All You Need to Know About The El Djem Colosseum

The immediate thought when most people come across the term “Colosseum” is Rome. Fortunately, there’s more to life than just this Italian city and if you make the trip to Tunisia, you’ll find one that’s in equally as good condition.

el djem

The El Jem Colosseum is world-renowned, and rightly so. It’s been preserved fantastically well and while its location might almost be questionable, it makes for an excellent day trip.

When we talk about the location-factor, we’re really just suggesting that it’s all a bit random. The area is certainly very pleasant, but it’s quite remote. Few houses exist, and are seemingly replaced by thousands of olive trees. The town itself is now quite focussed around tourism; from the individual sellers who are looking to trade souvenirs to the stores which are doing the very same thing. Large buses pass in and out, while there are two car parks for those that decide to make their own way there. Suffice to say, it does attract the crowds.

The site has just one entrance and for those of you who are looking to reach it as quickly as possible, try and access it via the front. Unfortunately, you will have to venture down a steep 25m slope which can be difficult for those of you who might be wheelchair-bound or have a baby in-tow. Once you do reach the entrance, it’s quite a simple process. If you happen to be a local, it’s completely free, while for everyone else it will cost about 8 dinars.

Of course, for those of you who are already familiar with Tunisian tourism, the costs don’t have to stop there. For example, some people decide to pay 3 dinars to get access to the electronic guide.

Once you have finished with the formalities, be prepared to be enlightened. El Jem is regularly compared with the Colosseum in Rome, and it’s no surprise why. Large parts of it are accessible, and it has been preserved in a manner which means that you can almost feel as though you are stepping back in time and imagining lions and chariots gallivanting by. Back when it was first built, it had a capacity of up to 35,000 spectators. Sure, it’s current state hardly demonstrates this, but you can still sense the size of the colosseums and appreciate the beauty of what was brought to Tunisia.

The vast size of El Jem means that there are plenty of areas to explore for all, regardless of your mobility. With that being said, it is possible to climb to some very high parts of the structure, and this is something that is obviously not going to be practical for those who might have a disability or small children. On the subject of the latter, the site hasn’t specifically been designed for little people, meaning that they really should be accompanied at all times to avoid the risk of falls.

As well as the upper levels of the structure, which often receive the most attention, we should give a special mention to the other areas which can be explored. For example, there is a VIP section, which is still accessible to tourists. Elsewhere, in the centre of the structure, you can venture to the playing surface and absorb everything around you. Sure there aren’t going to be tens of thousands of people dazing at you, but on a popular day you might have thousands of tourists mulling around the structure and this can at least give an insight of what life used to be like for those competing on the centre stage.

Some areas of the structure you just have to look a little more closely at. For example, if you look at the walls in the centre of the arena, you’ll quickly find that they are constructed of marble. It is the small details like this which simply highlight the prestige that surrounds El Jem, and shows just how highly it was regarded back when it was first constructed.

We should also add a small note about how the structure has been preserved. In short, it’s impeccable. Unfortunately, a lot of people do look back and suggest that it could have been even better, had it not been for an altercation between the Turks and Mohammed Bey. This altercation resulted in several walls being blown up, with the stone then being stolen to build surrounding buildings.

 

What is the history of the amphitheatre?

el jem

The fact that EL Jem was the largest ancient stadium, apart from the Colosseum in Rome of course, speaks volumes about its history.

It’s at this point when many people question just why such a large amphitheatre was chosen for Tunisia. Well, if we cast our minds back a couple of thousand years, this was a country that was a big player. Alongside Rome, it was regarded as one of the most dominant places in the world. Carthage in particular was very prominent, and if we turn to the El Jem region this was major because of its olive oil trade. It was based closer to the sea than it is now, and completely independent from Rome and Carthage. This gave it a lot of leverage, and resulted in the amphitheatre heading its way.

It’s understood that the amphitheatre was first talked about in AD230 by a man called Proconsul Gordian. He would incidentally commit suicide in the structure, following his failed rebellion against Emperor Maximus.

It was created to both entertain the public, and enter as a centre for politics. In relation to the former, this meant that it attracted people from afar as the capacity of the arena was significantly higher than the local population. As such, when sporting, civic or judicial functions were held, people travelled from a long way to see them.

One of the most interesting elements of the amphitheatre is the way in which was designed. Those behind it wanted it to reach capacity quickly, whilst also empty quickly. To do this, they created various passages that meant people could quickly find and access exit routes.

 

The Festival of El Jem

el djem festival

On a slightly more modern note, we have to give a mention to the Festival of El Jem. If you happen to be visiting the local area around the time that this is being held, then it is most definitely worth a visit.

In short, it’s all about classical music. Thousands of spectators flock to it every year and it really is a way to celebrate not just the music, but also how the amphitheatre can still be used very well to this day.

 

The fine print

All in all, El Jem is certainly worth a visit if you find yourself in the area. Fortunately, even though it might be located very remotely, it is easily accessed. Most hotels will offer tours that take you to it, while renting a car is easy and will only take an hour from the likes of Sousse or Mahdia.

A slight point should be made on the climate. Depending on the time of year that you visit, it can vary considerably. Due to its open nature, it can either be exceptionally hot or cold, so make sure you take this into account as you pack for the day trip.

El Ghriba Synagogue in Djerba, Tunisia

Djerba has become renowned for its tourism over the years and anyone who does visit this area will most likely be tempted by the El Ghriba Synagogue.

El Ghriba synagogue djerba tunisia

This is regarded as one of the most holy attractions in the whole of Tunisia and is actually the most famous of around twenty synagogues and prayer houses that are based around Djerba.

Past visitors to the synagogue are blown away by its beauty, charm and history. Bearing this in mind, we’ll now take a look at some of the history of the attraction and showcase what it’s all about.

 

What are the beginnings of the synagogue?

Unsurprisingly, there is more than one tradition that attempts to explain the beginnings of El Ghriba Synagogue.

The main one focusses around the establishment of one of the early Jewish settlements on the Island of Djerba. It’s understood that a group from the destroyed First Temple of Jerusalem brought a door and a stone from the alter of the temple in 586 BCE, which contributed to the construction of this synagogue.

There is at least some substance to this tradition, considering the fact that a stone is incorporated into one of the arches of the synagogue which is supposedly from this group of settlers.

Of course, this isn’t the only tradition. Another one suggests that the synagogue was built at some point during the first half of the 19th Century, with the site previously occupying a cabin that housed a beautiful, yet mysterious, young girl who had never been accepted by the locals.

It is suggested that when the girl died in a fire, the Jews of Djerba labelled her as a saint and built the synagogue in her name, where she once resided.

The final tradition is a slightly alternate version of the previous one and again focusses on the same girl. This time it suggests that she was a Jewish refugee who had arrived from Israel, bringing a Torah scroll and stone from the Temple of Jerusalem in the process.

When she arrived at the site, she is said to have died from exhaustion from her travels and the synagogue was therefore built in her memory.

 

How is the synagogue structured?

el griba

History suggests that the synagogue was built at some point during the second period of the 19th Century. While some traditions may suggest otherwise, the state of the site indicates that it previously housed another structure.

There are some historical anecdotes which indicate that something else existed in the early 16th Century. It was at this point that it was apparently destroyed by the Spanish military, only to be re-constructed at some point in the century.

The synagogue is structured like a lot of others in the area; boasting an inner courtyard and rooms which are constructed on arches and columns.

The nearby buildings were once used as accommodation for the pilgrims, with one of these only being erected in the early 1950s.

Other notable comments about the structure of El Ghriba Synagogue are that it doesn’t have an open-air praying hall. This is in stark contrast to a lot of other synagogues in the area, with El Ghriba having two that are both covered.

It’s understood that one of these may have once been an open courtyard which was then converted to a roofed room due to the high volume of people that used it. The two praying halls are linked by three arches.

The number of windows inside El Ghriba used to be significant; with twelve existing as this symbolised the twelve tribes of Israel.

However, if you are to visit the synagogue now, you will now see many more. This is due to recent renovations which have increased the size of the building.

Another interesting fact regarding the construction of El Ghriba is the two rows of columns which divide the main praying hall into three aisles. Quite interestingly, the final column is missing, with some under the belief that it was never constructed. Many believe that this is an act of remembrance in relation to the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem.

 

How is the synagogue managed?

el ghriba djerba

It goes without saying that the synagogue is one of the most important sites in the whole of Tunisia, and is therefore strictly managed.

Since the end of the 19th century, it has been managed by an independent administrative committee. While the upkeep of the synagogue is something that obviously falls within their remit, their main priority is to organize the pilgrimage to El Ghriba. This isn’t just for a religious perspective either; the pilgrimage is a huge source of income and has been for many years.

 

The annual pilgrimage

annual el gheriba djerba

Following on from the above, the annual pilgrimage is something that El Ghriba Synagogue is mainly renowned for. It takes place during Lag Ba’Omer, with the festivities commencing on 14 lyar right the way through to 18 lyar.

The dates are significant for two reasons; the first is that the day of commencement coincides with the death of Rabbi Meir Ba’al HaNess, while the end day is the remembrance day for Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai.

While the pilgrimage will involve visits to numerous prayer houses through the area, the visit to the synagogue is regarded as one of the most crucial parts of the festivities.

 

Tourism and the modern day synagogue

Unfortunately, while the synagogue is a spectacular and undoubtedly holy attraction, it has been through some tough times.

It’s no secret that Djerba’s Jewish community is dwindling and this has resulted in some of the remaining Jews being targeted by locals who have differing religious views.

There was an attack at the Simchat Toah festival in 1985, which resulted in three people being killed. More recently, in 2002, a suicide bomber killed 21 people after driving a gas truck near to the perimeter.

Nevertheless, the synagogue still attracts a healthy number of tourists and is seen as one of the key attractions of Djerba. Many are intrigued to its history and architecture and some will come from all over the world just to see it.

Top 10 Sites You Must See in Tunisia

Over the last few years Tunisia has become one of the more popular tourist destinations featured in travel agents’ brochures.

While the hot climate and impressive array of beaches obviously contribute to this, something else that is luring tourists over is its variety of attractions.

Unlike some destinations, which perhaps only rely on white sands and an enticing nightlife, Tunisia offers attractions targeted towards all eras.

Most of these are spread throughout the nation, meaning that a car is a necessity, although if you do have the time it’s worth cramming in as many as possible into your holiday’s itinerary. Here, we’ll take a look at the top ten sites across the country.

 

Tunis Medina

Medina, Tunis

The Medina in Tunis is one of the more traditional sites – but it’s still very much appropriate for tourists of all types and ages. It’s one of the most historic regions of North Africa and contained within the famous walls is a bustling market, full of local products.

Anyone looking for a souvenir is advised to take a trip to the Medina, although as well as the traditional shopping experience it’s possible to set eyes on a number of monuments including the Zitouna Mosque, Torbet el Bey and Dar Hussein Museum of Islamic Art. Bearing the above in mind, it’s ideal for a day trip – or longer.

 

Sidi Bou Said

sidi bou said

Sidi Bou Said is another attraction classed in the “traditional” category and again something that you wouldn’t find in your typical, popular European holiday destination. This small village is regarded as an area of natural beauty and anyone who appreciates fine architecture is in for a treat and a half.

It’s another attraction which is perfect for souvenirs, although one could suggest that it doesn’t take quite as long to negotiate and the village can be scoured in less than half a day.

 

Bardo Museum

bardo museum

The mosaics on show in the Bardo Museum are some of the most beautiful in the world, with this attraction boasting an international reputation. As well as the mosaics, there are numerous historic sculptures and visitors can browse both paleo-Christian and Islamic offerings.

Again, it’s a traditional attraction, but the quality and history of the works in this museum make it intriguing for anyone who walks through its dated doors.

 

Dougga

dougga

One site that will certainly take longer than half a day is Dougga, which is located deep in rural Tunisia and once again shows some of the country’s history in its proudest form. A theatre, which is understood to have been erected as early as 168 AD is one of its premier attractions, while there is also the Capitoline Temple which is often a tourist favourite.

Arguably the best part of Dougga arrives in the form of the Mausoleum of Ateban though, with this 18m-high monument being topped with a pyramid and lion which makes it great for the camera-happy visitor.

 

El Djem

el djem

Out of all of the sites on our list, El Djem is probably the one that most readers will be familiar with. It’s the attraction that is always covered in those holiday brochures, with the amphitheatre being one of the best preserved in the world. It’s possible to venture around this attraction and walk up as high as the third tier, while there is also an underground area which is still completely in-tact and showcases the various tunnels and dungeons that were once the home of gladiators.

While the amphitheatre rightly grabs a lot of attention, the area’s museum is also worth a visit where it’s again possible to cast your eye over hoards of stunning mosaics. It’s not quite as comprehensive as the Bardo Museum, but if you are in the area it’s still well worth a visit.

 

Kairouan

kairouan mosque

Kairouan is one site which probably isn’t covered enough by travel agents, especially when you consider the fact that it’s regarded as the fourth most important holy city for Muslims. It also happens to hold the much-coveted UNESCO World Heritage Site tag and anyone who likes to wander through a mixture of history and culture is advised to pay a visit.

Kairouan happens to be home of one of the oldest mosques in the country in the form of the Great Mosque of Obka, while it also holds its own Medina which is ideal for those famous Tunisian souvenirs.

 

Matmata & the Ksour

Matmata & the Ksour

There’s every chance that a lot of you will have come across this next site on the list, with scenes from the Star Wars franchise being filmed here. To be more specific, this is seen as Luke Skywalker’s planet, meaning that it attracts thousands of movie buffs on an annual basis.

For those who are not familiar with the franchise, Matmata holds cave-like architecture, with many of the buildings being tucked underground and giving visitors the feeling of stepping back in time by centuries.

 

The Mountain Oasis

oasis tunisia

While the Mountain Oasis do have plenty of historical insight behind them, a lot of visitors take to this site in a bid to observe the picturesque scenery that the region provides.

Waterfalls, palm trees and streams are all the norm here, while you can also cast your eye around some of the abandoned cities from the 1960s that now appear as ruins. For any hiking enthusiasts out there, this is a must-visit region.

 

Mediterranean Beaches

beach tunisia

Even though Tunisia is regarded as one of the more cultural destinations in the brochures, let’s not forget that there are other reasons why holidaymakers are heading out there. The beaches certainly fall into this category and if you can make a trip to either Hammamet or Sousse you will experience some of the most extravagant sands in the continent.

As these regions typically attract the most tourists, it goes without saying that they are awash with plush accommodation and it’s easy to find a hotel within a stone’s throw of one of the mentioned beaches.

 

The Sahara

sahara

If you happen to be staying at any of the hotels which were touched upon in the previous section, you’ll probably be offered a trip to the “premium” destination of The Sahara. If you’re travelling alone on the other hand, make it your priority to head out there.

Once again the Star Wars franchise has donned these famous sands and it’s only recently that the region has opened up to the influx of tourists. Camel rides are naturally the attraction of choice for most visitors, although the activities are becoming more extravagant by the year with off-road jeep rides and under-the-stars sleepovers all being available in the Sahara.

Top 10 Most Popular Attractions in Hammamet

There’s a reason why Hammamet is attracting hordes of tourists every year; it’s a place where the typical visitor will never get bored.

It’s seen as one of the most interesting and entertaining areas to visit in Tunisia, here are ten attractions which you simply must make an effort to visit to reap the most out of the region.

Pictures are courtesy of TripAdvisor.

To check all tours and activites from City Discovery, please click here

 

Citrus Golf Course

Citrus Golf Course hammamet

Take a look at every popular tourist destination in the world and you’ll notice one thing; they are all geared to entice golfing visitors. Hammamet is no different and one of the best facilities in the region is the Citrus Golf Course, which actually contains two separate courses. The first, regarded as the easiest, is Les Oliviers and this is mainly targeted at the high-handicap player who wants to play a course without the pressure of battling around trees and heavy rough. The better players are advised to turn to La Foret, which is much tighter and will punish those wayward hitters with trees and shrubs along the outskirts of the fairways. As well as the main courses, there is a Par 3 9-hole course, two driving ranges and numerous putting greens.

 

Zizou Paintball Club

Zizou Paintball Club hammamet

If we stay on the ‘sporty’ theme, a trip to Zizou Paintball Club could perhaps be on the agenda. This was actually the first paintball field in Hammamet and is probably one of the biggest you will ever venture on. Unlike some paintball clubs, Zizou is perfect for children as well and the welcoming staff makes the experience even more pleasurable.

 

George Sebastian Villa

George Sebastian Villa

Something that’s a little quieter than the above two attractions is an experience at the George Sebastian Villa. Set over 42 acres of land, it would be something of an understatement to say that this is a gigantic building. However, it offers far more than size and as it is now called the International Cultural Centre, it means that visitors get a taste of what life was like for its creator George Sebastian. Despite being almost a decade old, its design is one of the most elaborate you will ever set eyes on and is the perfect attraction to combine history and style.

 

Pupput Roman Site

Pupput Roman Site hammamet

For those tourists who really wish to immerse themselves in history, a trip to the Pupput Roman Site should be in order. It’s understood that the first settlement occurred here as early as 1st Century BC, although it’s naturally quite difficult to decipher any of the remains due to the tests of time. There are suggestions that a theatre and amphitheatre once existed here and while it’s impossible to view any traces of such landmarks, visitors will still see plenty of artefacts that are impressive to say the least.

 

Hammamet Beach

Hammamet Beach

As one would expect from such a popular tourist zone, the beach at Hammemet is completely exotic and well worthy of a visit. The phrase “white sands and crystal clear waters” could not be more appropriate, but fortunately there are extras that can make the experience even more engaging. For example, visitors can pay for camel and horse rides, which are utterly picturesque along the backdrop of Tunisian waters.

 

Yasmin Hammamet

Yasmin Hammamet

Out of all of the attractions listed, this is probably the one which reaches out to the fewest number of tourists. However, it’s well worth a visit and perhaps paints Hammamet in its most modern light. Yasmin is full of upmarket hotels, shops and restaurants – meaning that it’s ideal for a day trip. The marina is also worth a mention and if you can pitch up on one of the restaurants that surround it, you’ll be set for a striking afternoon indeed.

 

Medina of Hammamet

Medina of Hammamet

Medina might not be carved directly to the tourist market – but that’s exactly why it’s a must-visit attraction. It absolutely ram-packed full of traditional shops and locals and this means that you’re certainly not set for your traditional shopping experience. Instead, prepare to haggle, barter and just engage with the local sellers – it’s an experience that will make you smile in the future.

 

Yasmine Golf Course

Yasmine Golf Course

In comparison to Citrus Golf Course, there’s no doubt that Yasmine is slightly smaller in size. It boasts just the one course, although it would be fair to say that it’s hugely challenging, yet still suited to players of most abilities. Funnily enough, it’s another of those attractions in which you’ll also become accustomed to the Tunisian culture, with countless locals hovering on holes looking to sell balls or takeover your bag and act as a caddy. The combination of this and the design of the course makes Yasmine a fantastic experience for the typical golfing enthusiast.

 

Carthageland Hammamet

Carthageland Hammamet

While it doesn’t boast the worldwide reputation of Disneyland, Carthageland is still regarded as a fantastic theme park and can make a great day out for those visiting Hammamet. Naturally, it contains countless rides, shops and restaurants, but the unique selling point about Carthageland is undoubtedly the zoo which allows visitors to set eyes on a whole host of exotic animals. There are also several water rides, for those that want to cool off in the baking sun.

 

Kasbah of Hammamet

Kasbah of Hammamet

The final attraction we’re going to take a look at is primarily a historic site and the fact it is approximately seven hundred years old says everything you need to know about its heritage. However, it also allows visitors to bask in great views, with the Kasbah being perched right beside the sea. This attraction deciphers exactly what remains from the fort of Hammamet but unlike some historical sites that are based in the area, this is one that the authorities have fought tooth and nail to preserve and extensive work has been performed to renovate it.

To check all tours and activites from City Discovery, please click here

hammamet city discovery

Top 10 Archaeological Sites in Tunisia

Tunisia is full exceptional archaeological sites with its Phoenician, Roman, Arab, European and Byzantine heritage. When you are in Tunisia you can combine sun and discovery of the amazing culture. These beautiful ancient treasures will surely be a head turner.

1 – Carthage

The archeological site of Carthage is spread out in what is the present city of Carthage and World Heritage of Unesco since 1979. It was founded in the 9th century BC by Phoenicians. The two Punic points are absolutely stunning along with the impressive remains of the Antonine Baths.

You can really see how this place could come alive these many years ago.

Carthage

 

2 – Bulla Regia

Bulla Regia is located in the northwest of Tunisia and is one of the main stages of cultural tourism in this region. There are over 17 centures of history here and is extended over 60 hectares. There are patrician homes with amazing mosaic pavements which makes this the best example of ancient domestic architecture.

When you are in Bulla Regia you will feel as if you were from this place and were living there with your family. It is amazing to step back in time and enjoy this feeling.

Bulla Regia

 

3 – Kerkouane

Located on the eastern coast of the peninsula of Cap Bon Kerkuane is six kilometers north of Hamman Ghezeze. Here is a city and a necropolis which is listed on the World Heritage list of Unesco. The site has the distinction of being the only example of Punic architecture. It has not changed since later civilizations. This is a great feat since many times tourism will take over and begin to change the look of things.

Kerkouane

 

4 – El Jem

El Jem is located two hours from Tunis ad is a former Roman colony which was used for the production of olive oil. It is also well known for its archeological site where one can admire the Colosseum Thysdrus which was built in the third century. It can hold 35,000 spectators. This makes it one of the largest amphitheatres in the Roman world at 41 meters high.

If you ever wanted to go somewhere to imagine a magnificent fight between the gladiators then this would be a great place for you to go. This location is breath taking and can really allow your imagination to run wild.

El Jem

 

5 – Sbeitla

This is a vestige of ancient Sufetula and is located in west-central Tunisia. There are 20 acres of land here and Sbeitla is renowned for its three temples. These temples were dedicated to Juno, Minerva and Jupiter. There is a theater, a spa complex, churches, triumphal arch and the forts of the Byzantine era.

You can spend all day just looking at the different places which are here. There is so much to see and do when you are in Sbeitla.

Sbeitla

 

6 – Dougga

Dougga is an archaeological site that is located in the delegation Teboursouk which is northworst of Tunisia. This is considered the “small Roman city best preserved of North Africa”. It is 70 hectares and has good conversation pieces in the monuments. It is considered one of the most beautiful ancient sites in the world. When you visit you must be prepared to be awed by its beauty.

Dougga

 

7 – Utica

Utica is located north of present-day Tunisia in the governorate of Bizerte. The remains here usually date back to Roman times. There is the peristyle garden, spa and villas which are decorated with mosaics, temples, walls and ancient tombs which were built into volcanic rock. Step back in time when you are in Utica. This amazing site will have you gasping.

Utica

 

8 – Gigthis

Gigthis is an ancient site which is in the south part of Tunisia. It is in the territory of Medenine and opposite the island of Djerba. It mainly the urban center of the ancient city where you’ll find the Roman Forum and its monuments. There are religious and official buildings as well as the most important which is the Capital building. Feel as if you were a resident there and in the very middle of the life that is being lived.

Gigthis

 

9 – Tubernuc

Tubernuc has the distinction of being preserved even though there has been mass tourism. The remains here date back to the Punic period but you should note that the excavations have revealed public baths and urban fabric which dates back to the first century. Can you imagine being back in Tubernuc time during the Punic period? How fantastic that would be.

Tubernuc

 

10 – Chemtou

Chemtou is located in the northwest of Tunisia. The ruins of Simitthu are attached to the province proconsul of Africa in Roman times. The remains extend over a 1,500 year period. The site offers over 80 acres to discover with temples, baths, an amphitheater, an aqueduct and he housing for the working of the quarry.

Chemtou

 

Conclusion

All of these beautiful places are all at your fingertips to be discovered when you come to Tunisia. You can choose to visit any of them that you would like but always make sure that you make enough time to see all of your favorite places.

With all of the different places that are available for you to see, there is no telling how long you could vacation here and site see. You will have many amazing photographs to share with people as they are excited to hear about your trip and see the beautiful images.

Article Sponsored by Travelbag.

Sousse City Break – 7 Popular Things to Do

By land area Tunisia is the smallest country in North Africa. It’s beautiful and powdery white sand beaches attract many tourists. Sousse is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Tunisia. There are so many different places to see and different things to do that you could spend forever here and not get finished with all of them. You do not have to worry about boredom here.

Let’s now look at 7 popular things to do in a Sousse.

 

1 – Beach Life

If you are a lover of beaches then you are going to love Sousse City. If you want to get a great taste of the beach with the most ease then you can pick one of the on beach hotels. There are many different resorts you can choose from to find the one that is best for your needs. You decide what you want and you will be able to make it work here in Sousse City. It’s preferable to stick to the hotels around Boujaafar beach in the city center.

boujaafar beach sousse

 

2 – Water Park

Do you enjoy water parks? There is plenty of fun to be had at Aqua Palace. This water park has great rates and allows you to have fun with the whole family. Whether you are ready for some excitement or just want to take time to relax. You will find something that is perfect for you when you visit Aqua Palace. The water slides, wave pool and other rides can keep you entertained all day long.

aqua palace sousse

 

3 – Amusement Park

Ready for a little more adventure? There are amusement parks nearby which will allow you to have fun and get out of the resort life. You will be able to find an amusement park a convenient distance away from your location. Sousse City climbing park will allow you to have a good time but also allow you to stretch your muscles and get out and about. This will allow you to feel great about the time you’ve spent. Also you can visit Friguia animal park or Hergula park which are nearby.

climbing park sousse

 

4 – Shopping in the Souks

If you’ve ever had a difficult time making a decision as to what you would like to buy before then you are really in for it when you come to one of the Souks. These beautiful outdoor markets will have your senses tingling as you look at all of the amazing selections. Kids and adults will love this outing. Make sure to bring plenty of money because you will find many things you will want to take home.

souk sousse

 

5 – Enjoy the Nightlife

Who doesn’t enjoy a great night out on the town? You can pick from the wide variety of restaurants and bars available in the city. Enjoy the live music and nightclubs as you dance the night away. Are you feeling lucky? Don’t worry you can check into the casino and see what is happening there. Take a stroll down to the lovely marina if you want to try some fresh fish dishes.

nightlife sousse

 

6 – Ancient Sites

You can visit the 9th century medina which is a Unesco World Heritage site. This is where you will find the Great Mosque, the ancient 8th century fortress as well as the Archeological Museum. If you are up for a maze you can also check out the catacombs which are under the city.

grand mosque

 

7 – Resort to the Resort

Are you done getting out and about? Are you ready for some relaxation? Why not check out some of the amazing services your resort has to offer? You can even book a resort that has a golf course if you are into golfing. Golf is a great stress reliever and you will be able to relax as you are playing through and listening to the beautiful sounds in Sousse.

golf sousse

 

Conclusion

Whether you are a newly wed couple and you want to be able to spend time alone together or if you are a family, you will be able to find something you are able to do together which will allow for a good time. Even single people love to come to Sousse City and enjoy a break. Whoever you are, you will be able to find a place which will fit you here.

 

Also check: Top 10 must-see attractions in sousse video


8 Things One Should Do While in Tunisia

Even though Tunisia is the smallest country in Northern Africa, I think it has the most to offer. There are so many sites to see and adventures to be had; you won’t be scratching your head wondering what to see and do.

Beautiful landscapes which stretch for miles in the city of Douz, offers the opportunity to take a camel ride. Visit the amazing Troglodyte Caves of Matmata, you can have a look how local Tunisians live in these mind-blowing homes which are dug into the ground.

douz

 

Holiday Hypermarket is a great way to organise a memorable holiday; with a comparison tool you can get an idea of the type of holiday you can have. With this ability to determine whether you want a trekking holiday, historical sightseeing, beach resort or a combination of these things, you are better able to pinpoint aspects such as your budget and requirements.

 

If you are interested in visiting ruins and finding out the history behind them, then why not visit Charthage, a Roman metropolis; it is a World Heritage Site located on the outskirts of Tunisia. It is also a fabulous photo opportunity if you are interested historical events and locations.

 

If you enjoy trekking combined with sightseeing, then this is the place to visit. A day-trip to Sidi Bou Said is a beautiful place to visit; the village is awash with blue and white houses. It’s a great place to haggle and buy treasured souvenirs; there are lovely places to sit and have lunch too.

 

Another World Heritage Site is the Holy City of Kairouan; this spiritual place is sacred in that it is known as “the city of 50 mosques”. It is absolutely stunning and will take your breath away. Raiders of the Lost Ark was filmed along these streets; depicting the Great Mosque, built during the 9th century.

 

Chak Wak Park is a great place to learn about historical events and religion. The artwork is outstanding and thought-provoking; the Red Sea and Noahs Ark are striking.

 

The famous Turkish baths of Hammamet are something to remember, take this opportunity to experience being pampered with invigorate massages and cold refreshing showers.

 

The beautiful beaches of Tunisia are ideal for relaxing after taking in the heading sights; the blue waters are crystal clear and inviting.

 

With Tunisia being a secular country, Christians, Catholics, Jewish for example are welcomed. In-fact, on the island of Djerba, you will find many synagogues and the area also dates back thousands of years ago. Tunisia is a friendly place to spend time and with the benefit of using Holiday Hypermarket to sort through the mundane tasks, such as hotel searches, hotels and day-trips all you have to do is look forward to is an amazing time in Tunisia.

A Closer Look at 5 Must See Places in Tunisia

Tunisia has become a popular tourist hotspot in recent years. The country, located in the north of Africa on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, has become famous for its mile long sandy beaches, historic ruins and exquisite cuisine.

This article will take a closer a look at 5 must see places in Tunisia.

Sahara

 

1 – Tunis

Tunis, the capital city of Tunisia, can be found towards the north-eastern part of Tunisia by the Mediterranean Sea. With a population of only 700,000 people, Tunis is one of the smallest capital cities in the world.

The city is separated into two distinct parts – the old city, known as the Medina, and the new city, a modern city built on the outskirts of the Medina.

The Medina is the perfect location to go for a relaxing stroll and see the sights. It is full of mosques and ancient buildings that feature a unique blend of Mediterranean, African and Arabian architectural styles.

The Medina is also home to one of the largest markets in North Africa. A variety of different goods are available to purchase here, including rich silks, jewellery, perfumes, clothing, and more.

tunis

 

2 – Sidi Bou Said

Sidi Bou Said, a small village located 20km from Tunis, is one of the most picturesque villages in the world.

The village is packed full of tall, stone buildings with whitewashed walls and blue windows shades that stand out against the deep blue of the sky overhead. The village sits on a steep hill, too, with stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea and the Bay of Tunis available at the top.

Exploring Sidi Bou Said is a treat. The village’s charm is infectious and its atmosphere is welcoming. Its unique architectural stylings are sure to leave a lasting impression, too.

Sidi Bou Said

 

3 – Dougga

Dougga is an ancient Roman city located in the north of Tunisia.

The city, over 2000 years old, is remarkably well preserved. Temples, statues, buildings and monuments stand tall, many of them as impressive today as the day they were built.

UNESCO classified Dougga as a ‘World Heritage Site’ in 1997, stating that it is the best preserved Roman city in North Africa. The city is a must see for lovers of history and culture.

Dougga

 

4 – El Djem Amphitheater

The Tunisian city of El Djem is home to the El Djem Amphitheater, the largest Roman amphitheater in North Africa. During the 3rd century, 30,000 Roman spectators would sit in the amphitheater enjoying plays, chariot races, athletic events and gladiator fights.

Despite being over 1,700 years old, the El Djem Amphitheater is incredibly well preserved. Visitors are able to explore the amphitheaters tall walls as well as its labyrinth of underground tunnels.

A small museum can be found close to the amphitheater, too, with some of the best pieces of Tunisian art available for browsing.

El Jem

 

5 – Holy city of Kairouan

Kairouan is the fourth most important holy city in the Muslim world after Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem. The city is full of ancient buildings and mosques as well as museums that teach the history of Islam over the ages.

The greatest sight in the city is the ‘Great Mosque of Sidi Oqba’, one of the largest mosques in the world. Built in 670AD, the mosque is stunning to behold. The outer walls are plainly styled while the insides are bestowed with lavish carpets and furnishings. A large museum filled with Islamic works of art can be found inside, too.

Kairouan is the perfect city to go for a relaxing stroll and see the sights. With over 50 mosques and dozens of ancient buildings, there’s something to see on every street.

kairouan

 

Conclusion

Tunisia is quickly becoming one of the most popular tourist destinations in Africa, and it’s easy to see why. The city is filled with dozens of must see sights, of which the 5 listed above are amongst the best. Make sure to include them on the itinerary for any trip to Tunisia.

Star Wars Sets Location in Tunisia

Star Wars was truly a classic movie series. It is rare to find someone over the age of 20 who has not seen the original Star Wars movies. It was one of the most successful series ever, and viewers enjoyed being taken to a galaxy far, far away, where everything was different. But in order to film Star Wars, the producers had to work with what they were given in this particular galaxy, as space travel for the purpose of filming a movie was not a financially viable option at the time.

As a result, several locations around the world look just a little too familiar to hardcore Star Wars fans. Though many different areas and landscapes were used to film Star Wars, much of the filming took place in Tunisia. Tunisia’s climate is dry and warm, which made it a perfect setting for the fictional planet Tatooine.

star wars tunisia
Star Wars fans will be happy to learn that they can visit the filming locations of Star Wars, scattered throughout the nation of Tunisia. If you allow yourself to get lost in the ambience of the area, it’s not too difficult to imagine that you are really on Tatooine.

One of the most popular filming locations in Tunisia is the site of Luke Skywalker’s home. Today, the building operates as a hotel. In order to attract tourism and ultimately bring in more foreign money, many Tunisian people have decorated the film sites with Star Wars memorabilia. If you are a Star Wars fan, and are willing to take a trip to Tatooine – oops – Tunisia, then read the rest of this article.

Hint: you can use the information in this article on Google Maps to see the Star Wars locations without having to travel there. Plus you can map it to see how to get there.

 

Matmata

Lars homestead interior

Lat/Long coordinates 33.54253,9.967341

For true Star Wars fans, this is the main attraction. Any fan would absolutely love to see the interior of the Lar’s homestead, but when they find out they can actually sleep there, they are happy as can be. The hotel, Sidi Driss, caters to fans by offering a Star Wars inspired menu, as well as a good selection of memorabilia from the movies.

 

Lars homestead interior
Lars homestead interior – Matmata (Photo by Jean-Marc Matthey)

 

Medenine

Anakin Skywalker’s home

Lat/Long coordinates 33.347272,10.492051

Tunisia is not a densly populated place, and there are only a few large cities. One of these cities is Medenine, which is considered the largest town in the southeastern region of Tunisia. Another granary, Ksar Madenine, was used in the Star Was films as Anakin Skywalker’s home.

 

Skywalker Alley - Medenine
Skywalker Alley – Medenine (Photo by Bernard Gagnon)

 

Tataouine

Ksar ouled soltane

Lat/Long coordinates 32.788361,10.514989

If you’re wondering why the name Tataouine sounds so familiar, it’s because that’s where the fictional planet Tatooine got its namesake from! Although the town name played a key role in the movie, no shots were actually filmed there. Several shots were filmed in the surrounding areas/outskirts of the town, however. The main scene was from Episode I and featured a background shot of the local Ghorfa (grain storage building) located in Ksar Ouled Soltane, used in the movie as the Slave Quarters.

 

Ksar Ouled Soltane
Ksar Ouled Soltane – Tataouine (Photo by Michael)

 

Tozeur

Located north west of Chott el-Djerid, Tozeur is a Tunisian oasis. This beautiful city is well shaded with thousands of palm trees, and is a popular tourist attraction. Within walking distance from the Sahara desert, Toezeur was the perfect place to film many Star Wars movie scenes.

Lars Homestead Exterior

Lat/Long coordinates 33.842823, 7.779038

While not located directly in Toezeur, the site of the Lar’s Homestead is close enough to the city to make a day trip to. Specifically, the site is located at Chott El Jerid, which is part of the salt lake flats, that stretch 5,000 km through Tunisia and parts of Algeria. In this environment, Luke’s home sticks out like a sore thumb – an igloo in the middle of a salt flat. This location of Luke’s house was only used for the exterior shots. There is no underground house here, although the crew dug craters near the house, to give the impression that there is more to the site than meets the eye.
This site should ideally be visited in the evening. As the sun sets, you can view an unbelievable sunset, with the profile of the little igloo the only building in site. This igloo has a lot of meaning for Star Wars fans. It was used a lot in the original trilogy, and was then destroyed. However, the producers realized that they needed it to film the newer movies, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. In Attack of the Clones, the funeral for Shmi Skywalker was held at the little igloo near Toezeur, and in Revenge of the Sith, the igloo made an appearance in the very last scene of the film.

 

Lars Homestead exterior
Lars Homestead exterior – Tozeur (Photo by Hoylen Sue)

 

Mos Espa

Lat/Long coordinates 33.994296,7.842677

Standing out like a sore thumb in the middle of the dessert is the set of Mos Espa. Many scenes in the Star Wars series were filmed at this location. The cool thing about this location is that almost everything has been left intact over the years. Most settings, like the Pod Racing area, the gates of Mos Espa, Watto’s shop, and many others, still contain many of the original props used in the movies. The Tunisian people have, for the most part, no knowledge of Star Wars, but they know that these locations keep the tourism money flowing, so they leave the sets intact.
If you remember the epic Jedi duel in episode I between Darth Maul and Qui-Gon Jin, you might recognize the mountains of sandstone located a few hundred meters from the set of Mos Espa. These protruding pieces of sandstone are called Yardangs, and are easily visible from most of the Mos Espa set.

 

The Mos Espa set
The Mos Espa set – Tozeur (Photo by Srdjan Djordjevic)

Sith infiltrator landing site (Oung Jmel)

Lat/Long coordinates 34.015353,7.911444

Oung Jmel, better known to most as the Camel Head Rock, is located about 6km east of the set of Mos Espa. In the newer Star Wars movies, this setting was used to film Darth Maul arriving on Tatooine. This is where the Sith Probes were released, and it is also where the shot of Darth Maul flying over the cliffs in pursuit of Anakin and Qui-Gonn was filmed.

 

Sith infiltrator landing site
Sith infiltrator landing site – Tozeur (Photo by Jennifer)

 

Juntland Wastes

Lat/Long coordinates 34.033572,8.281771

Sidi Bouhel, otherwise known as the Juntland Wastes, is located 23km north-east of Tozeur. Amazingly, this canyon was used in 9 shots in the Star Wars movies. The same canyon has been used to film The English Patient and Raiders of the Lost Ark, as well, but Lucasfilm used it the most, unnofficially dubbing it “Star Wars Canyon”.
The canyon itself is beautiful, even if you’re not a Star Wars fan. It is a narrow gorge with 200 foot cliffs, and a dry river bed running down the middle, all the way from Jebel Krefane. The gorge is significant in the movies, as this is the location that Luke is attacked by Tusken Raiders, and is then saved by Obi-Wan, and introduced to him for the first time. At the front canyon entrance, you might notice a familiar setting: the Sandcrawler parking lot. And just a bit further outside the mouth of the canyon, you’ll recognize the location of the Jawa massacre, committed by Imperial Stormtroopers.

 

Star Wars Canyon
Star Wars Canyon – Tozeur (Photo by Roger Noguera Arnau)

 

Djerba

Djerba is an island in the Gulf of Gabes, off the coast of Tunisia. It is a popular tourist destination because of its sandy beaches, resorts, and beautiful hotels. It also boasts 2 Star Wars filming locations, both on the western side of Djerba.

Ben’s Hermitage

Lat/Long coordinates 33.740833,10.734951

Making its first and only appearance in Episode IV, Ben’s Hermitage (the house of Obi-Wan Kenobi) is one of the attractions on Djerba. Today, the building is used as a storage facility for local fishermen.

 

Ben’s hermitage
Ben’s hermitage – Djerba (Photo by Hoylen Sue)

 

Toshi Station

Lat/Long coordinates 33.831411,10.747936

Located a few miles north of Ben’s Hermitage is the Tunisian temple, Sidi Jemour. In the Star Wars movies, this buildingwas seen as Toshi Station in Anchorhead. The only shot of this building happens when a Landspeeder heads into Anchorhead, en route for Mos Eisley.

 

Toshi Station in Anchorhead
Toshi Station in Anchorhead – Djerba (Photo by eckart1)

 

Tunisia

As a nation, Tunisia is a beautiful place. Though it appeals to Star Wars fans in a special way, there is plenty to see here for anyone, even if you don’t like the movies. One of the best ways to explore Tunisia is to simply rent a car and start driving in a chosen direction. If you’re looking for an affordable, fun vacation, consider Tunisia today!