]> Sojourn in the Middle East

Sojourn in the Middle East

Part 7 of 9
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This is a blog of some of my impressions during a seven-month period living and working in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (the "KSA") in 2007-08.


Tunisia -- jewel of North Africa, the other half of the Mediterranean world. The neglected sister of the more famous northern half, where first Greece and Rome, and then later reborn Europe rose to fame and fortune among mankind. And Tunisia itself seldom heard of, compared with its more celebrated north African brethren of Morocco and Egypt, or even its more notorious siblings, Libya and Algeria. Yet it was here, at the very center of the northern coast, just 60 miles south of Sicily, that the civilization that taught the Greeks to write found its greatest expression.

Here was Carthage, erstwhile outpost of the Phoenecian traders away from their homeland around Tyre in modern-day Lebanon. Carthage, rising as the center of its own state covering much of what we now know as Tunisia. Carthage, that was defeated by Rome, transforming the latter from state to empire. The former lands of Carthage became the Roman province of "Africa", named for a Berber tribe, the Afri, living in the west of the country.

"Berbers" were the inhabitants of all of north Africa before the Phoenecians came in, but they were not aboriginals, merely the results of a long period of intermixing of former generations of invaders, from Europe, the Levant and Asia Minor, and even sub-Saharan Africa before the division became meaningful with the drying out of the Sahara from forest and savannah starting 8,000 years ago. This land has forever been a crossroads.

Gate at Place de l'Independance, Ville Nouvelle, Tunis.

Cathedral from the French days, Ville Nouvelle, Tunis.

Alley in the medina, Tunis.

Cat, Sidi Bou Said.

Boat on the Mediterranean, off Sidi Bou Said.

Village street, Sidi Bou Said.

Residential area, Le Kef.

Residential street and looking out, Le Kef.

Countryside between Teboursouk and Testour, in the northwest (I).

Countryside between Teboursouk and Testour, in the northwest (II).

Jelidet (unrestoured ksar), near Tataouine.

Old man with cane and cloak, Ksar Ezzahra, near Tataouine.

Ksar Ouled Soltane (restored ksar), near Tataouine.

Ksar Ezzahra (partially restored ksar), near Tataouine.

Mask from the Carthaginian period, Bardo Museum in Tunis.

Mosaic from the Roman period, Bardo Museum in Tunis.

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