Culture

South of Tozeur, The Berber’s Lands

Author & Photographer : Alessandro Del Ben

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Chott el Jerid

Along the street P 16 run from Tozeur to Kébili find the Chott area, the salt lakes. The biggest is Chott el Jerid cover an area about 5000 kmq.

Chott el Jerid is an enormous salt lake wich costantly change his aspect during the seasons. In summer became a salt expanse looks like ice and seems to be in another planet, in winter sometimes covered by a thin water layer. It’s formed by salt crystals lie on sand ground. The ocher sand blows by wind change the face of Chott el Jerid and create beautiful contrasts with the white crystals salt.

Chott el djerid

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The land of Lotophagitis, Djerba

In the IX Odissea book, Ulysses, during one of his vicissitudes through Mediterranean Sea arrived in the land of Lotophagitis, a mythological people who feed with lotus flowers wich causes them the lost of memory and the perception of reality.

The companions of Ulysses after have eaten the flowers offered by natives, lost the sense of belonging to their land and don’t want to leave. Ulysses have to use force to take they away.

The symbolic identification with lotus, today is allocate to the wild plant of jujube from wich obtained an alcoholic drink given narcotic effect.

The land of Lotophagitis is identified by the historians wich Djerba island.

 

Kebili

Kebili is the first village you’ll find after Chott el djerid area at south of Tozeur.

Like many ather village in south Tunisia has berber origins.

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desert foxDesert fox

 

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Lézard Rouge, The Desert Train

Lézard Rouge ( Red Lizard ) is the train who depart from Metlaoui station situated 30 km north of Tozeur. This train connect Metlaoui to Redeyef passing through Uadi Selja gorges in a spectacular landscape. The train Lézard Rouge is composed of six wagons, once built in France in 19th century it was a gift from the state of France to the Bey of Tunis used for trasport around capital area. After many years of decay it was restored and today still running from Metlaoui to Redeyef.

 

 

After Douz we go straight towards south and have our camp base in Ksar Ghilane into the desert.

Here find the heart of Tunisian desert and Berber culture.

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Alessandro Del Ben

Ali Touareg

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Alessandro Del Ben

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After Ksar Ghilane we have explored the Spring Water area, a naturals source of hot water coming from underground in the desert

spring water

spring water

 

The Berbers or the Amazighs are the ethnicity indigenous to North Africa. They are distributed from the Atlantic Sea to the Siwa Oasis in Egypt, and from the Mediterranean Seato  the Niger River. Berbers call themselves some variant of the word i-Mazigh-en, possibly meaning “free people” or “free and noble men”.

Along the street we cover in south of Douz there are some Berber free people which live in the desert far from civilized area. They even never seen a camera and don’t know what means to take a picture.

berber

berber

These nomad people always move from a place to another in the desert and live of pastoralism.

 

Coming back north find Tamezret and the city of Matmata , here there are a lot of Troglodytic House. The structures typical for the village are created by digging a large pit in the ground. Around the perimeter of this pit artificial caves are then dug to be used as rooms, with some homes comprising multiple pits, connected by trench-like passage ways.

 

matmata

 

Views of Matmata

matmata

berber

Berber from Matmata

troglodytic house

Ancient Troglodytic House

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troglodytic house

Traditional Troglodytic house near Matmata

The house is fresh in summer and warm in winter. The life of Berbers is completely integrated with natural environment.

troglodytic house

Author & Photographer : Alessandro Del Ben

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