triumph of Neptune.

Visitors coming into the spacious entrance hall are immediately struck by a massive mosaic depicting the Triumph of Neptune.

A tour of this recently renovated building takes you through 3,000 years of history with its rich and varied collection or artefacts, including mosaics depicting everyday Roman life and detailed pictures of animals and gods, tomb decorations and sculptures.

A tour of this recently renovated building takes you through 3,000 years of history with its rich and varied collection or artefacts, including mosaics depicting everyday Roman life and detailed pictures of animals and gods, tomb decorations and sculptures.

There's even a large haul recovered from a sunken ship blown off course on its way to Italy.

course on its way to Italy.

Another must-do, of course, is a trip to Tunis's Medina, whose narrow streets have shops where you can haggle for items such as Another must-do, of course, is a trip to Tunis's Medina, whose narrow streets have shops where you can haggle for items such as leather goods, aftershave, perfumes and sunglasses while many offer souvenir toy camels, water pipes, colourful dresses, fezzes and decorative plates.

leather goods, aftershave, perfumes and sunglasses while many offer souvenir toy camels, water pipes, colourful dresses, fezzes and decorative plates.

I had lunch at Dar El Jeld, a discreet little restaurant which has no windows and which you enter via an ornate yellow door in a wall.

I had lunch at Dar El Jeld, a discreet little restaurant which has no windows and which you enter via an ornate yellow door in a wall. …