"the invisible chenini" Shanini by call_me_rhia

Shanini Travel Guide: 47 reviews and 93 photos

Chenini is a ksour not too far from Gabes, and out of the 4 I have visited it's the best preserved of them: most of its old Berber buildings and granaries are still intact. From the parking lot near the restaurant you can walk up the trail that leads you through it - it's a 15 minutes really easy but charming walk.

the setting of it all

Imagine brown ochre valleys, imagine nothing grows there, and imagine no people around. This is the Chenini area. Imagine you can't see where the mountain finishes and where the village starts, because they are of the same shade. They are a bit like two organisms in symbiosis: one can't exist without the other. This is Chenini too.
The village is built in ochre bricks right on the slope of the barren ochre mountain, and sometimes even inside. The only building that stands out is a little white (recently built) mosque right by the side of the village. The name, translated, is Mosque of the Seven Sleepers.

inside and outside

Inside and outside the north face of the mountain people in the past have been busy building. First they dug a small cave, then they made it larger and turned it into a house, then a few rooms were added outside. Then a few above - then they joined it together with a nearby other cave. Eventually a granary/village/fortess for 2000 people was built.

Chenini was until quite recently one of the few remaining places in Tunisia where true Berber language was still spoken. Today, knowledge of this remains, and the older women use it, but all youn people, girls and boys, use Arabic as their first language. The whole village holds around 2-3000 inhabitants, and as is the case with Douiret, many have moved into the newer settlement 2 km down the road.

  • Intro Written Sep 8, 2002
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Reviews (4)

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Comments (5)

  • JLBG's Profile Photo
    Aug 31, 2007 at 10:35 AM

    Excellent page and now, it is at the right place !

  • vesna04's Profile Photo
    Aug 19, 2003 at 11:32 AM

    Everything in this page is excellent: the photos, naration, tips...thanks !

  • herzog63's Profile Photo
    Feb 20, 2003 at 12:41 PM

    Sounds like Relais Chenini is the best choice! Fantastic photos! I would love to wander around the old Berber village!

  • zrim's Profile Photo
    Feb 6, 2003 at 3:48 PM

    The contrast in the seven mosque photo is beautiful.

  • xaver's Profile Photo
    Nov 25, 2002 at 8:09 AM

    if there are cats around a restaurant at least you can think they are not cooked for you

call_me_rhia

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