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Tozeur Trips

  • Tozeur

This inland city has been an important stop for travellers though the region for centuries. Once a centre for dissent, by the 18th century the city was a great trading hub, with caravans stopping at the oasis town to resupply and trade the amazing quality local dates – a great commodity when travelling through the desert. By the middle of the 19th century this traffic had almost stopped and the city’s main trade became exporting those fine quality dates, famous throughout the Maghreb and the Middle East.

Today Tozeur is heavily reliant on tourism, with it being not only a sight in its own right but a stopover for the Sahara Desert and further exploration of the region. For visitors, the ancient Ouled el Hadef quarter, dating to the 14th century, is of the most interest. The alleyways and arches here are made from a distinctive local brick, often used in patterns to decorate the tall building façades. There is also a Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions, located in an old Koranic school (where children learnt the Koran), which includes wedding dresses and, of note, African wooden masks made by slaves who worked and were traded here.

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Historically the oasis was a welcome sight for caravans arriving here and today it’s very pleasant for a walk. Of interest is the classic irrigation system used to water the palm trees for centuries. Also here you’ll find the Great Mosque, built circa 1190, with a wonderful stone mihrab, the niche in the wall of the mosque indicating the direction of Mecca.

Outside the town, the Chott el-Jerid salt lake often resembles an icy white lake and is quite an extraordinary sight. There are other sights around that fanatical fans of the Star Wars movies make pilgrimages to, as many locations in the area were used as backdrops for the original movie, as well as other later episodes.

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