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Tamerza, oasis of the mountains

Red Canyons, blue sky, abandoned villages, oasis emedded into rocky gorges...As it comes closer to Algeria, the Tunisian desert has unexpected shapes.

From Tozeur to Gafsa and Sbeïtla the mountains offer landscapes from another planet and unusual ways, such as the trip on the red lizard, an old train from the"belle époque".

Tamerza - ancient village

The oasis of the mountains have always been a boarder area. The Romans built posts to protect the Saharian limits. It is also the place where General Rommel, the"desert fox", had to withdraw as he was surrounded by the Allied forces.

Tamerza - marabout

Tamerza is probably the most beautiful oasis in the mountain. It was called Ad Turres by the Romans. It was destroyed and abandoned in 1969 after a record flood lasting 22 days.

The old village is a cluster of ruins that matches perfectly with the bare mountains around. At the bottom of the ruins, a very dry oued (river) adds to the overall picture.

The only building that is still of use in Tamerza is the marabout (small mosque). Its white dome rises among destroyed walls.

Great waterfalls

A luxuriant oasis freshens the usually scorching hot valley.

You can even take a shower in the waterfalls downstream from the new village.

This small fountain is known as the Great Waterfall. Indeed, a source in the desert is necessarily great!

Tamerza Palace


Another great place is the Tamerza Palace. Built in harmony with the surroundings, this hotel has a terrace with the best view on Tamerza ruins!



Midès, abandoned fortress


8 kilometres away from Tamerza, another oasis and another abandoned village: Midès.

Some parts of the movie "Fort Sagan" were shot here.

Midès dominates gorges cut into the rocks, up to an 80 meter high cliff! Staring at the rocks, you recognize the shape of a wrecked boat.

To trigger your imagination, bear in mind that this land was under the sea a million years ago.




Fossils are rife: you find many of them in the shops next to the canyon, together with carpets, unmissable sand roses, and minerals with stunning glints.


Fabio Benedetti-Valentini ©


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