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Tataouine gives an impression of past times, or better say, it looks like the time machine has stopped here for a while. Never ever in Tunisia I saw such a place and people. It reminded me on some movies I saw years ago, illustrating the way of life in past centuries. The locals stared at us the same way one stare at something he never saw before. The fact is, I wasn't feel comfortable here because the atmosphere wasn't friendly.
I stopped to take the picture of this shoemaker shop and it cost me 5 dinars.
Updated Dec 26, 2005
In you look closely about what lies along the road, you may see, here and now, some remnants of troglodytic habitat, most of them are still in use (as storage rooms) (and are more efficient than the "new ones" in terms of temperature regulation)
Written Feb 5, 2005
Address: Along the road to Tataouine
Along with the berber carpets (but those will be rather found in the souk) : Tataouine has been for many centuries, and still is (if to a lesser extent) a hub for the spices trade in northern Africa.
On the place, the spices are presented in hemt bags just diplayed on sheets or sometimes in basins.
Surrounding the spices diplays are the vegetable stalls (less interesting burt a couple of oranges are so tempting in the heath).
The trade is done like it was long ago : sampling, tasting, sitting, discussing : haggling is a 'ceremonial' , a part of the social life. If you happen to understand some Arabic (and some French too) : just listen to the local old ladies : bargaining is a form of art !
What to buy: Peppers, harissa powder, cinnamon, saffron, fenel, anise, ginger, cumin...
Dried fruits : almonds, dattes, rose petals, pistaccios ...
Not to forget the mint and the tea !
What to pay: Now is the time to test your bargaining skills !
Updated Mar 11, 2006
If your intention is to enter the desert, be cautious, Tataouine is the LAST place where you can find a garage (behind the market place) and - even more important - the last gas/oil station.
Don't forget to check your tires, fill your car's tank and to take some jerricans while there (plus, if you never used a hand operated gas-pump before, it's an opportunity).
After this... Inch' Allah
Updated Dec 25, 2005
Favorite thing: Tataouine is what I call "bogu iza nogu" place and I'll never find out why we got here, a pure waste of time. It is ugly small town with ugly architecture and equally ugly people. Besides, the locals are very rude, unpolite and unfriendly. There is no doubt, it was my worst experience in whole of Tunisia.
Updated Nov 21, 2005
Favorite thing: When speaking of Tataouine, most people think convicts, stones,unbearable heath...
When we arrived in the town of Tataouine, the first shocking idea that came to my mind was "But, that's a perfectly NORMAL little town !"
Tataouine presents the typical architecture of south Tunisia ; low white houses around a market place, narrow streets to preserve what little shade is available.
In Tunisia, Tataouine is renown for it's spices market and it's highly sylized (and superb) carpets.
The town becomes more animated on mondays and tuesdays when the market takes place.
The other days, life flees slowly and peacefully under the burning sun.
Updated Apr 10, 2005
Favorite thing: Well, not exacly favourite (but moving when you come to think about all those who suffered here)...
Tataouine's reputation outside Tunisia is mainly due to the presence of a former military convicts prison.
During the french colonial period, Tataouine hosted the "Bataillon disciplinaire de la Légion Etrangère" quarterings.
Now, the remaining infrastructures - a fortress type building - standing alone on a hill, are used by the Tunisian army.
Updated Nov 16, 2004