Journey to Tunisia (die Tunisreise): European 20th century Artists in Tunisia

Language Arabic, English, French, German, Italian
Price 250,00 EUR for excursion
Capacity Group of up to 10 people
Duration 3 days

DAY 1: TUNIS - SIDI BOU SAID - HAMMAMET

This morning we take the historic TGM train from downtown Tunis to La Goulette. Here we make a brief stop to explore this suburb, where there was a large community of Europeans - mostly Italian - in the earlier 20th century (and the birthplace of Claudia Cardinale). We will see some of the historic buildings before taking the TGM to Sidi Bou Said, where our car is waiting. A brief walking tour will take us through the narrow picturesque streets of this beautiful Andalusian village, famous for its blue & white architecture, colorful doors, and magical views of the Gulf of Tunis. We visit the beautiful Dar Ennejma Ezzahra, the mansion of Baron Rudolphe Erlanger. Built between 1912-1922 by this aristocratic Orientalist painter & musicologist, today it serves as both a museum and the Center of Arab & Mediterranean Music. We will also see the famous Café des Nattes, which at the turn of the 20th century, was popular among European artists, painters, poets and celebrities. You will have some free to explore and take lunch. We continue by car via the scenic (old) road to Hammamet, to see the countryside through the eyes of the artists: the sprawling green hills, vineyards, fruit orchards and colonial era estates. Hammamet is known for its citrus groves and pretty bay with fishing boats moored at the foot of the 16th century castle. The old medina within the walls, with its traditional architecture & colorful doors, was the subject of a number of works of Klee, Macke & Moilliet. We visit Dar Sebastien, built in the 1920's by a wealthy shipping magnate & admired by Frank Lloyd Wright. It is a beautiful place, set on the bay and surrounded by orange groves.

Overnight in the historic luxury Hotel Sinbad on the seaside of Hammamet.

DAY 2: HAMMAMET to KAIROUAN

A 1 ½-hour drive takes us to the historic city of Kairouan. A full day exploring the monuments and narrow lanes of Kairouan’s ancient medina, with its picturesque architecture, lanes, souks, and play of shadow & light as they were captured in the works of the artists. We stop to admire the traditional houses, with their decorative iron grills and brightly coloured doors. There are weaving workshops on the way, where local textiles are still hand-woven on traditional looms, and bakeries where a vast array of local sweets are made. A painter’s and photographer’s delight! We visit Great Mosque, North Africa’s oldest and most historically important mosque & the Zaouia of Sidi Sahab, also known as “The Mosque of the Barber”; the interior is richly decorated with ornamental stucco ceilings & stunning tile work. We also see the Aghlabid basins – enormous reservoirs built in the 9th century to supply the city with water.

Overnight in the historic Hotel Kasbah, Kairouan

Day 3: KAIROUAN – TAKROUNA – optional WINERY TOUR - TUNIS

We continue to the hilltop Berber village of Takrouna, which towers over the Enfidha valley, overlooking the Bay of Hammamet and the mountain of Zaghouan. We will ascend by foot to the top of this picturesque traditional village, where we take a break at le Rocher Bleu, a combined café & art gallery. A local artist, born in Takrouna, conceived The Blue Rock Project as a way to bring visitors & revitalize the village. Return to Tunis.

* Option: We will be travelling through wine territory, where the finest wines in Tunisia have been produced since the colonial era. Upon request, we can arrange a vineyard tour & wine tasting at one of the estates en route back to Tunis.

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