Tunis is the capital of Tunisia. It is Tunisia's largest city, with a population of 651,183 as of 2013. The greater metropolitan area holds some 2,300,000 inhabitants.Situated on a large Mediterranean Sea gulf, behind the Lake of Tunis and the port of La Goulette, the city extends along the coastal plain and the hills that surround it. At the centre of more modern development lies the old medina. Beyond this district lie the suburbs of Carthage, La Marsa, and Sidi Bou Said.The medina is found at the centre of the city: a dense agglomeration of alleys and covered passages, full of intense scents and colours, boisterous and active trade, and a surfeit of goods on offer ranging from leather to plastic, tin to the finest filigree, tourist souvenirs to the works of tiny crafts shops.Just through the Sea Gate begins the modern city, or Ville Nouvelle, transversed by the grand Avenue Habib Bourguiba, where the colonial-era buildings provide a clear contrast to smaller, older structures. As the capital city of the country, Tunis is the focus of Tunisian political and administrative life; it is also the centre of the country's commercial activity. The expansion of the Tunisian economy in recent decades is reflected in the booming development of the outer city where one can see clearly the social challenges brought about by rapid modernization in Tunisia.