Tunisian Heritage Tour (9n/10d)

Sufetula was an important centre of Christianity in the 4th Century

Sufetula was an important centre of Christianity in the 4th Century

Day 1:  Arrival
Arrive at the international airport of Tunis. Experience It! Tours will meet you and take you to your hotel. Depending on time and energy levels, we suggest you take a walk to get a feel of the Tunisia culture and country.

Day 2:  Hammamet
Take a slow morning to enjoy the hotel pool and surrounds after your long flight. In the afternoon, you visit a small museum that depicts the 3 faiths (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) of Tunisia.

Day 3:  Carthage – Tunis Medina.
After breakfast, we depart to the 7th century AD Medina of Tunis which is a World Heritage site. The Medina is a bustling centre for crafts and souvenirs. It also houses the Zitouna Mosque which is of great significance to Tunisian history. Walk the narrow maze-like alleys while your mind races back to the pre-French era.  After lunch we set off to Carthage, another World Heritage site, founded by the Phoenicians hundreds of years BC. This city was only 2nd to Rome in importance and prominence. This was home to church fathers like Tertullian and St Cyprian and where St Augustine of Hippo worked. We will explore Byrsa Hill, the Antonian baths and the St Louis Cathedral (1899).

Day 4:  Hammamet-Sousse-El Jem-Kairouan.
This morning we set off to Sousse, a charming coastal town where modern life blends easily with yesteryear. We visit the catacombs that run for more than 5km under parts of Sousse. This is where Christians hid and buried their dead during persecutions. About 15,000 graves from the 4th an 5th century are found here.  With the impact of the catacombs still fresh in our memories, we visit El Jem with its imposing and very well preserved Roman coliseum. This was fun-time for the Romans where they observed condemned man fighting beasts. From El Jem we visit the holy city of Kairouan.. The Raiders of the Lost Ark was filmed here. It is said that 4 pilgrimages to Kairouan equals one to Mecca. Learn of Islam, its impact on North Africa and its spread.

Day 5: Kairouan
Kairoaun was found in AD670, a mere 40 years after the death of the prophet Muhammad.  For a start, we visit the Great Mosque (AD 670), the center of North Africa’s most holiest city.The medina (old walled in city) of Kairoaun is different from others in the country, dating back to the 8th century, testifies to its historical and religious value . We visit Bir Barouta that holds the story of the city’s origin. Its water is reportedly connected to the well of Zem-Zem in Mecca.

Day 6:  Kairouan – Sbeitla- Tozeur
Today we go to Sbeitla. Sufetula (in Sbeitla) was an important centre for Christianity during the 4th century. Ruins of numerous temples and churches testify of its importance during the Roman reign. We then turn towards the Sahara desert. Tozeur is a large oasis with thousands of date palm trees. Tunisia is well known for its dates from Tozeur.

Day 7: Tozeur
Today is a rest day, but we offer these optional extras for those who want to see the surrounds: • A ride on the Red Lizard Train that snakes its way through canyons and the changing landscape of that surrounds Tozeur. Its wooden carriages will remind of you what your grandfather tried to explain. • The half-day tour through Chebika, Tamerza and the Mides. This is a combination of the famous mountain oasis at the foothills of the Atlas, Tamerza with its refreshing waterfalls and Mides on the edge of a magnificent canyon.

Day 8:  Tozeur – Matmata – Djerba
After breakfast we leave for Djerba, by way of Matmata. Matmata boasts the dwellings of the first inhabitants of Tunisia, the Berbers. Their cave-like homes are still used. Some of these homes were opened for tourists to view. We drink local tea in one of these homes that makes for a very different experience to remember. At Ajim we cross over to Djerba by ferry. People living in Djerba always refer to themselves as different from the rest of Tunisia. You have to experience this yourself.

Day 9:  Djerba
After breakfast, we take a tour of the island. We visit the Jewish stronghold in El Ghriba. It is said that some Jews settled here after the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BC. A synagogue was built that attracts visitors to the annual Pass-over festival around the month of May. As a bonus, we also visit the pottery capital and Berber base of the island. The Berbers, originally from Egypt, settled here during the early centuries AD. The afternoon is free to relax as you please.

Day 10:  Djerba – Tunis
Morning flight back to Tunis to meet your international flight out of the country.

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