Situated high above the ground among the rocks, Sidi Boy Said will enchant you with whitewashed houses decorated with blue doors and roofs! I am convinced that you have never heard of this small town in Tunisia, which is located about 20 km from the capital! Even me, until I visited this amazing country. Among the locals the town is known by various names – “white-blue city” or “city of artists”, but I’d prefer to name it the white-blue pearl of Tunisia!
When seeing Sidi Bow Said for the first time, for a second you can easily mistaken it with Greece! With all the houses having white and blue on them, the resemblance to the island of Santorini is quite big. But no, you are not in Greece.You are in Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia and now are about to take a walk among the streets and its dive into this city’s history.
Definitely if the capital of Tunisia seems busy and noisy, then a walk in Sidi Bou Said will seem like a breath of fresh air. The town is preferred by many tourists, as well as locals ,for a walk or short vacation during the weekend, artists and writers who seek a new place that could inspire them to create, as well as many young people. If you want to admire the turquoise bay, take a trip on a yacht, go for a swim or have a coffee on a terrace with amazing views – this is your place!
It is no coincidence that they call Sidi Bou Said “the city of artists”! They have long been attracted by the colors and magic of this place. In the late afternoon, when the sun is about to set, the streets here are dazzlingly bright, and there are many colorful flowers blooming from everywhere and adding up some different colour. Also, here and there you can see a yellow or red door which very much distincs from the rest painted in blue.
Perhaps you are wondering why there are so many wooden lattice screens on the windows and balconies? They are called Moucharabiehs and keep air in the houses cool, while fresh air enters naturally. But they also serve as “shades” – when you are on the inside you can watch the pedestrians passing by but they cannot see you 🙂
If you are not a fan of walking and hanging out in cafes, you can go down the steep road to the beach and admire both the sun and the amazing sea. There are many cafes here, umbrellas, sunbeds and a variety of water sports to do.
Even when there are many tourists around it it’s still peaceful and quite. In this place, everything that there is to be seen is done very quickly. Once you’re done walking the narrow streets, all you can do is relax in a cafe and admire the sea view. If you stay overnight you may be a little disappointed, because here you will not see beautiful sunsets, as the town is facing west. As night falls, life on the streets subsides and everyone heads to the cafes in the modern parts of town. There are many richly decorated restaurants where you can enjoy hookahs. But, if you prefer to escape from the noise, why not take a walk among the small streets and enjoy the lunar landscapes?!
In the 19th and 20th centuries, Sidi Bou Said became an attraction for writers, musicians and artists. It is named after its founder – Abu Saeed al Beji. He decided to settle in this place because he was impressed by the beautiful views. Abu Said is known for lifting a centuries-old ban in 1820 giving permission to non-Muslims to walk the streets of the town. Another key figure in Sidi Bou Said’s history is the French Baron Rodolphe d’Erlanger. He invests a lot of money in the development of the town and lobbied the local authorities to give the city a protected status. In 1920 he managed to issue an order for all newly built buildings to be painted only in white and blue, as well as to have more than 2 floors. Today, Sidi Bou Said is part of the UNESCO cultural heritage along with the nearby ruins of Carthage.
The town retains its authentic aristocratic style – on the streets you can see small galleries, workshops, craftsmen and merchants. The main craft here is the production of wire cages for birds, which decorate the facades of blue and white building.
Everytime I think of Sidi Bou Said, warm and pleasant memories come to my mind. Memories, like a fairy tale in which I am climbing a hill and walking the small winding streets among the blue and white buildings. The setting sun and the pleasant breeze, which lightly caress my face as I am watching the sunset I tell myself that the day is over, but my heart tells me that a new day will come to look forward to and that the sun will be shining once again. And here, among the memories of the blue and white colours of this amazing town, I discovered a new one that brings hope and peace – the colour of the sunset when the sun sets in Sidi Bou Said …
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