The present day Republic of Tunisia, al-Jumhuriyyah at-Tunisiyyah, has over ten million citizens, almost all of Arab-Berber descent. The Mediterranean Sea is to the north and east, Libya to the southeast, and Algeria to the west. Tunis is the capital and the largest city (population over 800,000); it is located near the ancient site of the city of Carthage.Throughout its recorded history, the physical features and environment of the land of Tunisia have remained fairly constant, although during ancient times more abundant forests grew in the north, and earlier in prehistory the Sahara to the south was not an arid desert.The weather is temperate in the north, which enjoys a Mediterranean climate with mild rainy winters and hot dry summers, the terrain being wooded and fertile. The Medjerda river valley (Wadi Majardah, northeast of Tunis) is currently valuable farmland. Along the eastern coast the central plains enjoy a moderate climate with less rainfall but significant precipitation in the form of heavy dews; these coastlands are currently used for orchards and grazing. Near the mountainous Algerian border rises Jebel ech Chambi, the highest point in the country at 1544 meters. In the near south, a belt of salt lakes running east-west cuts across the country. Further south lies the Sahara desert, including the sand dunes of the Grand Erg Oriental.
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