Tunisia, an Underrated Architectural Jewel in the Mediterranean

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unisian architecture is often associated with the stereotypical white houses with blue doors and windows found in coastal cities, best represented by Sidi Bou Said. This however, doesn't do its heritage justice, as the history of Tunisia is no better represented than by the different architectural styles found in its various regions.

Troglodyte architecture

The Amazigh village of Matmata is perhaps the most famous for having featured in Star Wars Episode IV in 1976. Underground cave-like houses, called troglodyte structures, remain a unique sight, with some houses being interconnected by passages dug inside each one.

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Ibadite architecture

The island of Djerba, known for maintaining not only its Amazigh identity but also its Jewish heritage, is characterized by simplistic white buildings, an architectural style generated with Ibadi Islam. The strikingly white buildings are complemented by shades of blue and green from the Mediterranean landscapes around the island.

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Clay Brick Architecture

Specific to the cities of Tozeur and Nefta, the distinctive yellow clay brick is produced locally and is used to build foundations and decorate structures with interesting geometric patterns.

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Andalusian/Moorish architecture

Unlike the southern regions of Tunisia, the north, in cities like Tunis, Kairouan, or Testour to name a few, has inherited architectural styles from the early Islamic era, with Hispano-Moorish mosques and buildings most commonly found in medinas.

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Roman architecture

Perhaps the most impressive is El Jem, considered to be the largest Colosseum outside of Italy. Despite the passage of numerous Muslim Empires, Roman structures have survived, another example of their persistence being the Roman pools in Gafsa.

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