Tunisia’s long history and rich culture is showcased in interesting festivals that regularly occur throughout the country. In particular, the country specializes in several city-specific international festivals, most of them occurring in the summer months. In fact, the festivals are so packed together that it can be hard to choose which ones to go to. From festivals in the desert to live music, here are 10 Tunisian festivals you should know about.
International Festival of Carthage
This festival is one of the biggest in the country and attracts people from around the world. Acts like Ray Charles, James Brown and Youssou N’Dour have graced the stage in the past. The setting of the festival is located in an ancient amphitheater that was restored in the 20th century, allowing for fantastic acoustics.
International Festival of Dougga
Like the festival of Carthage, the International Festival of Dougga also takes place in an ancient amphitheater (pictured above). The festival focuses on classical music, along with numerous theatrical events and dance numbers. Attending the festival is a great way to explore the area architecture while soaking up the local culture.
International Oasis Festival, Tozeur
Every December since 1938, the oasis town of of Tozeur hosts the International Oasis Festival. The festival celebrates the traditional culture of the nomadic peoples that lived (and still live) in the region. It usually lasts for three or four days and includes film screenings and concerts in addition to the traditional celebration.
International Festival of Bizerte
Bizerte is one of the oldest cities in Tunisia and is host to a month-long festival every summer centered around the city’s amphitheater. During the festival, visitors can watch dance, comedy, and theater performances, along with plenty of concerts from local and international groups.
International Festival of the Sahara, Douz
Also known as the Camel Festival, this yearly festival started all the way back in 1910 and is the oldest running celebration in the country. Over four days in December, thousands of people come to the area to watch fantasia (an Arab horse show), a camel marathon, Bedouin celebrations and nightly musical performances.
International Festival of Sousse
This festival is even longer than the one in Bizerte and runs for a full six weeks over the summer. While there are several concerts and shows throughout the event, the main draw is a giant carnival which features a float parade (one of the largest in Africa) that navigates through the city streets.
Falconry Festival, El Haouaria
Occurring every year in the coastal town of El Haouaria, the Falconry Festival is definitely one of the most interesting ones for tourists to attend in Tunisia. During the festival, there are several competitions between the falcons and falconers while onlookers watch in awe. More than 200 falconers participate in the event, and there are other accompanying musical shows and cultural exhibitions to attend as well.
International Festival of Hammamet
This summer festival has been running since the 1960s and overlooks the gorgeous Gulf of Hammamet. The festival is centered around music and theatrical performances, including famous acts from Tunisia and around the globe. The 2015 edition featured acts like the New York Gypsy All Stars and Alpha Blondy.
Festival of the Medina, Tunis
Occurring every year during Ramadan, this exciting festival is one of the most anticipated in the country. Throughout the week, visitors can watch musical performances, international movies, and story-telling (a good way to learn about the history of the country).
International Jazz Festival
This festival rotates throughout different cities such as Tabarka and Carthage, giving people throughout the country a way to easily see it. It has been running since 1973 and attracts many popular jazz musicians like Billy Paul and Ahmad Jamal.