The Central Market is a large covered market, located in the middle of downtown. Swarms of city-dwellers browse at the stands of meats, fish, and fruits & vegetables. Its surroundings are also full of food shops and life. If you are in the area, it will give you the opportunity to share the daily life of the people of Tunis, to grab spices and olives and to discover a building which is part of the commercial heritage of Tunis. Historically named Fondouk El Ghalla (the fruits caravanserai), it was built in 1891 and has just undergone extensive renovations. The Association de Sauvegarde de la Médina (the Association for the Preservation of the Medina) took part in the renovation of the central wooden market.
The Souk El Attarine is one of the oldest Souks of the medina, dating from the Hafside times (13th century). Its refined activity of perfume selling gave it the rare privilege to neighbor the Mosquée Zitouna (the Great Mosque of Tunis). Today, it still sells perfume extracts and henna. People come here also to find the wedding baskets that will contain all the presents (perfume, beauty products, jewelry, etc) to be offered to the bride. N.L.
Diwan opened in 1997 near its sister restaurant, Dar El Jeld. They share an owner and rely on the same concept: Tunisian cuisine in the setting of a lush Ottoman mansion (the mansion that houses Diwan dates from the beginning of the 20th century). On top of that, Diwan encompasses an art gallery, where many events are held, such as book signings, and painting and photography exhibits from Tunisian and foreign contemporary artists. There is a gift shop that sells books about Tunisia. The gallery is open M-Sa from 10a onward. -N.L.
The Espace Diwan, located in the middle of the Medina, is the spot for anyone who is looking for a good book about Tunis or Tunisia. They have a great selection of historical books and art illustrated works- most are written in French. You will also find historical postcards and CDs of Tunisian musicians, notably some jazzmen. This bookshop runs a book house that publishes reference books that cover, for example, the Tunis' medina, its architecture, its handicraft, and its history. -N.L.
Ed-Dar has established itself as the shop for antiques and high-end contemporary Tunisian handcraft lovers. It is located close to the Mosquée Zitouna, at the corner with the street Souk El Trouk. This 15th century mansion is covered with polychrome faience tiles. Ancient tissues and refined potteries (such as couscous sets and pitchers) on encrusted mother-of-pearl chests, silver jewelry in wooden showcases, paintings, Berber, antique and contemporary carpets, oriental ceiling lights, and many other treasures are displayed in this luxurious Ali Baba's Cavern. There is also a great view of the medina from the terrace. -N.L.
This big touristy handcraft shop is located in the Souk El Leffa, one of the Souks located near the Mosquée Zitouna. It sells rugs and handcrafted items, but most importantly, you can climb to the beautiful terrace to enjoy a wonderful view of the roofs of the Medina and the Great Mosque. Another shop of the same kind with a terrace, the Maison d'Orient M'Nouchi, is located at the number 31, in the same street. N.L.
For those who are in the mood to dig into traditional vegan Tunisian dishes, then heading to Badra can be a great idea. Known for its range of breakfast dishes, the restaurant is popular for its Vegan Chickpea Soup and its Eggs with Olive Oil. If you are in the mood for a quick snack, a great meal for breakfast or simply wish to skip the meat for once, then heading to Badra early in the morning can be a great idea.
Set in an expansive venue, the Centre Commercial Zitouna is one of the best places in the city for those who are in the mood to shop for a range of goods under one roof. Service stores like Sophia Optique and cafes like Topkapi can also be found here. If you are in the mood to shop, relax or simply have a few hours to spare, then Centro Comercial Zitouna is the place to be.
Shop for a range of fashionable clothing for men at Blue Bay. Whether you are looking for shirts and formal pants or wish to shop for tshirts and jeans, you can be rest assured that you will find something stylish at Blue Bay. Polo shirts are also on offer here as are shoes to match any outfit that you buy. If you are thinking to shop for affordable and stylish men’s clothing, then Blue Bay is the place to be headed to.
Known for housing an extensive collection of books of various categories, Librairie Al Kitab is one of the best bookstores in the city. Books related to general literature, travel, art, science and much more, all are stocked under one roof here. The place also boasts of books which are suitable bibliographers as well as the people who just wish to start reading. In operation since 1967, Librairie Al Kitab operated throughout the week.