Monday, January 21, 2013

Abu El-qassim Echabbi

Sculpture of Abu El-qassim Echabi park
 Ras El-ain Tozeur
Abu El-qassim Echabbi (1905 1934), a native of Tozeur, was the son of a judge who sent him at the age of 12 to study at the Zitouna mosque in Tunis. He subsequently studied law, but was more interested in poetry, which he read widely. Goethe, Lamartine and Gibran Khalil Gibran were particular influences.

By the age of 18 his own poetry was being published and in 1929 he delivered a famous and influential lecture in Tunis on the "the poetic imagination of the Arabs". Rejecting the stifling weight of the past as represented by classical Arabs poetry, he made a plea for the poet's "freedom to imagine". His own work, while retaining the essentials of classical form and language, expresses a distinctly romantic sensibility. He spent his summer in Ain Drahem, north west of Tunisia, where he wrote his poems. His poem the Will of Life has been taught across the Arab World.
He died at 25 of a cardiac attack. (By Rough Guides Tunisia)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Rome And Its Provinces

Rome and its provinces; Eljem museum Tunisia, House of Africa
In the 2nd century, Rome had made the Mediterranean as its own lake. Africa (actual Tunisia), Anatolia, Spain and Gaul(France) are the biggest Roman provinces. Every province used to supply Rome with gold; wheat, silk and metals.
One century later, Caracalla had granted the Roman citizenship to all free inhabitants of the Roman empire. This law is known as the Antonin Constitution. The purpose was to simplify the tax structure and the administration.

The mosaic above shows the unity of Rome. Minerva, the goddess of war in the middle symbolise Rome surrounded by its provinces. Africa, Anatolia, Egypt, Spain and Gaul. Africa wearing an elephant ear, Spain with olive tree branch, Diana represents Sicily and Isis represents Egypt. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

For Fans of Birds (Bird Watching in Tunisia)

As warm weather returns to Tunisia, so do the birds: by the hundreds of thousands. Tunisia, along with Gibraltar and the Levant, is one of the major migration routes for birds flying from Europe to Africa in the fall and back in the spring.
Perhaps the most exciting time and place to see such migration is right now at the end of the Cap Bon peninsula, in northeast Tunisia. It is the last jumping-off point for birds before flying to Europe by crossing the Mediterranean. During April and May, visitors are treated to the rare sight of migrant eagles who cross through the peninsula over the verdant hills of Haouaria and Ras ed-Drak. Besides the eagles, birdwatchers can recognize the Spotless Starling and Moussier Redstart.
Haouaria Cap Bon Tunisia

A summer festival dedicated to the Sparrowhawk in Haouaria has been organized since 1967. The main show is hunting displays by the hawks, who are caught in March and trained for the performances.
All told, there are around 400 species in Tunisia, including sedentary birds that are native to the country and migratory birds that pass through.
This unique diversity of bird life brings bird lovers from the UK, the USA, and Canada in winter, spring, and autumn. Habib Ghazouani, the head ranger at Ichkeul National Park, a major site for such bird watching, estimated that between 50,000 and 60,000 visitors representing 20 nationalities visit the park every year.
Sparrowhaw (Alsef) of Haouaria

The park, which affords visitors the sight of Purple Gallinule, Coots, and even Pink Flamingos, provides telescopes for curious naturalists. An eco-museum has been created to show the diversity of the site in fauna and flora. The park was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
An other exciting place for bird-watching in Tunis is the island of Chikly in the Lake of Tunis. This island can be seen from the TGM commuter rail or the road that links Tunis to La Goulette. It hosts a Spanish fort built in the 16th century, and provides an opportunity to see some species that come for wintering or nesting like the Black-Necked Grebe and the Eurasian Spoonbill.
Ornithology as a part of eco-tourism contributes in the development of the Tunisian interior regions as many of the country’s parks, lakes, and hills are located in the interior. An average one-person trip to one of the national wonders of Tunisia’s interior costs around 120€ per day. This kind of tourism also doesn’t require large, luxurious hotels with big swimming pools; visitors can connect with local culture by arranging for a local family to host them.
Eurasian Spoonbill

Tarek Nefzi, one of the few guides in Tunisia specializing in eco-tourism and environmental education, said that the main reason this kind of tourism is not as popular as it could be is the absence of good advertising. He also reported that the proper education at the Tunisian schools of tourism is not available.