The medina (souq) marketplace is the ancient core of Tunis, since the 7th century. Narrow alleyways are lined with hundreds of tiny shops and stalls selling everything from ladies underwear to sweet pastries. Every corner is a different scene, from pizza bakeries to cafes with hookah pipes for rent. Its crowded, colorful and noisy. The main mosque is Zaytouna that dates from the 8th century. Some of the mosque’s columns were taken from the ruins of nearby Carthage, not an easy task since a single column weighs several tons. During the French occupation of Tunisia in the 19-20th centuries the city grew far beyond the medina and is now a modern city of 2.5 million people.