At the heart of Tunis is its historical Medina; today a vibrant settlement of around 100 ha where a population of over 100,000 inhabitants resides. Throughout history, the Medina was capital to several influential dynasties and has played an important religious, administrative, political and economic role. Founded in the 8th Century AD, it is one of the first Arab-Muslim towns of the Maghreb and was considered under the Almohad and the Hafsid dynasties (from the 12th to the 16th century) as one of the greatest and wealthiest cities in the Arab world.
The Medina of Tunis makes up a unique ensemble of souqs, urban fabric, residential quarters, monuments and gates and is listed by UNESCO as World Heritage site.
Once boasting with energy, the Medina of Tunis -similarly to other historical sites in the Mediterranean- has been experiencing economic and social decline in recent decades. The wellbeing of its physical infrastructure, cultural life and socio-economic engines has been negatively affected due to a drastic change in its social fabric (rural exodus…etc), to globalization affecting its artisanal craft economy, to geopolitical pressures and much more.
Despite this, the Medina continues to be rich with educational structures, a great craft and commercial network and important cultural and touristic facilities. It exemplifies a unique interaction between architecture, urbanism and socio-cultural and economic dynamics. Indeed, the culture and heritage of the Medina continue to be its great assets and are increasingly inspiring young entrepreneurs to create innovative ventures to contribute to its sustainable development.