Atelier de Nattes: products from palm leaf, cane and halfa
In Houmt Souk, on the island of Derba, there is a unique studio in which for more then fifty years Mr. Mohamed Khacha is selling his creations made of palm leaf, cane and halfa. I could not figure out what "halfa" is, it is a French word and maybe that's the term for sedge leaf. Mohamed works mats for floors and walls, bags, hats and various other products.
His studio is located in the commercial district of Houmt Souk and is very scenic and attractive, so ot os worth a look.
Kilim shops: cheap carpets in open air shops
Blanket or mat for the floor in the corridors should be distinguished from the carpet which is intended for the room. Both are hand-weaving but the difference is huge. Expensive rug weaving is made entirely from wool fiber origin and of varying thickness. The more is a thread thinner and densely knitted, the carpet is more precious and costs more.
Mat is also hand-knitted but of cheaper raw materials and the fiber is much coarser and more thick. Often is used raw material from recycling or from frayed old mats.
at market places: rich selection of spices
Traditional Tunisian cuisine is a mixture of various influences, Greek, Arabic, Italian and Spanish, and the common characteristics is that the dishes are hot spicy. In the entire Mediterranean basin food is prepared with a browned flour and that, depending on a type of meat, combined with a variety of spices. Those who are not accustomed to such food must try it first.
In most Tunisian dishes with meat "harissa" is added and that sauce can be very chili. Harissa is a hot red pepper sauce, made of red chili pepper and garlic, flavored with coriander, cumin, olive oil and often tomatoes.
Spices found on the markets is of high quality, but also cheap, and it is recommended that you bring them along home. I especially recommend saffron which is of top quality.
jewelry and "jewelry": Why women go crazy near goldsmith's shops
There are some things that are unexplained to men, not to say mysterious. How is it possible that women unmistakably "smell" where there is a shop with jewelry, in the city in which they have never visited before? In the window of such shop there is always some piece of jewelry that she need to see up close, and when she says "wait just to take a look inside", my heart sank immediately.
I bet most men have the same experiences.
The Markets in Tozeur: Ceramics are a great deal
I did most of my "souveneir " shopping in Tozeur. It was one of the last cities we visited so it made sense to buy it there rather than lug extra stuff all over the country with us! There is an area along the same road as many of the hotels that has a bunch of shops all in a row. I believe they call this area the zone touristique.
What to buy: The best deal by far, was for the pottery products. Bowls and dishes and pitchers all painted with beautiful designs. The bowl I bought was all of 2 dinars! ($2 about) The other thing I bought was a carved wooden chess set which was about 20 dinars.
What to pay: You must bargin or you will be ripped off! I wanted a bracelet and the 1st price given to me was 35 dinars! I talked him down to the 5 dinars it was worth.Related to:
- Budget Travel
Tunisian music CD's
What to buy: Some contemporary names to watch out for are: Badra Jerjisi, Lotfi Bouchnek, Anouar Braham, Mohammed Zine El Abidine, Latifa Arfaoui, Amina Fakhet, Sofia Sadek, Dhikra Mohammed, Chokri Bouzaine, Noureddine El Beji, Saber Rebai
What to pay: 5-10 dinars - even for CD's you have to bargain a little bit.
Ehemmm . . .
Welcome to the “Boulevard de la Contrabande” ! We are talking about the main road which follows the coast from Libya to Tunis (picture 4). This road is full of stalls selling different things like dates’ juice or pending death beasts (picture 3) but the star of the road is without any doubt the Libyan Oil introduced to the country let’s say. . . “à la légère”. I don’t know which name it has in Tunisia but in Europe this is clearly smuggling! I forgot for a while the Rule Number One to Survive in Tunisia when I saw a policeman talking to a stall seller and I asked to a local friend how could police allow that situation. He told us that the South of Tunisia is so poor that if they prohibit the sale of Libyan Oil it will be a national revolution! So this smuggling is “tolerated” only until Sfax . . . Well, at least all these cans make the road more colorful . . . :-) Ah! That word written everywhere (sáraf) on the cans means “coins” (picture 2) so if you are interested in buying some Libyan Oil don’t use big notes!!
What to buy: Libyan Oil, smiling pending beasts, dates' juice
What to pay: Less than usual :-)
Kairouan carpets are the most renowned carpets in Tunisia. You can recognise them by its kind of point and by their typical hexagonal designs in the centre. In Kairouan you will find a lot of shops selling carpets, usually inside rich villas in the centre of the medina, like the one on the picture. So if you want to buy a carpet from Tunisia, go to Kairouan.
Shopping in Tunisia
Of course ill update this tip as soon as i do more mini trips around the country :-D
-I like the bracelets of the old medina in Tunis
-I don't like the stuff sold in Sidi Bou Said shops. And they are more expensive than in other places!!!
-In Monastir's Medina there is a very big big shop selling all kind of souvenirs and local craft. It was the place where i found more selection of everything
-Nabeul is famous for its pottery; Nabeul's Market is on Friday
-If you want to buy a carpet go to Kairouan; kairouan's carpets are the most renowned carpets in Tunisia
-There is nothing to buy in Bizerte
Be wise! Things like chicha, sculptures etc are found everywhere so its better to buy them at the end of the trip, otherwise you’ll have to carry them during all the trip :-(((
Aahahahah unfortunately I could tell you about other kind of markets here in Tunisia where I almost have a fidelity card but i can't. . . not while living in Tunisia!
Sand roses, minerals and other smiling stones
West of Tunisia is a paradise. It is amazing what nature has created in this area: canyons, desert, green mountains and valleys, turquoise lakes, oases. . . Talking about “shopping” here you will find a lot of stalls selling sand roses, minerals and other smiling stones . Usually the sand rose (picture 2) is the star for tourists, some of them are huge and very spectacular, but Geology lovers can also find other interesting stuff like geodes (my friends almost got a heart attack when they saw some of them painted in violet!) and silex nodules (or dinosaur’s eggs or meteorites depending on the seller that you meet) (picture 3) . Of course you can find these things in Europe but in Tunisia they are cheaper (and more beautiful :-) )
Local Store: Daily shopping
Tunisian commerce has evolved and has adapted to modern ways such as selfservice, where the prices are fixed.
The Tunisian dinar is not like the dollar or pound seperated in 100's but in 1000's. 1 Dinar = 1000 Millimes. The Tunisian money is not allowed to be taken out of the country. The Tunisian dinar is mostly : 1 Dinar = 0,65 - 0,70 US $ .
You can change money everywhere in Tunisia. Because the money is not always free for rechanging the major Credit cards can be used in hotels. Because shops don't always have change, you should have enough.
What to buy: .
Here are some examples of fixed prizes:
The Celtia (Local Brew) beer 0,25 liter 1,00 TND
Draft beer: 4 TND / 0.5 L in hotel, TND 2,20 / 4 dl in brasserie
Bottle of Boukha (fig brandy) 1 liter: 28 TND
Bottle of Thibarine (herbal liqueur) 0.70 L 7.5 Euro on airport
Bottle of Arak (anise-flavour brandy),
Bottle of Coke 1,5 liter 0,60 TND
Bottle of water 1,5 liter 0,40 TND
Bottle of wine 0,75 liter (only in northern Tunesia) ca. 4 - 6 TND
Draft beer: 4 TND / 0.5 L in hotel, TND 2,20 / 4 dl in brasserie
Baguette ca. 0,20TND
Beaf 1 Kg ca. 8 - 10 TND
Fish 1 Kg ca 10 - 14 TND
Potatoes 1 Kg ca 0,40 TND
Tomatoes 1 Kg ca 0,50 TND
Museum, etc. 2 TND, + taking photo 1 TND
Skydiving TND 25
Petrol ca. 0,70 TND/Liter
What to pay: Money, money, money
Must be funny
In the rich mans worldRelated to:
- Beer Tasting
- Wine Tasting
- Food and Dining
Carpets!: Tunisia's carpet capital
Kairouan is the carpet capital of Tunisia and the main area of Ave 7 Novembre in the Medina is the place you should head to if you want to see/buy them. There are also loads on display in the Maison du Gouverneur which is a museum that doubles as a carpet shop.
Medina's: Haggle hard!
If you're after souvenirs then you should head for the Medina, especially the narrow alleyways that run from the Bab el Bhar in Tunis at the Medina's eastern entrance. You can buy all sorts of stuff such as brass plates, clothes, shoes, porcelain plates and bowls, leather goods etc. Most of it is pretty tacky but there are some nice items. I have to say that the Medina in Sousse in better as it sells fruit and vegetables as well. As you're a tourist, you'll be easily spotted by the guys standing outside their shops who will call to you and offer you their best prices etc so this can be quite intimidating. Take care of yourself and remember to haggle hard!
sousse centre: goverment shops
these shops can be found in the main tourist areas of tunisia and sell a wide and varied range of gifts, jewelry, clothes, etc.
they are air conditioned buildings.clean and airy. you do not get hassled at all, it is not allowed.
they sell good quality gear and you probably will pay what you could haggle a market trader down to if not less for better, well packaged, often gift-wrapped stuff.
What to buy: all sorts of local crafts, glass, bongs, beadwork, leather, candles, figurines, handbags.etc.
What to pay: what you spend is really up to you. these shops offer good value for money and i personally according to my husband spent way to much, no surprise there then. more like just bought a few to many things, prices were good. you know how it is, err, that will never fit in the cases and watch the weight... moan , moan.Related to:
- Family Travel
Any, including airports duty free shops: Dates
Dates are a main crop of Tunisia. Deglet Nour is one of 300 varieties of dates. Tunisian are very proud of their "Deglet nour" (fingers of light) variety, which is considered as the best date in the world. They are grown only in the oasis of Southern Tunisia (Djerid) and of South-eastern Algeria. "Deglet Nour" is a registered brand name in Algeria but Tunisia is by far the world first exporter country with 30,000 tons.
They are very sweet and with a special flavor honey-like. They should be a bit transparent. They are at their best just after harvesting, in late October and early November. You will find dates in duty free shops of airports both in Tunisia and in Algeria.Related to:
- Food and Dining
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