- What to see and Do
Sidi Bou Said or Arabic Santorini as many visitors still call it is, according to many, the most beautiful place in Tunisia. This charming town is located in the north of the country on a high gorge with a beautiful view of Carthage and the Gulf of Tunisia and is only 20 km away from the capital of Tunisia.
The city was founded in the 12th century and has preserved traditional architecture. Blue and white houses painted with plaster with detailed blue doors and window panes made of blue wrought iron have accustomed many artists who have found in it the inspiration and spirit of the Mediterranean.
Here lived and created painters Paul Klee and August Make, then the philosopher Michel Foucault, the famous Nobel laureate Andre Gide and the famous French writer and musicologist Rodolphe d'Erlanger ..
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Walking through the Old Town
For many visitors, the most memorable way to spend time in Sidi Bou Said is simply walking through the Old Town, exploring the picturesque winding paved streets, city galleries, studios or enjoying tea or coffee in the many cafes. Try traditional Tunisian tea with almonds or pine nuts. Walking through the streets you will pass through a multitude of stalls, whose goods consist of handmade items and souvenirs that show the rich history of the city and bottles of fragrant jasmine. Traders are very friendly to visitors in hopes of making a sale.
During the walk you will learn why you can't find two identical gates here and how the life of the locals works, and at the top of the hill you can see the fantastic panorama of the Gulf of Tunisia.
Dar Nejma Ezzahra Palace
Baron Rodolphe d’Erlanger, a French painter and musicologist, built this palace as his home in Sidi Bou Said. He was one of the most famous orientalists of his time, and his specialty was Arabic music. La Musique Arabe is certainly his most famous work. During World War II, German troops captured and looted the palace. Today, this palace has been transformed into the Center des musiques arabes et méditerranéennes, a museum of Arabic and Mediterranean music. The museum has many interesting historical artifacts, old musical instruments and many works of art. However, this museum is also known for concerts, exhibitions and musical events that are held in the museum throughout the year. The most famous is the Jdira Poetry Festival. This palace is also a popular place for making movies because of its beauty and authenticity.
D’Art Lella Salha and Des Metiers
It is a magical open-air market adorned with a lively atmosphere of colorful goods and the roar of sellers. The sellers offer you to buy their goods and the agreement on the price is an integral part of the sale. Small shops and numerous stalls offer their typical souvenirs such as: traditional clothes, colorful ceramics, spices whose scents spread everywhere, leather bags and handicrafts. You are free to walk, look around and enjoy this wonderful unique atmosphere. This is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Tunisia, so the prices of souvenirs here are the most expensive in the country, so it is better to shop in the soups of Tunisia or Susa.
Dar el-Annabi Museum
The exhibition in this famous museum evokes the traditional way of life, simple everyday life and important customs of Tunisians. Here you can see a part of the rich historical heritage such as richly decorated costumes, traditional interior, some of the wedding customs and others. Visitors receive a cup of refreshing mint tea with a museum ticket. The museum is housed in a traditional villa built in the 18th century. It also houses a private library, a prayer room, a bedroom and a living room, as well as a beautiful oriental garden and terraces that offer magical views of Sidi Bou Said.
Cafe des Delices
Cafe des Delices is a great place to take a break and relax after a walk through the narrow winding cobbled alleys decorated with Mediterranean vegetation. The scent of hibiscus, oleander and bougainvillea can be felt everywhere. Located on a cliff, this beautiful café has spectacular sea and marina views, and is the perfect place to watch the sunset. Here you can drink coffee or traditional mint tea with pine nuts. They also offer sweets with sugar syrup, but also traditional food, as well as pizzas and sandwiches. The prices in the cafe are high, and the quality of services is mediocre. That is why visitors come here for the atmosphere and the perfect view, and they are looking for top quality food somewhere else.
Visit ancient Carthage
The richest Phoenician city offered everything from ivory to slaves in its markets, and its huge military port (Koton Carthage) excavated in the shape of a horseshoe is today considered an architectural marvel of antiquity. Carthage reached its peak of power around the 4th century BC when it was defended by miles of walls.
But that was not enough. Embarking on three Punic wars against the Romans, Carthage was destroyed. Despite the long siege and endurance of the Carthaginians who refused to surrender, the Romans eventually defeated them. Thanks to archeological findings from the 19th century, today you can walk through the remains of the old city and indulge in the imagination of what life looked like more than 2000 years ago.
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