Extending from the luxuriant Mediterranean seacoast to the arid Sahara, Tunisia is a North African Muslim nation that feels strong ties to the Middle East. At one time, Tunisia hosted the headquarters of both the Arab League and the Palestine Liberation Organization. In addition, Tunisia’s official language is Arabic, even though its population is homogeneously Berber, a North African ethnic community whose native language, in Tunisia at least, has become mostly obsolete. (Bilingual Tunisians most commonly speak Arabic and French.) Tourists flock to Tunisia’s sparkling coastal beaches, but seldom stray from Mediterranean resorts to explore the country’s extensive, well-preserved Roman ruins that lie inland. Both inside and outside tourist districts, family-oriented Tunisians welcome visitors who respect their Muslim traditions, even at single-sex bathhouses where Tunisians typically gather to socialize.

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