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Sfax is the second city of Tunisia, but considerably smaller than the capital, Tunis. It sits to the south, down the Mediterranean coast, and is quite a pleasant place as a stopover, being much quieter and less hassle than Tunis. It also has an interesting medina.

Like everywhere I visited in Tunisia, I spent only one night in Sfax, in a cheap little hotel in the medina itself, which was great. There was so much going on just outside my window, I didn't have to go far for entertainment.

Main street

Every city in Tunisia has an Avenue Habib Bourgiba, named after the founding president. This is Sfax's version of that avenue.

At the other side of the medina, some of the new Sfax skyline.

New Sfax

Medina walls

Walls of the Sfax medina. The medina in an Islamic city is generally the fortified part, oldest and windiest (that's windie, not windy).

The Three Gates of the Sfax medina.

Medina arches


One of the busy souqs within the medina, this was near the north exit around the corner from my hotel.

The covered souqs of Sfax are where some of the film "The English Patient" were filmed.

Covered souq

Night souq

At night the souqs are populated by seemingly cats only. This wasn't even that late, about 10pm, I guess people in Sfax like a good night's sleep.

This sign was on top of my hotel, and although my Arabic isn't great, I'm still perplexed as to what it says. My best guess is Nazl, but the last letter that looks like an English "H" isn't any that I'm familiar with...



Sfax represented the end of the line for me in my voyage to the Sahara, at least, the end of the railway line. From here on the louage (shared taxi) was the transport of choice. You buy your ticket at the depot, and hang around next to your designated vehicle until enough folk show up, then off you go. I didn't ever have to wait more than an hour to get going.

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Copyright © Ross Wattie 2008