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Tunis's position on the Mediterranean Sea helped to clinch its status as a cultural melting pot and a gateway to the country. The first thing visitors notice, besides its infectious energy and chaotic surge of people and traffic, is Tunis's cosmopolitan—and sometimes bewildering—mix of East and West. The city is rich with historical interest, and once past its nondescript modern facade you'll find plenty of local character and historical attractions. Get lost in the tumult and clutter of the medina's labyrinthine streets, where vendors hawk everything from rugs to slippers, then savor a sweet mint tea and pastry in one of the many miniscule cafés. Just outside the city, the magnificent ruins of Carthage are the most important and extensive vestiges of the ancient Carthaginian civilization.

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