Photographer's Note

Folk art museum, Sfax

In a XVIIIth century patrician house, in the heart of the medina of the capital of the south, a regional museum of popular arts and traditions has been established.
The house itself was bequeathed by one of the great families of the Sfaxian bourgeoisie and is in the pure classical style of stately Tunisian houses, behind a relatively modest façade. The four T shaped rooms are laid out around a square courtyard, one on each side. The “reception area” opposite the entranceway, was flanked by alcoves on each side that were used as storerooms and with at each end of the main part of the room, a recess designed for holding a bed. The rooms were self contained apartments generally occupied by the descendants grouped around the patriarch. Dar Jallouli is built on two floors.
These rooms, especially those on the ground floor, portray reconstructed scenes from traditional daily life in the city of Sfax marked by the urban-rural duality, since the population spent a good part of the year in their jnen (type of farm) that lay on the outskirts of the city until recently.


Sfax (Arabic: صفاقس‎, Safaqis, or /sfa:qs/ in Tunisian Arabic, whence the French name) is a city in Tunisia, located 270 km (168 miles) southeast of Tunis. The city, founded in AD 849 on the ruins of Taparura and Thaenae, is the capital of the Sfax governorate, and a Mediterranean port on the Gulf of Gabes. Sfax has population of 340,000 (2005), and is an industrial center for processing phosphates. The city is often described as Tunisia's Second city, because only Tunis has more inhabitants.


By the end of the 10th century Sfax had become an independent city state. The city was conquered by Roger of Sicily in 1148 and occupied until it was liberated in 1156 by local forces, and was briefly occupied by European forces again, this time by the Spanish, in the 16th century. Sfax became an integral base of the Barbary piracy, prompting an unsuccessful invasion by Venice in 1785. In the late 19th century Sfax and the rest of Tunisia were conquered by France and incorporated into the French empire. During World War II, the Axis powers used the city as a major base until they were defeated by British forces. After World War II, Tunisia was returned to France only to gain independence in 1956. (Source: & wikipedia)

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Additional Photos by George Rumpler (Budapestman) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 8900 W: 3 N: 20435] (82620)
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