"the invisible chenini" Shanini by call_me_rhia
Shanini Travel Guide: 47 reviews and 93 photos
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 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.
Walk up the narrow trail to the old granaries and look at their architecture and how they blend right into the desert... more travel advice
A Ksar is a Berber fortress, its plural is ksour. The Ksours were originally designed as grain stores with many rooms.... more travel advice
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