Don't photograph the synagogue!
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 (first shot on the roll, so no great loss) but he declined. This is one of those dead pointless bits of nonsense, since there's only one sentry, so many points of view are outside his field of view: and you could get a nice view of the building from the ramparts by visiting the architectural museum. With a long lens you could even get a nice snap of the armed guard.
Medina at night
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 had other ideas. He dropped me off at Bab Diwan, saying that all the cheap hotels were just inside...was it dangerous? "la la, ma fi mushkila"...no no, no problem. It was about 10pm, and Bab Diwan was fairly busy. All the hotels are within 100m of the gate, so it wasn't too difficult to find my way around, but my chosen hotel was in the middle of the souq, busy by day but eerily quiet by night. There are little groups of old men who act as nightwatchmen, although I'm not so sure how effective they would be in case of trouble.
Sfax is a city that goes to bed quite early, so after 10pm most streets are fairly empty. It didn't feel dangerous, but then again, maybe I was just lucky. If you're a single female, it is probably best to stick to the new city or restrict yourself to the two or three hotels literally just inside Bab Diwan.
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