Another first-rate museum. The name is a bit of a misnomer, since most of the exhibits here reflect the life of a member of the ruling elite: shoes inlaid with mother-of-pearl and so on. The displays are nevetheless interesting enough; but the real attraction (as with many museums in Tunisia) is the building itself, in this case the...more
It might not be the most exciting place, nor the most aesthetically pleasing, but the French colonial architecture in the new town of Sfax can make for some picturesque corners...unfortunately, I didn't take may pictures here, so you'll just have to take my word for it. At street level, there's not much to see, but look up occasionally and you'll...more
I'd wanted to visit Dar Jellouli on both my previous trips. The first time, I cound't find it as I was busy being lost in another part of the old city, and when i did finally find it, it was closed. Last year (2006), I found it easily enough, but it was closed for renovation. So this Dar Jellouli museum, cited in my guidebook as being a highlight...more
The Great Mosque of Sfax is not difficult to find: it is in the middle of the medina, not quite on the main thoroughfare leadind up from Bab al Diwan: and unusually it announces itself on the outside, with the remarkable series of decorated niches on the eastern wall. What is harder is getting a good view of the equally remarkable minaret, a riot...more
If you are at all interested in architecture and building techniques this museum is a must. And if you're not I'd recommend it anyway, since situated as it is in the old kasbah it offers the opportunity to actually walk the ramparts of the medina, giving stunning views. Well worth 2TD (+1 for a camera)The exhibits are very well presented and...more
Sfax medina is jam-packed with markets, each with its own name and specialising in a certain thing. The locals all know exactly which alley to turn down to find fruit, which archaway to pass under to buy your fresh fish, where the best olive-wood bowls are sold...but as a tourist, you can only hope to blunder around, stumbling on the souqs by...more
A map is useless here, as the streets really do form a maze. Pick a backstreet, then another, and another, and soon you'll be lost, no idea which way is north and which is south. You won't be lost for very long, as eventually you'll hit the walls, or will emerge on one of the many busy shopping streets, but not until you've discovered a souq full...more
In the southwestern corner of the medina lies the Kasbah, a castle-like structure built into the walls. It is now a museum of Traditional Architecture, and for a few dinars you can enter. Despite not really being up on my architecture, I found many of the exhibits quite interesting, especially the old photos of mosques and houses in old Sfax, and...more
Sfax's medina is surrounded by soem pretty impressive walls, running almost unbroken for maybe 3 kilometres. Of course you can walk all round them on the outside, but it is more interesting to try and do this on the inside...some of the streets are so narrow, and these wall-side streets are also a bit more "rustic" than the others, with sand...more
Route soukra km3, Sfax, 3052, Tunisia
Good for: Couples
AV.HABIB BOURGUIBA,BP 544 3000 SFAX, Bp 544 3000 S
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Business
25 Avenue Hedi Chaker-3000, Sfax -Tunisie, Sfax, 8050, Tunisia
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Families
I suppose I didn't choose the best time to visit La Perla, and with good reason. I was catching the 01.15 night train to Tunis, so a restaurant that stayed open until the small hours seemed a good option: checking earlier in the day I was told until three. La Perla has an upstairs room with live music, and when I arrived at elevenish this is where...more
It's not really the port, but this enclosed pool of water is the only real access to the sea you can get in Sfax's city centre. The area has been done up since my last visit, and there are now several cafes on one side, with good views across the water of the city skyline. They are also close to the Kerkennah Ferry terminal, so if you have to wait...more
This is a great restaurant. It's nothing on the outside, letters are falling off the sign, and the interior isn't smart in any way (apart from the above exuberance). This is because what matters here is the food; eating is a serious business and should be done properly. You don't taste the decor. On the other hand the service is perfect. You...more
Ferries to Sidi Yousef (Kerkennah) leave from the port, just a five minute walk from the centre of town. Make your way to the waterfront with its cafes, continue up the road, past a more traditional smoke-filled cafe, cross the railway line and the ferry terminal is in front of you. There seem to be quite a few crossings every day, at least 10 all...more
"Why don't you take the train?" suggested the man at reception. Yes, I thought, why don't I take the train? I had yet to experience a Tunisian train, and was assured it was more comfortable than louages. The advantages were that I would know when exactly I would leave, and roughly when I would arrive, and I would be able to see a few sights on the...more
Sfax is a major city, so louages leave all day long for all over the country. For an idea of price, I took a louage from Le Kef to Sfax, which took 4 hours and cost 12TD. South to Gabes, a journey taking 2 hours, cost 6TD. Mahdia was around two hours away to the north, but I haven't a clue how much that cost as it was many years ago! Sfax's louage...more
The fondouk de forgerons (metalworkers souk) itself is closed at the moment (I assume for restoration)and it's entrance bricked up. Nearby there are many shops where metalworkers of various descriptions work. Seemed to me like an ideal opportunity to get a bit of an edge put un the old Swiss Army knife. Since both blades were fairly dull, they needed a short go on a grinding wheel followed by a session on an unbelievably worn whetstone (clamped firmly in an English vice). One dinar each blade, and now I can sharpen my perncils satisfactorily.
Had I got this done in England, I would probably have taken it to an ironmongers who would have sent it off somewhere and the whole process would have taken over a week.
Many countries, including Tunisia, are predominantly Muslim, so the religious sites you are most likely to encounter, are, predictably, mosques. This is a brief tip of advice, written from the point of view of a non-Muslim, female traveler (yours truly!!!):
- Do dress modestly, covering arms, legs, shoulders and the like, no frivolous dressing will be allowed. Hire the modest dress if needed;
- Check whether you are allowed into the mosque at all, since most of them admit you only into the courtyard, and some do not admit non-Muslims at all. However, in several countries you may be able to visit the interiors of many mosques;
- Respect the boundaries laid and do not attempt to enter further (I saw such a thing once, and it did arouse ill-feeling);
- If possible try to avoid going even to the courtyard on Friday afternoon, since I remember this is the most important praying time of the week;
- If you are curious, feel free to ask questions (though not of people hurrying to pray) and most likely you will be answered: I’ve always found people proud of their culture and heritage and ready to explain it;
- Do not criticize things we in Europe and in the West might (such as separate praying space for men and women), for such are the customs of the land and mosques are the least appropriate places for such topics.
This advice is based only on common sense, but it allowed me to see something of the mosques and learn loads of interesting info on Muslim countries, their religion, and culture. Really helped me when we had a general education class on religions at University:))
The synagogue in Sfax is a large rather ugly building opposite the Kasbah, now semi-derelict The pavements surrounding it are fenced off, and there is an armed guard in a sentry box at one corner. Absolutely asking for it, no? I took the photo and was immediatly beckoned over and told it was strictly forbiden. I did offer to expose the film for him...more
I was warned by my friends in Gabes not to enter Sfax's medina after dark, as there are very few streetlights, it is easy to get lost and apparently it can be quite dangerous. Arriving late at night, I decided to stay in the new part of the city, as I didn't fancy getting myself into trouble inside the medina looking for a hotel, but my taxi driver...more
11 Reviews and Opinions
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!