Sidi Bou Said Things to Do

  • Window detail
    Window detail
    by leics
  • Rooftop view 1
    Rooftop view 1
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    Rooftop view 2
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Most Recent Things to Do in Sidi Bou Said

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    Dar el Annabi

    by leics Written Aug 7, 2010

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    First courtyard
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    This is large and sumptuous 18th century Tunisian house, with 55 rooms (although you don't see most of these).

    The grandfather of the present owner was a mufti (religious leader), his son a government minister, the present owner a cardiologist with an artist wife (you can see some of her work displayed inside). A large chunk of the house is now a hotel, and the cardiologist and his family live in another chunk of it.

    The courtyards and rooms you can visit show traditional Tunisian interiors, and are furnished with models in typical clothes and poses. There's also a rooftop terrace with excellent views across the other rooftops, and the courtyards themselves are shady and pleasant spots to sit and drink some mint tea.

    Entrance (July 2010) is 2.5 dinar, including a glass of tea.

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    Ennejma Ezzahra ~ Home of Baron d'Erlanger

    by starship Updated Mar 21, 2010

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    Baron d'Erlanger Palace ~ Picture From the web
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    As you can see from previous tips and photos, one of the unique features of Sidi Bou Said is its white-washed buildings paired with intense blue accents on doors, scrolled ironwork, and other architectural accents. Many have compared Sidi Bou Said's appearance to that of Santorini, Greece, and it is not difficult to see the remarkable resemblance. But how did Sidi Bou Said come to look so incredibly different from its other counterparts in North Africa.

    The predominant use of the white and blue in Sidi Bou Said has been notably attributed to one man. The Baron Rodolphe d'Erlanger, a musicologist and painter, built a palace here between 1911 - 1922 using those 2 signature colors and a style influenced by architectural details from the Andalusian-Maghreb tradition. Somehow the predominant use of those colors flourished throughout Sidi Bou Said and the rest is history.

    Today the Palace is now known as "Ennejma Ezzahra" and is the home of the Arab and Mediterranean Music Center. The Center plays a major role in four areas: "conservation, exhibitions related to Tunisian musical heritage and museum activities." Groups of musicians, and choral groups from around the world perform at the Center on a regular basis.

    It is unfortunate we didn't have enough time to see the Palace for hear a performance because I believe both would have been quite special. If you're in the area of Sidi Bou Said, check your hotel concierge for information on exhibitions and performances for daily or nightly entertainment.

    The museum is open Tuesday - Sunday from 9am - 1pm and from 2pm - 5pm.
    Admission: 3 TD adults; 1.5 TD for children.

    Picture 1: Baron Rodolphe d'Erlanger Palace now known as Ennejma Ezzahra or The Arab and Mediterranean Music Center

    Pictures 2 & 3: Examples of Sidi Bou Said's signature colors & architecture

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    • Architecture

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    Wander the narrow streets!

    by nyonnetti Written Nov 1, 2009
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    We only had an afternoon so the most we could do is just wander the city trying to explore each narrow cobblestone street and where it would end up. The village is so beautiful and at each corner we saw the most beautiful view. As you climb the city, the outdoor merchants wane and it becomes more peaceful and quiet. There are so beautiful outdoor restaurants at the top of the city that we didn't get to try, but enjoyed admiring.

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    Lighthouse viewpoint.

    by euzkadi Updated Apr 7, 2009

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    After climbing the cobblestone main street and turning left at the end of the street (a hard walk) you will find the lighthouse, a great place to enjoy the beautiful green-blue colors of the Mediterranean Sea.

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    Café Sidi Azizi.

    by euzkadi Updated Apr 7, 2009

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    I really enjoyed the time i spent in this cafe located at the main entrance of town under a big fortress looking building.
    There were few tourists here, most of the customers were the drivers and the guides having tea and smoking waiting for the travellers.

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    Balconies.

    by euzkadi Written Apr 7, 2009

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    Another feature of the Tunisian architecture that i specially liked, the beautiful wooden carved balconies like this one i saw in Sidi. My guide told me that this balconies were made for the women to see the outside world without showing themselves-

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    Main Street.

    by euzkadi Written Apr 7, 2009

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    I took these pictures in the main street of the city, a cobblestone street full of antique and handicrafts shops, Galleries and Cafés. The athmosphere and the town is so perfect that sometimes seems fake, but is a wonderfull place to visit.

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    Doors.

    by euzkadi Written Apr 7, 2009

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    As in other Tunisian villages i visited, doors are one of the main features....Beautiful designed doors, windows and balconies painted in blue, green or red; they are one of my favourites memories of this great country.

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    Town details.

    by euzkadi Written Apr 7, 2009

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    Sidi is a beautiful place, very Mediterranean, it´s a pleasure to wander through the small streets, looking for special details. I visited the city in August so it was very hot, but also was a good excuse to enjoy an ice cream or a tea in one of the many cafés.

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    Sidi Bou Said

    by micajo Written Apr 10, 2008

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    A wonderful blue and white village. I was looking forward to visit this place cos I have reading a lot of nice reviews on it and they were all true cos it is wonderful... you need to go. It is situated on a hill but near the coaches stop there is a mini train so those who can't walk steep hills or don't want to, they can catch this touristic train and it takes them on top. Also it is nice that in one point of the street there are traffic lights and barriers that close for pedestrians so the train passes in front of you and it is funny. You can arrange an excursion from the hotel so as to visit this place, in fact my hotel booked it for me.

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    Dar el Annabi

    by micajo Written Dec 13, 2007

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    The bride before getting married
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    If you are in Sidi Bou Said, do not miss to visit Dar el Annabi. It is situated in the middle of the hill near all the souvenir shops. It is an old house turned into a museum. It is really nice cos you see the traditional costumes and traditions before a wedding will take place. And you can enter the small private prayer room. Also you can go upstairs on the roof and see the village from above. If you are lucky and will be in time for their prayers, you will hear them pray cos there is a minaret just next to it. With the entrance fee (2,500Td) you will be served the traditional mint tea. If you don't like tea, just take a sip, it is not that bad. Also inside there is a souvenir shop but here you can't haggle for the price ... but they are not expensive.

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    Cafe de Nattes

    by MikeAtSea Written Oct 9, 2007

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    Cafe de Nattes
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    Situated in the heart of the village one can sit on the mats inside this lovely cafe and mingle with the locals. This cafe was the main meeting point for artists and writers such as Paul Klee, Auguste Macke, Michel Foucault and others.
    When I visited I tried the typical mint tea and just let the time go by - and feel the atmosphere of by gone times.

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    Dar el-Annabi

    by MikeAtSea Written Oct 9, 2007

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    Dar el-Annabi
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    This is a typical family house that has been opened to the public. It was built towards the end of the 18th century and it's vibranty tiled and centered around several courtyards. Rooms that one can see are the prayer room, the kitchen, the reception rooms, the library and the sleeping quarters. From the top floor one has a magnificent view over Sidi Bou Said.

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    • Museum Visits
    • Arts and Culture

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    Tomb of Patron Saint ~ Part II

    by starship Updated Sep 5, 2007

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    Cathedral of St. Louis ~ Carthage, Tunisia
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    St. Louis or Sidi Bou Said ~ Same Person??

    It is known that the man known as St. Louis, was also the same person who was crowned in Rheims in 1226 at the age of 11 as King Louis IX of France and the House of Capet. During his reign, Louis was known as a benevolent and devout Christian and Catholic. It is said he took his coronation investature as "lieutenant of God on Earth" and Protector of the Church seriously and to that end, embarked on two crusades.

    It was during his second crusade when trying to spread Christianity and fighting Islam that Louis died in the town now known as Sidi Bou Said. Some sources say that he died in this Tunisian village of disease in 1270. However, Tunisians believe he did not die, but converted to Islam becoming known as Sidi Bou Said, and died as an Islamic saint buried in Djebel-Marsa. Because of Louis' documented, life long Christian devotion and his crusade against Islam, the Berber legend is not considered credible to many scholars.

    What is more, apparently the partial remains of this saint have been buried in several places in addition to Sidi Bou Said: the Basilica of Monreale in Palermo, Sicily; Basicilica of St. Dominic in Bologna, Italy was his resting place for a brief time; and the French Royal Necropolis in St. Denis, France. It is said his body disappeared from St. Denis during the French Wars of Religion (a subject for further study).

    St. Louis/Sidi Bou Said was canonized as a Catholic saint by Pope Boniface VIII in 1297; Louis IX was the only crowned monarch of France ever to become a saint. His memory is honored throughout the world in many places and in many ways. The Cathedral of St. Louis in Carthage was one, but now is no longer a relgious place of worship, but is used as a cultural center. The pictures here show the building which unfortunately we were not given access to. It remains a beautiful testament to the man known as St. Louis and also Sidi Bou Said.

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    Tomb of Patron Saint ~ Part I

    by starship Updated Sep 5, 2007

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    While making our way up an inclined and narrow "street" in Sidi Bou Said, our guide pointed out the doorway you see in the picture here. He said it was part of the tomb of "Sidi Bou Said" whom the town was named after. Our guide told us that "Sidi" is a term of honor or deference. No doubt the door is only a portion of a much larger building or religious complex that we really could not see from street level.

    In researching this place, I soon found out that the history surrounding this revered person (Sidi Bou Said) is somewhat confusing as not only is this person known in Christianity as St. Louis, but also as an Islamic saint known as "Sidi Bou Said." Just as mysterious is his exact burial place!! So the story around the person known as St. Louis or Sidi Bou Said is an interesting one for many reasons.

    The Tunisian legend relates the story of King Louis falling in love with a Berber princess, converting to Islam and changing his name to quite a long Islamic name: Abou Said ibn Khalef ibn Yahia Ettamini el Beji. However, this legend is widely thought to be discredited because of the historical facts.

    The man known as St. Louis, canonized by the Catholic Church, has been honored throughout the world, giving his name to many Cathedrals, including the one at Carthage just a few miles away.

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