2014年3月5日 星期三

Tunisian Tour 12 Sousse (突尼西亞之旅12 . 蘇斯古城)


After Kairouan, we went on to Sousse, another old town on the UNESCO's world heritage site list. Since Souses is a seaside town, the road we took stuck fairly closely to the Mediterranean coast, richer in rainfall.

 For the first time, I found some grazing sheep, some cows and some goats

and lots of market gardening land. Whilst farmers elsewhere separate their fields with earth mounds and trees, in Tunisia, they do so by planting cactus!

We passed by many little coastal towns and villages 

 Naturally, we found many small hotels 

We were told that in Tunisia, land is not a problem at all. Any one who wants to build can simply apply to the government for a plot of land for as little as a few tens dinars, not as the price of the land but as administrative charges! That's what we were told.

No wonder that wherever we go, we find building activity going on and there were lots of new buildings.

You seldom find tall buildings in Tunisia. This one would be regarded as quite tall already.

We were told that these are new vacation homes for the rich

So are these

And these

I have seen lots of minarets in Tunisia. But it's the first time that I see a minaret with a blue roof.

New houses for sale 

New hotels 

 Another new hotel

 Another new hotel. If there are so many hotels here: there can only be three reasons: sun, sand and blue sky,

The cook of a fast food shop on rest stop. I had a Tunisian pizza. Cheap and delicious.

At long last, our restaurant for lunch

A restaurant with decor 

 The boss at the bar table

The bar

Wall decoration  

A sailing ship clock!

Practice shot whilst waiting for our lunch

 Some fuzzy effects

Playing around  with our glass of water

Finally our lunch: quite tasty

After lunch we were given some time to walk around the old town of Souses, capital of the Sousse Governorate, on the Gulf of Hammamet,  87 miles south of the capital Tunis. With a population of more than 200,000, it's the third largest city in Tunisia. Its name may be of Berber origin because there are towns with similar names in Libya and south Morocco, both of which are Berber towns. It lives on vehicle production, food processing, olive oil, textiles and tourism and is home to the Université de Sousse. According to the Wikipedia, it used to be a Phoenician town called Hadrumetum in the 11th century BCE. Since it allied itself with Rome during the Punic Wars, it enjoyed 7 centuries of relative peace under Pax Romana. In 434 CE, the Vandals took the city and renamed it Hunerikopolis but the Romans under Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian retook the town in 534 and changed its its Roman name to Justinianopolis but lost it again in the 7th century, not to the Berber nor to the Vandals but this time to the Arabs who renamed the city Sûsa and within a few decades elevated it to the status of the main seaport of the Aghlabid Dynasty. When the Aghlabids invaded Sicily in 827, Sûsa was their main staging ground.In the centuries that followed, as Europe gained technological ascendancy and began pushing back at Islam, Sûsa was briefly occupied by the Normans in the 12th century, was later more thoroughly occupied by the Spanish, and in the 18th century was the target of bombardments by the Venetians and the French. After the French took control, the city was renamed Sousse, a name which has since stuck. Despite 5but the town retained its solidly Arabian look and feel. With its ribats and kasbahs,  Sousse is thought to be one of the best examples of Arab maritime fortifications today. In the middle of nearly a thousand square miles of olive groves, the production of olive oil has been most important since antiquity, but tourism has now overtaken this as the main source of livelihood for its people. Hotel complexes with a capacity of 40,000 beds now extend a full 20 km (12 mi) from the old city (Medina) at its north along the seafront to Port El Kantaoui. With a Mediterranean climate of hot dry summer and mild wet winters, its proximity to the sea makes it an all-season resort town. It's visited by more than a 1.2 million tourists a year.


A picture of the Arab-Berber maritime fortification of Sousse (photo from internet) showing its towers and remparts etc.

Its ribat, a combination of a mosque with a fortress

The entrance to the ribat , in the middle of the strong wall, is very small

From this corner, one could see the tower of the famous Arab maritime fortress 

A cat sleeping in front of the mosque

Two women fully dressed in black and all covered up are entering the mosque

Another entrance to the ribat-mosque on the landward, not the seaward side

 below the wall of the ribat-mosque is the market

Since business isn't that good, one might as well take a nap until prayer time

The department store on the right is our meeting point

Digital watches and sunglasses and belt on sale, probably made in the PRC.

gilt wooden carvings

a boat in the form of a paper windmill

camel chair

The newer part of the city

The typical square minaret of another mosque

Some newly completed building

More new building. The buildings here seldom exceed 10 storeys.

This is the harbor of Sousse

The watch tower at the harbor

The water looks very clean

little boats for ferrying goods

It can accomodate even cargo ships with its cranes

A young couple waiting to board?

The police station

A statue at the bottom of the palm tree

a pirate ship for tourists

 A rusted barbecue stand and metal chairs

Sailors waiting for tourists. Want a water tour?

The rear of the pirate ship

a broken window

A slave tied at the head rig

Another fierce look pirate ship. The so-called Barbary coasts used to be infested with Berber pirates.

The major of the city?

There's an inscription. But I don't read Arabic.

A horse carriage. You can smell the horses from across the street

Some sculpture at the base of city wall


Like in Tunis, the Medina of Sousse has also got its souks (covered bazaars) and archways. Its Medina is surrounded by the city walls. The Medina of Sousse had been a UNESCO world heritage site since 1988.

The medina souks are full of shops selling wood carvings. Here,a lively elephant head

An Arab on camel with frame

An Arab on camel without frame

A happy Bob Marley

Bob thinking of his smoke?

Two ladies

Mother and child

Rock and rollers 

All kinds of people and animals of different sizes and expressions

Che Guevara seems a popular subject too

Oriental looking heads

Soldiers and sailors

a finely crafted bronze lamp

Turkish glasses 

Crocodiles, dolphins and fish

Various stone carvings 

A close-in on a woman

 A man

 Two more

 More heads 

All kinds of door knockers 

A string of nuts. Chinese call them "horns"

All kinds of tiles and plates

different sizes, colors and designs

colorful plates of intricate patterns

of all shapes and sizes and motifs

Animals, birds, trees, flowers and the protective palm

 and ladies and men's heads

 aromatic boxes, vessels and candle holders

big jugs and urns

and smaller ones of traditional or more contemporary colors and designs

Various drums and percussive instruments

a hand drum 

Another type of hand drum


decorative wooden frames

Arab hats

wedding baskets

More wedding baskets

in pink, blue and red

A real basketful of flowers, laces and ribbons

A different style of basket

A simpler version

Finely crafted silver caskets

buckets, caskets and even slippers

Jewellery casket with hand mirror and perfume bottles

reed baskets and hats

Colorful floral bottles

 almond candy

All kinds of pastries

Buns and other pastry

puffs and rolls

More pastry

Tunisian dough nuts, big and small

More sugary or syrupy desserts 

pastries, biscuits and chocolates

and nougats

 A fast food shop serving sandwiches and wraps: want some?

His competitor: roast chicken

breads and pan cakes

meat pies and omelettes

wraps with all kinds of meat paste


freshly made plain wraps 


All kinds of palm dates

red dates

yellow dates 

dried plums?

Olives for all kinds of taste

Bay leaves?

dried plums or raisins?


different dried herb spices


beans or peas?


A more organized spice and general provision store

 A butcher's


Another butchery

minced meat


A house gardening shop

A fruit seller: No customer. Better read how my favourite football team is doing.

vegetable seller

Fresh fish for sale

Come on, come on, real fresh, true bargains, here's your last chance, grab 'em afore they're gone

a road side cafe or tea house

Three young men enjoying their water-filtered tobacco smoke 

Here. Some smoke for your photo, Monsieur

What you looking at, dude? Never seen this before?


Met this freelance journalist at the bakery. He had been to China and Hong Kong many times! You really never know what kind of people you'd bump into unless you go out into the world!

To be cont'd