It might mainly be renowned for its weather, beaches and fantastic history, but let’s not forget that Tunisia has even more to offer if you delve deeper into the country.
We’re talking about summer events, or specifically all of festivals that are on offer in the country. They might not all be world-renowned, but to ignore them would be a huge disservice.
While there are many to choose from, we’ll now take a look at the five which are seen as the best in the country.
Dougga International Festival
Home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site – you could argue that this alone makes Dougga worthy of a visit. However, the International Festival is also hugely renowned and when you consider the fact that the preserved theatre can hold up to 3,500 people, it can make the atmosphere electric.
In fact, despite thousands of years passing by, the acoustics of the arena have stayed very much in place and can make a visit here absolutely unforgettable.
Unlike some festivals, which may solely concentrate on music, the Dougga International Festival has a range of entertainment. Both classical music and theatrical events are probably at the top of the schedule and will provide you with an experience that is unparalleled anywhere around the world.
Furthermore, this isn’t an event which takes place over just the one day. Taking place between 15 July and 5 August, this is a festival which goes on for weeks and fully captivates the region’s attention.
International Festival of Hammamet
This is another festival which takes place over several weeks; five to be precise.
It has actually been ongoing since 1965, when the Tunisian Ministry of Culture decided that more needed to be done to encourage international acts to come to Tunisia and promote the local culture.
Suffice to say, the event has grown tremendously since its debut all of those years ago. It is still held at the same venue of the International Culture Center, which is hugely significant when you consider the fantastic ocean views that the structure offers.
It would be fair to say that the International Festival of Hammamet is one of the most varied festivals around and whether you’re into comedy, dance, music or theatre, there will be something to suit your taste.
Additionally, this is an event which has traditionally attracted some of the biggest names in world entertainment. We’re talking about the likes of Milow and Candy Dulfer; acts which have dominated their niche for years.
While Djerba is always a popular destination, there’s no doubt that visitor numbers soar during the Ulysses Festival. Running for just over a week between 17 and 25 July, it’s certainly not as long as some of the other festivals we have cast our eye on. Nevertheless, the reputation that the Ulysses Festival has is second to none and it attracts countless visitors from around the world.
The big difference between this and most of the other festivals is that it aims to promote Tunisian heritage – rather than rely on international acts.
Unsurprisingly, it shares ties with Ulysses, who happened to once visit the island. Again, variety is the key here and rather than just relying on one form of entertainment, the festival taps into music, theatre, dance, film and even street festivals.
The festival is even expanding to offer entertainment targeted at children. For the 2016 edition, organizers have included a schedule which includes a sailing competition and various sea games, with the aim being that they can raise the environmental awareness of the young people in the area.
Tabarka Jazz Festival
All of the summer events we have looked at so far have been held at some of the larger tourist destinations. It would be fair to say that this next suggestion differs somewhat, with the Tabarka Jazz Festival unsurprisingly being held in the smaller region of Tabarka.
Not only that, but as the name suggests, this is a festival that is targeted towards jazz. As such, it’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but having been around since the 1970s it certainly has made an impression on the country and is almightily popular.
The interesting part about this festival is that it hasn’t survived every year since its initial debut. Due to financial troubles in the country, the festival was dropped for several years, yet its popularity has always shone through and it has managed to return stronger than ever.
This is one event where the organizers really do tap into international talent. While plenty of local artists do make an appearance, they are alongside the likes of Tracy Chapman and Norah Jones who obviously pull in huge crowds from all over the world.
Once again, this is a festival that spans a significant length of time and can be experienced between 7 July and 16 August.
International Festival of Bizerte
With Bizerte being the oldest city in Tunisia, it stands to reason that it hosts an international festival that again attracts visitors from far and wide.
There’s no doubt that this festival is the most unique out of the five discussed on the page. While most of the others may have concentrated on dance, music and theatre, the International Festival of Bizerte allows visitors to sample everything from local cuisine to roundtable talks.
There are also themed seminars and the odd performance – but this is certainly a festival which goes against the “normal” gain.
If you are looking for something which portrays Tunisian life, the International Festival of Bizerte is something which will tick all of the boxes.
While it may have “international” in the name, it could be said that this actually describes the visitors rather than the acts. In other words, there are no big-name international artists here – everything demonstrated is to show what life and culture is like in Tunisia, or specifically Bizerte.
Visitors again have a wide window to visit this festival, with the event running between 14 July and 17 August.
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