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Country Summary for TUNISIA

I.  Relevant Legislation
II.  Regulated Cultural Property

The Archaeological, Historic or Traditional Heritage” means any remains left by previous civilizations or generations, discovered or searched for, on land or at sea, whether they be furnishings, buildings, documents, monuments or manuscripts related to the arts, sciences, beliefs, traditions, daily life or public or other events, dating from prehistoric or historic times, whose national or universal value has been established. (1994 Code, Art. 1)

Cultural Sites” are those bearing witness to the actions of man or joint actions of man and nature, including archaeological sites that demonstrate a national or universal value from the point of view of history, aesthetics, art or tradition. (1994 Code, Art. 2)

Historic Monuments” include immovable property, whether constructed or not, private or within the public domain, whose protection or preservation has a national or universal value from an historic, aesthetic, art or traditional point of view. (1994 Code, Art. 4)

Movable Cultural Property” includes movable cultural objects whose national or international value from a historic, scientific or aesthetic point-of-view has been demonstrated. (1994 Code, Art. 5)


When a historic monument, whether public or private, is in a perilous state or when its occupation or use are incompatible with its protection, it is subject to an order for listing. (1994 Code, Arts. 35 & 37)

The State has the right to expropriate listed Historic Monuments of public interest. (1994 Code, Art. 88)

Any holder of movable or immovable archaeological objects [must] inform the competent services of the Ministry Responsible for the Cultural Heritage so that it can proceed with their protection or classification. (1994 Code, Art. 93)

Movable property may be subject to a Protection Order made by the Minister Responsible for the Cultural Heritage. (1994 Code, Art. 49)

A national map of archaeological sites and Historic Monuments on land and sea has been created for the purpose of drawing up a general inventory of places and buildings that are part of the national cultural heritage. (1992 Decree, Art. 1)

Relevant State Agencies

The Minister Responsible for the National Heritage has instituted a “National Heritage Commission” that is to give its opinion and submit proposals in the following areas:

     - protection and listing of historic monuments;

     - protection of archaeological movable assets; and

     - protection of cultural sites. (1994 Code, Art. 6)


The National Heritage Institute is charged with establishing an inventory of the cultural, archaeological, historical, societal and artistic heritage; studying heritage, preserving and promoting it. (1993 Decree, Art. 3)

The Division of General Inventory and Studies [of the National Heritage Institute] is charged with:

     -establishing the archaeological inventory and the register of cultural property having archaeological, historical, ethnographic and artistic value; and

     -conducting archaeological research, identifying and studying discovered objects. (1993 Decree, Art. 14)

The Division for the Protection of Monuments and Sites [of the National Heritage Institute] is charged with preserving monuments and historical sites, traditional ensembles, archaeological and natural sites from all danger or threat. (1993 Decree, Art. 15)

The Division of Museum Development [of the National Heritage Institute] is charged with:

     -managing museums;

     -inventorying and classifying pieces and collections on exhibit or stored in the reserve collections of museums belonging to the Institute or subject to its control; and

     -protecting historically significant movable assets of a cultural, archaeological, ethnographic, artistic or technical nature from all dangers or threats. (1993 Decree, Art. 16)

III.  Export Restrictions

IV.  Ownership Rights and Restrictions

V.  Violations, Penalties and Sanctions

VI.  International Conventions and Bilateral Agreements
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Country Contact
for Cultural Property
Mohamed Zine El Abidine
Minister of Culture
rue du 2 Mars 1934
la Kasbah
1006 Tunis
Ph: 216 71 563 006
F: 216 71 574 580

Institut National du Patrimoine
04, place du château
+216 71 561 622
+216 71 562 452