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Religions and languages in Tunisia

Hammamet open-air theatre From a linguistic point of view, Tunisia is the most homogeneous and integral country of the modern day Maghreb. Almost all the locals can speak the so-called Tunisian dialect which is of Arabic extraction. Among linguists, it is known as Derja. By its linguistic structure, this dialect some sort of derivative of the classical Arabic language. However, in practice, most words in the dialect are structurally and phonetically unlike classical Arabic. Most likely, this was influenced by the history of the formation of Tunisia as a state and its geographical location. Periodic migration and a change of government within the state also left a mark on the linguistic sphere of Tunisia. To date, you will even find in their dialect borrowed words from French and Italian, German and Spanish, and even some adverbs from Berber.
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Despite this, the Arabic language is regarded as the only official language in the territory of Tunisia. All official documentation is compiled with it. Deputies and other public office holders communicate in it. In addition, signboards and advertising information, as well as the menu in restaurants and price lists in shops are written in Arabic. Children, beginning from their first class at school are taught using classical Arabic, which is also actively used in trade relations. Every literate Tunisian speaks excellent classical Arabic. In everyday life however, the local Darius dialect is employed. In view of the development of the tourism business, all the service personnel working in this sector are bona fide polyglots. They can clearly communicate in English, French, German and even Russian.
Not so long ago, by historical standards, there was a French protectorate in Tunisia. The French language at that time was recognized as a state language, while also widespread in all spheres of the national life of the Country. Even though Tunisia has gained independence, the language continues to thrive and develop in the Country. It is still highly regarded and spoken by most of the local population. Even at school, it is studied from the second grade. In some restaurants and cafes in major tourist cities, the menu besides being in Arabic is also written in French. Until now, the authorities of Tunisia did not prohibit the production of printed publications and literature in classical French. Copyright
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Islam is considered the predominating religious direction in Tunisia. According to the data of last year, almost 95% of the local population consider themselves to be believers; most of them consider themselves to be Muslims. In addition, Judaism and even Christianity are common in the country. The Constitution of Tunisia guarantees freedom and the right to choose one’s religion. Any manifestation of intolerance towards a religious faith is punishable. It is worth noting that the religion of Islam as is practiced in Tunisia is quite diverse. The fact is that many Tunisian Muslims are Sunnis, but those who live on the island of Djerba profess a religion based on orthodox Islam.
Djerba Religious education in the country is at a very high level. From childhood, children are taught to help one’s neighbor, so practically almost every Muslim passing by the poor, seeks to give alms. That aside, thanks to modern Western trends, in the territory of Tunisia there are those who do not want to follow the rules of many generations of their ancestors and wish to simply disregard any religious denominations. It is worth noting that the local population is very demanding regarding the fulfillment of the basic canons of their religion. It is for this reason that tourist while staying in a Muslim country, are recommended to observe some rules adopted in this religious direction. For example, women should not wear revealing outfits. The shoulder or cleavage zones should likewise not be exposed.
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Within this sufficiently large and powerful Muslim society that is Tunisia, there are still some ethno-confessional groups. All of them put together however, do not exceed 1% of believers in the country. It is worth noting that such religions do not experience development. Belonging to this category are the Berber-speaking Ibadis, renegade Christians and even the Hanafis, who consider themselves to be the true descendants of the Turks. There is likewise also the Jews who were expelled from Spain 6 centuries ago. Of course, during the Second World War most of them did move to Israel and France, but to date, there are still at least 20,000 Jews in Tunisia. They zealously guard their religion and try to pass it on to every new generation.
Tunisia guide chapters 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
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Photogallery of iconic places of Tunisia

Traditions in Tunisia cities

Foreign guests can feel relatively calm in Hammamet; urban residents have long been accustomed to a large number of tourists and perceive features of other cultures with understanding. Anyway, you have to consider the outfit carefully, if you hope to visit religious sites and explore suburbs of Hammamet. It is inexcusable to go on a tour around religious sites in low-necked and provocative clothes. As for locals, they have their own unique clothing style. During a walk through residential … Read more
For many travelers the first association with cultural traditions of indigenous people is hammam. A visit to it has long been a tradition not only for locals, but also for tourists. The hammam is often located near the mosque. Modern saunas are multi-purpose sports complexes, as they offer customers high quality massages and beauty treatments. Many interesting traditions are associated with hammam. For example, men can visit the hammam from dawn until noon, and women have access to the hammam … Read more
The prayer ritual is observed by citizens several times a day at a certain time, and it can be done even on the street. If, during your walk, you see a person kneeling, you should walk around them well at a distance. It’s not polite to stare at those praying. Local women’s everyday clothing is burqa. It’s also impolite to stare at local citizens in traditional clothing. There are also special rules of conduct in public places: you shouldn’t speak and express your emotions too … Read more
Djerba Island
In order not to get in trouble with the law, you should abstain from drinking wine, beer, etc. from the bottle right on the streets. Drinking alcohol outside the designated places is forbidden here. Besides, you have to remember that there is the month called Ramadan in the Muslin calendar during which religious observe a strict fast. Though nobody would deny serving you in bars or restaurants in this period, offer locals to have a bite or a drink with is totally rude. The same is about … Read more

Tunisia: traditions in the regions

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