Tunis Souvenirs: 15 Authentic Tunisian Products for Avid Traveler
1. Handmade Ceramic Plates
The ceramic plates from these regions are 100% made and decorated by hand, using rich colors and traditional motifs inspired by the Islamic tradition, based on geometric forms, foliate shapes (arabesque style) and some figural representations of both fantastic and real animals. In some way, it replicates the antique pottery discovered during the excavation of Roman, Punic and Islamic ruins. The artisans, producing these items, apply a great deal of passion and dexterity.
Needless to say that a handmade gift, such as this, will not only add an exotic ambiance to any interior, but will also provide great decoration to the food served in it, being colorful and lead-free.
These magnificent articles are available in various designs and sizes, and can be found in the outskirts of the Medina Arbi, in downtown Tunis, where shops and stalls stay open until about 7pm. The price ranges between $13 and $35 apiece.
21, Rue Jerusalem
2037 Ariana, Tunisie
Phone +(216)55 786 675/+(216) 71 717 236
2. Handmade Chess Set
Appreciate the fine workmanship that went into carving of each square on the board and each individual game figure! A handy feature are the two little drawers on the opposite ends of the board, useful for the times when the game stretches on for days and no one wants to lose their opponents' pieces already won.
Further to being a game board, it can also be used as a small table that can be dismantled into three parts (base, stand and top) for easy storing. As for the maintenance, it is only limited to the occasional rinse of the wood with olive oil.
Rue Saltnia km6 Sfax 3011, Tunisia
Phone : +216-20-255-440 - Fax : 00216-31-140-030
3. Soft Leather Luxe Pouf
Why on Earth they started calling them 'poufs' is something of a mystery; perhaps, it had something to do with the eighteenth century French pouf hairstyle, popularized by Marie Antoinette.
The poufs are easily combined with both modern and classic sofas, and make the home comfy and cozy without any detriment to functionality. In fact, you can put them almost anywhere in your home and they won't take much space. Can use them as an extension to your bed, or put them near a window or fireplace, or add a nice touch to your children’s room. They are just as comfortable as seats for watching the movies.
The poufs come in a variety of styles and sizes. A soft leather luxe pouf bean bag is easy to look after - simply wipe it with a damp cloth and that's it. Like most of high-quality leather goods, these tend to look only better with age. Take good care of your poufs and, sure enough, you'll be handing them down to the next generation of your family.
Starting price $19.
Open from 8am to 6pm
4 RUE DE LA PRODUCTION,
2037 ARIANA TUNISIE
4. Balgha Slippers
Although part of a traditional Tunisian dress, the demand for Balgha has been on the rise lately, prompting the appearance of new styles for both men and women.
Tunisian Balgha is well-known for its sturdiness. You will be pleased by the suppleness of its leather. The Balgha slipper is equally suitable for both, indoor and outdoor wear.
It is highly durable and comfortable, and can last for many years. After a day out on heels, Balgha will make you feel like walking on air. Pure bliss! Very easy to pack and light to carry.
Tunisian craft shops, located in the souks of the Medina of Tunis, are among the most beautiful and richest medinas of the Islamic world. There, shoppers can find the Balgha of his/her choice from a variety of styles, offered for as little as $21 a pair.
Open 7 days a week from 8am to 7pm.
9, Rue Djamaa Ezzitouna
5. Silver Gift Articles
Tunisian silverwork is undoubtedly the richest of the local crafts, in terms of tradition. In large part, this is due to the influence of many cultures it has been subjected to over the centuries - Tunisian, North African, Roman, - resulting in highly diversified designs, distinctly reflecting each of the many regions of this relatively small country.
Unlike jewelry that evolves and loses its symbolic value, Tunisian silverware may lose its function, but retains the same passion it had on day one of its creation, manifested in the numerous pieces of luxury, trinkets and accessories, much liked by the customers seeking to use them for furnishing and decorating their interiors.
Particularly notable of these are the toiletries: censers (Mabkhara), combs, caskets (Kanawita), mirrors, and more. The art of filigree, a technique using welded wire of precious metals, acquired its reputation thanks to the skill and talent of a number of local craftsmen excelled in this trade. Nowadays, alongside traditional articles made in this technique, such as incense burners, sprayers, compacts, combs, jewelry boxes and others, there are even pieces of furniture (consoles, mirrors, chairs), photo frames and many other things of various sizes to be found.
Small-size silver articles are available for sale all over the country, including any major hotel in Tunis city. Otherwise, one can explore the souks of Medina for a wider choice and, perhaps, somewhat better prices.
Maison de l'artisanat Atelier N°3,
Av. l'indépendance 2011 Denden
Open daily 9am to 6pm
Tél : (+216) 71.610.919
6. Hand-Painted Tajine
Other than being a unique piece of art, tajine adds a great deal of taste to the meal, especially if you're not entirely satisfied with the food made in a tin or other metal pot. If you're passionate about what you eat and like cooking yourself, then trying the food prepared in a traditional clay tajine will surely make your day and win you extra points with the family and friends with whom you share the meal.
The base of tajine is both a cooking and serving dish. It is quite heavy, and made so deliberately to withstand constant use, as well as to hold heat longer. The cover is shaped like a funnel in order to act like an oven or a closed chimney. Totally sealed at the top, it keeps the heat and moisture inside, whilst cooking, thus rendering the food more flavorful and healthier. The extended bulb at the top stays cooler, and is used as a handle.
3, Avenue Farhat Hached
7. Handmade Bag/Couffa
With well-chosen colors and hand-made charm, these baskets can make a nice addition to your attire, assuring maximum comfort and ergonomics for your hands and arms. Inside the basket, or handbag for that matter, there are glossed pockets to hold your personal papers, notes or other important stuff.
These handmade bags make for excellent gifts, although most customers tend to keep a basket or two for themselves! All made of natural materials – palm leaf, reed, raffia and elephant grass, the bags are 100% recyclable and use biodegradable bubble wrap with recyclable brown paper. The tape is water-based acrylic adhesive which is also better for the environment.
The Couffa is found in most every household across Tunisia. To find the best of the best option, go to Art de Tunisie. You can also order online, if that is more suitable for you.
Price: $15 and up
185 Rue de Palestine ,
Hammam-lif 2050 Tunisie
Tél : 00216 97 33 49 72
Open Daily 9am-7pm
8. Tunisian Darbuka
Darbuka has a hollow, goblet-shaped body and is 33cm high, with three different diameters ending in a large bulge with a slightly rounded rim, covered with goat skin. Cotton threads hold the skin on the top of the instrument. The instrument itself is played horizontally with the membrane head facing forward on the thigh under the left or right arm.
If you get a chance to visit the Souk of the Medina in Tunis while seeking out a gift for a friend, wrapping up a Darbuka might be a good idea. For just $55, you can get a decent piece; and if you bring it to $350 - a professional one.
Specialiste en tous produits artisanaux Tunisien
Open 7 days a week from 8am to 7pm.
9,Rue Djamaa Ezzitouna
Tel: +216 71.328.902
The carpets of Kairouan are entirely handmade, starting with the shearing of the sheep, progressing through the selection and washing of the wools, spinning of the thread, and ending with the weaving and knotting of the carpets themselves. Furthermore, the creativity and artistic talent of Kairouanese artisans continue to improve on the basic designs through experimentation with an infinite variety of patterns and colors, often producing new masterpieces of harmony and elegance.
With a good reason to be proud of the excellent quality of their carpets, Tapis la Tunisie (Tunisian Carpets) has established an extremely rigorous system of quality control, and only those carpets that satisfy the high standards of the board are blessed with the coveted tag that reads “First Choice” (premier choix), delivered by the Tunisian National Office of Artisans. The tag is found on the underside of the carpet, and also describes the exact quality, texture, measurements, type, and production date of the carpet. This is a guarantee of excellence to the buyer.
Price: $600 and up
10. Handmade Bird Cage
These decorative bird cages and bird playpens are a great way to not only provide a safe, healthy living quarters for your feathery friend, but it also gives you the opportunity to match stainless steel bird cages to your kitchen decor, wood bird cages to your living room or a hanging outdoor bird cages to your patio furniture. You can also find an impressive selection of cheap bird cage accessories, such as bird cage stands, perches and in-cage bird playgrounds. These are the types of novelty birdcage items you can place in the cage or rotate out, when cleaning the cage, to keep the environment new.
Since a trip to Tunisia must include a visit to Sidi Bou Said, stopping at the Samouda shop presents no problem. It is just before the Magazin General, down a short staircase which leads directly into the courtyard. You'll find Mr. Samouda there any time, for, as one of his sons remarks, "My father is always working, never a break, never a holiday, he can't go out."
Open from 9am to 8pm
5 Avenue Habib Bourguiba
2026 Sidi Bou Said
Tel : +216 71 74 08 30
11. Massage Oil/Bath Salts
Massage Oils are applied easily to the skin for a light, even glide and smooth workability. Pure cold-pressed oils are ideal for therapists looking for natural products.
As of the Bath salts, they are a simple and delightful way to add valuable trace minerals to the bathwater, softening the water and gently cleansing the skin. These bath salts are handcrafted with the finest of natural ingredients and pure essential oils employing the healing benefits of botanicals and aromatherapy with each bath. So give yourself the same heavenly feel with a relaxing soak at home by adding handcrafted aromatherapy bath salts to your bath and then feel how soft your skin would be.
In a warm and friendly atmosphere, and with customized counseling, "Le Palais de l'Artisan" offers day or night creams with essential oils, massage oils, bath salts, clay masks, perfumes, body lotions, natural soap, etc... All these products, designed by the establishment, are certified organic.
Adresse: Siège Social : 5,Avenue Hafedhe Ibrahim
Cité la Gazelle - 2080 - Ariana - Tunis.
Boutique : Centre X, 3ème étage.
Open from 9am to 7pm
Tel.: 71 86 68 08 / 71 87 79 10
GSM: 23 01 44 44
The traditional male costume also has to it some regional specifications, generally referring at the Arab ancestral origins. Kaddroun, the blouse, and the Bden are still worn, especially in rural parts of the country, but it is the Jebba that is considered most typical Tunisian dress for men, nowadays mostly used as a ceremonial garment. The traditional costume also remains a great source of inspiration for modern clothes. The fabric of the jebba varies, according to seasons, and includes tease, silk, cloth (melf), flax (quamraya), and mixes silk and teases (mqârdech).
The price can start from $50 and go up to $1000.
Tourists, who see Chechia as an excellent exotic souvenir, can hardly imagine the amount of hard work that goes into making it. The process first involves creation of "kabbous", bonnets made by women of worsted, knitted wool. These bonnets are then sent to pressing, where they sink them in hot water and soap, and then men press them with their feet for a long time, so as to soften the fabric, until the stitches of knitting disappear.
More and more young Tunisians rediscover red woolen Chechias these days. Traditionally worn only by men, certain Chechias are now designed even for women as a part of evening dress or holiday accessory.
Chechias occupy three whole sections of the Medina market in Tunis; some of the souks (bazaars), e.g. Ech-Chaouachine, specializing in Tunisian handicrafts, present Chechias in the final stage of their manufacture-to-retail process.
Open from 9am to 7pm
187 bis rue La Kasba
14. Rob Date Syrup
The Rob syrup is scientifically proven as reducing Cholesterol, preventing atherosclerosis, as well as beneficial for those suffering anemia, asthenia and anorexia. It is also good a remedy against nail fragility, hair loss, dry skin, lip cracks and eye tiredness. The product is even suitable for those on a diet and diabetics (if moderately consumed).
The date molasses can be taken either as spread on bread or mixed with drinks (cold and hot, e.g. tea) as a sweetener, as well as used as stuffing for pancakes or addition to creams, cacao and nuts for making chocolate. Since milk is poor in iron and magnesium, mixing it with the Rob syrup makes it a good aliment suitable for all ages.
Price: $2 a jar
STE DE CONDITIONNEMENT MARZOUGUI DATTES
32, R. Garibaldi
1001, TUNIS REPUBLIQUE TUNIS
Tél: +216 71965161/ +216 71345491
15. Amber Jewelry
The rock-hardened resin from pine trees, amber is highly valued for its natural beauty. The inclusions found in amber are pretty much what makes it most interesting. Once a liquid, amber has all sorts of things stuck in it, from lichen and pine needles to insects and even reptiles. So who knows, the pendant around your neck or the bangle on your wrist may well contain a Dinosaur DNA!
Unlike most of amber jewelry, Tunisian pieces are fairly affordable and look good on both, women and men. Palais de l'Artisan offers a rich collection of amber items, boasting wealth of designs and audacity of mixtures that give each article a unique touch, fit to become, eventually, an integral part of the owner's personality.
2036 ARIANA Tunisie
Tél : + 216 71 863 978 : : Fax : + 216 71 765 428
Other Interesting Souvenirs from Tunisia
If traveling to Tunisia is not an option for you right now, or you simply can't afford extra space in your luggage, fortunately, these days, you can find a wide selection of authentic and truly interesting Tunisian souvenirs online. Presented here are some of the top Tunisian products sought by foreign visitors, now available online for your convenience.
2. Foutas - Traditional towels used in hammam (Mid Eastern Spa); also useful as a simple towel, wrap, shawl, throw, sarong, tablecloth, or any sort of blanket. Hand-woven out of cotton or linen on a traditional loom (with hand-rolled fringes). Foutas are very absorbent, machine washable and fast drying, even in low temperatures, becoming softer and more absorbent with each wash. Lightweight and easy to roll for packing/travel. Exquisitely stylish yet highly practical, Fouta is an ideal multipurpose gift.
3. Harissa - Hot, aromatic paste made of chili and assorted spices and herbs (sun-dried hot peppers, garlic, coriander, caraway, and salt). Harissa is widely used in the Tunisian cuisine to flavor stews, soups or couscous (if mixed up with water or tomato juice), or as a dip for bread (usually served in a pool of olive oil). May also be used to add spice to mayonnaise and sauces.
4. Olive Soap - Artisan-made by master soap-makers of Tunisia, using ancient recipes, from 100% pure olive and bay laurel oils which are non-irritating and gentle to skin. Free from any chemicals, artificial preservatives, or coloring - ideal for sensitive skin and children.
Tunis Walking Tours
Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.8 km
Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.0 km
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.4 km