Tunisia’s Ksar Trail

-where walls look like cliffs

a1_20060825_100_0119_2648 x 1656
Chenini, southern Tunisia

The ksour (singular: ksar, plural: ksour) of Tunisia, and the Maghreb in general, are  fortified villages, usually built on hilltops, and consisting of a group of connected houses, often having collective granaries and other buildings such as a mosque, bath, oven, and shops.  The buildings are built into the cliffs, with the walls merging into their surroundings, achieving both camouflage and natural insulation.

Chenini is one of the more spectacular of the ksour on the Berber tourist trail in southern Tunisia, built as it is between two ridges to afford protection against raids.  The oldest structure here dates back to the 12th century, and some of the granaries are still used for heir original purpose by the villagers now living below.  Cheninie is in the tatouine district of Tunisia and you will likely have seen images of it before as this is the area used for filming Star Wars.

Other villages around include Douiret, Ksar Ouled Soltane, Ksar Hailouf and Ksar Hadada.  In fact, the word ksar features in place names across the Maghreb, particularly on the Saharan side of the Atlas Mountains and the valley of the Draa River. The Spanish terms Alcázar and Portuguese Alcácer are derived from this North African Arabic word, and appear in place names and buildings originating as fortresses.

 Linked to My Sunday Photo.

25 thoughts on “Tunisia’s Ksar Trail

  1. Marvelous! I don’t know why, but I always assumed that Tunisia was pretty much flat and such views were the prerogative of more mountainous countries such as Morocco. Glad to be proved wrong… Splendid colours, hope you’ll post more pictures of these villages in the future!

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  2. “Where walls look like cliffs” I can’t think of a more original example and response. Recently, I started bugging hubby about going there and now you posted it. I see it as a sign. Thank you Debbie. I appreciate your concise (no-nonsense) text and impeccable captures.

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    1. I was there in 2006 so these are pretty old shots. I really enjoyed the trip. The architecture and scenery are wonderful and the locals are very friendly. I highly recommend it – I went with Explore.

      On Sat, Mar 14, 2015 at 10:48 AM, Travel with Intent wrote:

      >

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      1. The food was good. Not too spicy unless you want it that way. Lots of veg and couscous. Excellent bread. Harissa usually served as a side so you can add heat to your own taste. And I’m a particular fan of brick, so I was happy!

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