The two Roman pools are really the only things worth seeing in Gafsa. They're not particularly hard to find...just head in the general direction of the great mosque and dive into one of the backstreets which will take you to the square. The pools are quite deep, the water very clear, and they are still used today as swimming holes for local kids....more
For those with a bit more time, you could explore some of the narrow lanes in the semi-old distrit between the centre of town and the medina. Some houses are old, some mosques are picturesque, some alleys are teeming with life, others are full of shops and snack bars. Hunt out the cafe near to the road of jewellers' shops, which does a mean cup of...more
Away from the pools, Gafsa's medina is slowly crumbling away. It isn't particularly large, but it makes a good place for a short walk...you are unlikely to get lost, as practically every house is within a five minute walk of a main road, but the narrow backstreets are quite picturesque in a sad decrepit way. The main building to seek out is...more
If you have time to kill, you could walk round the Kasbah. Not inside the Kasbah, as that is now a law court, but around the outside walls. The front has been modernised and looks like a faceless modern building, with lots of extra security guards just in case you were pondering whether to photograph it or not...but the walls round the back are...more
Gafsa was the scene of an mysterious incident in 1980, when a group of soldiers took over the town for a couple of days until they were captured by the Tunisian army a couple of days later. Many of them died fighting against the Tunisian while 13 of them were later hanged. To this day, it's not clear who the soldiers were or what was the purpose of...more
Gafsa's Kasbah has seen better days though it's from the west side, where most of the walls are intact, it does look impressive. It was built by the Hafsid dynasty who ruled between the 13th and 16th centuries. In WW2 parts of the walls were destroyed in an explosion and have been replaced by law courts. Gafsa's oasis lies just west of the Kasbah...more
The medina is situated between the two main streets, Avenue Habib Bourguiba and Avenue Taleb Mehiri. The most interesting section of the medina is to the southwest where you find the Roman Pools, a museum and the Great Mosque. As in any medina, it's easy to get lost and you'll probably have to retrace your steps a couple of times to get to where...more
There is a nice outdoor cafe just below the Maison de Culture. This is in a great spot on the edge of the oasis and there are nice views of the Kasbah across the street. This seemed to be a very popular spot with young Tunisian couples. Many cafes in Tunisia are men-only places (not so much br rule as by custom) and places where both sexes could mix easily were much less common. Any of these which we found were normally very popular. It was great value as well. We had a coffee and a mint tea for 1.5 Dinar. Gafsa doesn't get too many tourists so prices are often lower than in other cities.
After leavingGafsa's market we passed this fruit stall near the medina entrance. Fruit in Tunisia can sometimes be unappealing as it often overripens in the sun, but the selection at this stall was so good that we had to stop and buy some. It's more expensive than you might expect and you'll often pay close to European prices.more
Gafsa is a popular stopping point for tour groups travelling south so you might expect to find plenty of restaurants here but after 10 minutes of looking we gave up and decided to have a picnic instead. This was a good option as we had parked near an indoor food market and there was a park nearby, on Place 7 Novembre. Markets in Tunisia are...more
Travels to places like Tunisia involves a lot of fighting the heat, especially if you, like me (I am still surprised as to why I did that), go there right in the middle of the summer. Here’s a list of useful items to take:
- Hats and other covering: Large brimmed hats that provide head covering and some shade. For women, they are also a proof of modesty, welcomed when visiting old churches and mosques. Scarves and the like covering shoulders and arms can keep the sun off during treks. A cloth hat or scarf can be soaked to help keep the head cool.
- "Squeeze Breeze": this is a water bottle with a sprayer and a battery-operated fan attached. The beach toy to take with you!
- Sun block: While sun blocks may be purchased in Tunisia, people tend to prefer sticking with their own favourite brand (the skin, too, ‘gets used’ to it), and there’s not guarantee you’ll find it on the spot. So take your own, if you have preferences!