Tunisia: Tabarka

TABARKA IS JUST 22 km (14miles) from the Algerianborder and is one of thegreenest towns in Tunisia. Itspicturesque setting includesbeaches to the north andgentle hills overgrown withcork oak, pine and mimosa tothe south.The town stands on the siteof a former Phoeniciancolony, Thabraca. DuringRoman times Tabarka was animportant port used forshipping grain from Béja andmarble from Chemtou toRome. As well as its forestsfull of game, Tabarka’sgreatest asset was its coralreef. In the 16th century theexclusive rights to coralfishing were granted to theGenoese who built anoffshore fort close by. Withthe advent of the FrenchProtectorate, in 1881, coralrights were taken up by theFrench and Tabarka and LeKef were two of the firsttowns to be occupied.Tabarka is quite small. Itcentres round two streetsrunning parallel to the coast,where most of its restaurantsand cafés can be found. The red-tiled roofs of the buy it for this reason.Genoese fort can be seenfrom almost any point intown but the best view isfrom the jetty. The beautifully located hotel Les Mimosasalso affords a magnificentpanoramic view of the town,the gulf and the surrounding area. A little further west fromthe harbour stands an ochre coloured rock formation –Les Aiguilles (The Needles), sharpened by the constanterosion of wind and rain.A Cork Museum is a shortway out of town on the roadleading to Aïn Draham. Itprovides information on corkproduction in this area. Tabarka has quiet beachesand a number of golf courses. It also has some of Tunisia’sbest diving. About 60 km (37miles) north of Tabarka is the Galite archipelago, which canbe reached by boat from Tabarka. Details can beobtained from any of Tabarka’sdiving clubs.


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