Tunisia Country Facts

تونس‎ – Tūnis
Capital city Tunis
Surface 163,610 km²
Population 11,434,000
Road network length 18,997 km
Length of highway network 667 km
First highway 1981
Motorway name Autoroute
Traffic drives Right
License plate code TN

Tunisia (Arabic: تونس ‎ Tūnis, French: Tunisie), formally the Republic of Tunisia, is a country in northern Africa. The country has an area of ​​163,610 km² and has 11 million inhabitants, of which 2.2 million live in the capital Tunis.


Tunisia is located on the Mediterranean Sea in North Africa. The country is sandwiched between the larger neighboring countries of Algeria and Libya. The country measures a maximum of 800 kilometers from north to south and 300 kilometers from west to east. The country has both a north coast and an east coast. The capital Tunis is located on a bay on the north coast. The east coast also has two large bays.

The country has a hilly to slightly mountainous north that is greener and more cultivated. To the south the landscape becomes drier, first steppe in the center and east and desert in the south. In the interior of western Tunisia are large salt lakes. The south of Tunisia is quite flat. The 1,544 meter high Jebel ech Chambi in the west is the highest point in Tunisia.

Tunisia has a Mediterranean climate in the north with mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers. The south has a dry desert climate. The average maximum temperature in the capital Tunis ranges from 16°C in winter to 33°C in summer. In summer, however, temperatures above 40°C can occur periodically. Tunis receives a little less than 500 mm of precipitation per year.


Tunisia grew from just over 4 million inhabitants in 1960 to more than 10 million inhabitants in 2010. The north is more densely populated than the south. The capital Tunis is by far the largest city, it has more than 1 million inhabitants in the city itself and more than 2 million in the urban area. This is one of the primary cities of North Africa. There are a total of 10 cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants, of which Sfax and Sousse are the largest.

The country has an Arab identity and culture. There are disputes about the proportion of the population that is of Berber descent, ranging from 1% to more than half. However, Berber is hardly spoken as a language, almost the entire population speaks Arabic. French has no official status but is widely spoken in the media and business world. About two-thirds of the population speaks French in addition to Arabic.


Tunisia is one of the more developed countries in Africa, with a nominal GDP per capita of over $3200, but a purchasing power of over $12,000. About 15% of the population lives below the poverty line. The country has varied exports and is less oriented towards commodities than neighboring Algeria and Libya. The service sector comprises two-thirds of GDP, agriculture only 12%. The industry consists of oil, some manufacturing industry, textiles and raw materials. Tourism plays an important role, for a long time Tunisia was a stable tourist destination compared to neighboring countries.


The area has been inhabited by Berbers since ancient times. The Phoenicians founded the trading city of Carthage, a major rival to the Roman influence of the area. Between about 146 BC and 650 AD the area was under Roman rule, later in the 7th century the area was conquered by the Arabs and introduced Islam. From the 16th century, the area was under the rule of the Ottoman Empire, a period of 300 years of Ottoman rule followed until Francecolonized the area in 1881. In the early 20th century, many French and Italians moved to the colony. In 1942-1943, Tunisia was occupied by Germany for some time during World War II. The country became independent in 1956. The country was seen for the rest of the 20th century as one of the most modern countries in Africa, but also a de facto dictatorship at the same time. In 2011, President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was ousted after 24 years during the Tunisian revolution. The country has been somewhat unstable since then, but there is no major armed conflict.

Road Network

Tunisia’s road network is one of the most developed in Africa and is divided into Autoroutes (A), Route Nationales (RN), Route Régionales (RR) and Route Locales (RL). The RN roads form the main road network, with a number of axes having a highway next to them.


Motorways in Tunisia
A1 • A3 • A4

The Autoroutes of Tunisia.

The A1 at Mahdia.

There are three motorways in Tunisia, the A1 from Tunis to the border with Libya about 445 km, the A3 from Tunis to Bou Salem about 120 km and the A4 from Tunis to Bizerte about 51 km. There are also a number of expressways in and around the capital Tunis. The motorways are in accordance with international standards. The expressways can also have connections without special access ramps, but via right in-right out connections. The motorways are toll roads. Tol is also called Péage in Tunisia.


The first highway to open was the A1 between Tunis and Turke in 1981. In 1986 it was extended to Hammamet on the east coast. In 1993 and 1994 the highway was extended to the south side of Sousse. After that, the construction of highways was halted for a number of years. In 2002 the A4 between Tunis and Bizerte opened in the north of the country. In 2005 the opening of the A3 between Tunis and Oued Zarga followed. In 2008, part of the A1 was opened between Sousse and Sfax. Further south, the A1 is under construction as far as Gabès, which was completed in 2016. In 2016, the A3 was extended westwards to Bou Salem. In 2018, the last section of the A1 between Sfax and Gabès opened. In subsequent years, the A3 must be extended to the border with Algeria.

Route nationals

The route nationales connect almost all major cities in the country. The network is densest in the north and along the east coast, thinner in the center and west and particularly thin in the virtually unpopulated south of Tunisia. The quality of the roads can vary, but they are usually paved with asphalt. Paved roads lead quite far south into the Sahara, but do not reach the southernmost tip of Tunisia. Dahiba is the southernmost place that can be reached by paved roads. The extreme south of the country is accessible via all-weather roads that can be driven by all-terrain vehicles, but there are no people living in this area. In western Tunisia, paved roads reach the border with Algerianear Hazoua, west of Tozeur in the Sahara. The main road to Libya is accessible via paved roads along the coast.


The Tunisian A4.

The signage in Tunisia is almost the same as in France, only the Arabic script is also used. Most signposts are bilingual. The distinction between blue, green and white destinations is also made in Tunisia. The road marking is also the same as in France with broken edge markings, also on highways. The signage and road furniture is also the same as in France.


The border with Libya is open, reportedly the border crossing on the coast is the only one open for traffic between the two countries. The border with Algeria is also open. There are also car ferries to Tunisia, for example from Genova and Palermo in Italy.

Toll roads

Tolls have to be paid on the autoroutes. The toll roads are managed by Tunisie Autoroutes. There is a closed toll system with tickets on the A3 and A4. There is an open toll system on the A1 between Tunis and Sousse and a closed toll system south of it. In the immediate vicinity of Tunis, the highways are toll-free.


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