Rus Articles Journal

Wing of the Arab Maghrib

In Tunisia the heritage of the European culture and Muslim traditions


In the ancient time are fancifully combined the caravans going on the desert often perished as they lost the direction of the movement - it seemed to them that they approach an oasis. In modern Tunisia oases - at all not mirages, but settlements with all conveniences. And even if the mudflow destroys the village, favorable conditions for an oasis allow to restore houses - but already at slightly bigger height.

the First impression of this country the traveler receives

on a plane ladder: the dazzling midday sun fries so that it seems as if air was forgotten to be given. It is impossible to open eyes and there is nothing to breathe, but it is necessary to move further - Tunisia waits.

Between heat of the desert and tenderness of the sea

As it often happens to the first impressions, it both reflects, and distorts reality. Except for two hottest months, July and August and if not to get under the burning breath of the southern wind from the desert (it in Maghrib call sirokko), which temperature can reach 52 degrees, it is possible to call climate of Tunisia without stretch moderate. In northern part of the country of one view of vegetation it is enough to understand: the climate is close to the South European Mediterranean here. The Mediterranean and Saharan climatic zones divided into territories of the country of a sphere of influence.

Tunisia - absolutely small country with the population of only 11 million. Extent from the North on the South makes 800 km that it is slightly more than a distance between St. Petersburg and Moscow, and width of its only 150 km. However the nature took care of presenting here all variety of landscapes: Atlassky mountains (to 1400 m), steppes with solonetzic waters in shotta (hollows), the woods, once very extensive, and nowadays remained only, which - where in the north of the country. And the desert, the great Sahara never leaving attempts to occupy the fertile lands of Tunisia.

the Nature of Tunisia seemed

to quite “unearthly“ film crew of “Star wars“. In the town of Matam the column with an inscription “Flaunts here “Star wars“ were removed. In March, 1976, in the first day, a film crew the serious omen was shown: the pouring rain with the thunder-storm began, then flew a hurricane which carried almost all scenery.

further on the platform various equipment constantly failed, all participants of shootings had to work for 14 hours a day and climate did not facilitate life at all. As a result of shooting in the desert were rather painful to force actors “to plunge“ completely into reality of the planet Tatuin. It is interesting that this planet on which according to the scenario Enakin Skywalker was born and where his son Luke grew then, was called in honor of the real-life city in Tunisia - Tatuina.

Earth of Tunisia was once much richer than

in the absence of the king of beasts, than now: not incidentally exactly here caught exotic animals for the Roman circuses, for example, the well-known berber lions who could be met in the XIX century, but not now, alas. It is pleasant that the government this developing, so, not the so rich country, since finding of independence conducts purposeful nature protection activity. Treatment facilities protect the Mediterranean Sea from capital sewage (Big Tunisia) and hotels on all coast.

B 1970 - e years were based numerous reserves where conditions for carefree life of animals and plants are created. Visit of the majority of them demands special permission. In the public reserve about the lake Ishkel it is possible to see the Tunisian water buffalo s. In the spring and in the fall tens of thousands of migratory birds have a rest here.

On Zembr and Zembrett`s islands located against the cape of Bonds the national reserve where there live seals - monks is. In mountains Dzhebel Shambi in the center of Tunisia remained population of rare long-maned sheep. In mountainous Krumiri there are known hunting grounds with a great number of wild boars, foxes and jackals. In bays and on damp saline soils along east coast there live colonies of white and pink flamingos. In coastal waters of gulfs of the Mediterranean Sea the dolphins who are joyfully playing in waves - not it a rare show.

Leaving Carthage

Tunisia, a narrow wedge on North - the East of Africa - a wing of the Arab Maghrib whose form on the card reminds a bird. A body of “bird“ is Algeria, and wings - Morocco and Tunisia.

the North and the East of Tunisia is washed by the Mediterranean Sea. The geographical position “made“ all history of Tunisia: the outlet to the sea and fertile climate grew here not one richest state which was permanently fixing jaundiced eyes of the next conquerors.

History says that Carthage was founded by Phoenician seamen in 814 BC. There is also a nice legend: the city was founded by the queen Elissa (Didona) who ran from Tira after her brother Pygmalion, the tsar Tira, killed her husband Sikhey to take control of his wealth. Didona by whom allowed to occupy so much earth how many the bull skin will cover took control of unexpectedly big site, having cut a skin on narrow strips and having laid out them a site on perimeter. The citadel put on this place carried Bierce`s name that is meant by “skin“. The legend more than is symbolical: Carthaginians were famous long centuries as the dealers, best in the Mediterranean, and differed in a faultless business grasp.

is Assumed that it is a business vein them and ruined: necessarily vvyazavshis in wars with Rome and losing their one for another, they every time made the peace expensive price - literally paid to Romans the huge sums. It seemed to them that the bought world will be strong - the transaction was mutually advantageous. They could not understand that not economic calculation directs Romans, but thirst to dominate over as it is possible the bigger territory. The opponent who can still pay off so again and again can increase the power, did not arrange Romans at all. Influential Roman senator Katon Starshy, the leader of conservative Roman land owners, believed that the Roman latifundium based on a slave labor will not be able to compete to more productive and technologically developed farms of North Africa. It steadily finished the performances in the senate the well-known phrase:“ Carthage has to be destroyed“.

Hannibal is a great military leader of Carthage, “not number, but ability“ won victories over Romans, winning against them even in own territories. He got beaten by Romans in the one and only fight - but it appeared enough. As a result of the last from three Punic wars Carthage at last was destroyed. Inhabitants were sold in slavery, walls and houses are wiped out, the earth is filled up with salt. Written sources of Carthage did not remain, its history is known to us only in a statement of his worst enemies - Romans.

... In the suburb of modern Tunisia, the capital with almost two-million population, on the hill, in silence and a deficiency there are remains of half-ruined columns. Here, in the museum of Carthage, hang on walls the cards reflecting at first growth of the influential Republic Carthage (and then the Roman territories seem not such considerable), and then her gradual death. The sad, drama story vividly reminds the theory of a passionarity of Lev Gumilev and it seems its right illustration.

Heritage of conquerors

However it was only the beginning of history of gains. In the first century of our era the Roman Africa became one of the most prospering provinces of the Roman Empire. Invasion of vandals in 439 finishes this safe period. Byzantium appears the following owner of this Mediterranean country, but also it is forced to concede it, this time to Arabs. Since 670 nine centuries proceed race for power between Arabs and leaders of local berbers.

B 1574 Tunisia appears under the power of Turks, and the piracy page of history of the country so begins: the Tunisian and Algerian pirates directed horror on trade (and not only) vessels of those years. At last, in 1881 France occupies Tunisia, land possession of Tunisians depart to the French colonists. French, whose power ended in 1956 when independence was declared, left, however, very considerable mark which is easy for noticing even at the most fluent acquaintance to the country. First of all he is visible in local architecture. Exactly thanks to French the capital seems rather European, than the Arab city: its wide boulevards cast memories of Big boulevards of Paris.

In Tunisia 2 state languages - Arab and French. However the Tunisian dialect of Arab includes a set of loans from French. Even berbers in the settlements on the island of Djerba and in Dakhare speak not on pure berber, but interweave both the Arab, and French words into the speech. The Tunisian dialect sounds quite strange, especially for those who know French: it is impossible to understand how Tunisians manage to mix dexterously words from so far languages from each other of language groups.

Besides architecture and language Tunisians obviously acquired a lot of things from lifestyle of French. Full advantages, they are polite, gallant, but, apparently, have no idea of service that is not too convenient for the country where tourism brings in the fair income. The coastline, is more than one thousand kilometers of beaches of white sand, is built up with tourist complexes and hotels of all categories. However there is an impression that all this is rather a heritage of French, than actually Tunisian development of the industry.

Does not know to

, thanks to influence of French or own destiny, but you will not carry this Islamic country to radical in any way. In 1956 polygamy is officially cancelled here, in 1964 the minimum age of marriage is limited: 17 years for girls and 20 years for young men. All Tunisian children get secondary education, and more and more young women continue training. Women are presented in bodies of local administration and the government, there is a lot of them among doctors or lawyers. But the most important - most of the women met on the street are dressed in the European clothes, often look very stylishly and make impression of quite independent persons. In national clothes and in similarity of a veil in the large cities it is possible to see only elderly women, and it is clear that it is their personal choice.

the European taste of Arabian cuisine

Taste of Tunisian cuisine it is not so traditional

too - Arab as it was possible to expect. A classical Arab dish is, for example, kus - kus which is combined with the most different products, even sweet dates! Tunisians prefer not crushed, and integral pieces of meat or fish - the last, despite proximity of the sea, is appreciated very expensively. But the best, than it is worth regaling by all means - shrimps, huge and incredibly cheap.


of the Dish of Tunisian cuisine it is not obligatory obzhigayushche - sharp, and in it the concession to the European taste is felt. In the markets, however, ground spices lie bright color hills which sizes exceed possibilities of consumption of the European for the whole life! It forces to think that locals are simply merciful to strangers, and for themselves prepare something “hotter“.

the Amount of sweets blows the mind, and their range - frank mixture of the European and east traditions. In one bench cream cakes and the candied nuts, halvah, dried dates adjoin. The last, along with olives, are a traditional Tunisian product.

the Fruits of a cactus of a prickly pear cleared of prickles, one more local feature: the gentle pulp of a fruit reminds taste of a melon and peach at the same time. For the rest fruit and vegetables do not leave the row familiar to the European.

In Tunisia, unlike the orthodox Islamic countries, quietly treat alcohol. Here cultivate vineyards, and the best Tunisian wines can will be compared with French that is not surprising, Tunisians adopted culture of wine from French, and experts from France still advise local wine makers.

... In what definitely does not deceive the first impression of Tunisia, so it in brightness of the future feelings! Here the usual, that is fine sunny day, and the sea sparkles and is pleasing to the eye improbable blueness, exactly - in - exactly as on cards. At six in the evening suddenly flies a storm, the prompt temperamental thunder-storm collapses sudden heavy rain, such powerful that it seems: the new flood is inevitable. In half an hour from heavy rain there is no trace also, there comes silent, very short evening. Velvet blackness of suddenly gone down night is decorated with extremely large stars, given to drink by a jasmine scent - too strong, but all the same attracting.

Sounds do not concede

in intensity. Shrill shout of the muezzin - while it sounds, an eye of the stunned traveler rushes about in search of a sound source, and at last unmistakably takes the bearings of it, having come across a turret of the next mosque. In the market “Natasha - look at cries of dealers!“ rush to any female being more - less Slavic appearance. Efficient noisy vanity of a bough - the market in Medina, historic center of any city, - is weaved with pungent unfamiliar smells and with the same dry heat, an inevitable background of local life. At first all sense organs stay shocked, but, having got used, begin to look for new feelings and impressions. The generous earth of Tunisia provides them much - only manage to live.