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Capital of music: Tabarka, the charmer

Built at the bottom of a bay that sinks into the steep and wooded massif of the Kroumirie mountains, at the outlet of the Kebir wadi, Tabarka-La Jolie, as we like to call it so aptly, is a small town in the North-West who, speaking of her, no one has been able to do it without talking nonsense.

Garden city, capital of music, Tabarka has inspired poets, writers, novelists, from the big day to the last of the rhymers. It is not possible here to enumerate the number of famous men and women who have set foot on its soil or navigated its waters. Hadrian, Hanon, Darghouth, Sanson Napollon, Saint Cyprien, Sainte Maxime, La Kahena or even Cesaria Evora, Léo Ferré, Louis Aragon, illustrious and unknown all bowed before this land of such astonishing contrasts.

Sung by poets, haunted by legends, described by croque-notes, Tabarka, deflowered a thousand times, remains pure and keeps an unequaled peace.

Delighted to inhale a perfume of exoticism and adventure at low cost, the traveler who will have liked to grasp the triumphant power of the site, caresses of the sun, splashes of color, the scents of the Mediterranean, the bewitching scents of mimosas, rosemary, jasmine, lavender, will find themselves won over by the exquisite grace of a caress in the incomparable freshness of the undergrowth or the light breeze of the beaches.

Is it in the grandeur of the scenery that surrounds us, is there anything more beautiful than these needles pointing to the sky or its genoa fort which stands proudly? A universe raised in its first purity above the salty waters which engendered the worlds and to which the music of the festivals came to add charm and conviction.

Village drowned in the forest of chestnut trees and their inextricable maquis where the work of men, surrounded by that of nature, quickly loses its borders to blend into the harmony of the landscape, once visited, we leave it with memories of love and the irresistible desire to return.

Rough bites of forest in the very heart of the city, streets clinging to the mountain, in the middle of vineyards and gardens descending towards the transparent waters of the port, low houses with red roofs clinging to the sides of the massif which support each other as if to better resist the storms and repel conquests, the city of Tabarka, thanks to its climate renowned for its tonic and invigorating qualities, for its perfectly salubrious and that the form of exposure sheltered from too harsh attacks and from the sirocco, offers since the dawn of time to its visitors a magnificent place of wintering and a superb place of vacation.

Its kasbah and its fort, picturesquely planted on the rock of its marvelous cornice from which we discover an admirable landscape, constitute, with an arid island 400 meters from the city, crowned with an old fort and ruins, haughty ghosts of the splendor of yesteryear and give it a somewhat wild and very particular charm.

Another natural curiosity of Tabarka awaits you at the first bend of its famous needle walk where the games of the sea on the rocks are as attractive as the seabed where the coral, this animal of the warm seas, has become the symbolic effigy of Tabarka.

Indeed, 250 meters from the port, appears a promontory of rocky needles in sandstone that the sea has sculpted in the form of stone laces. The patient erosion of the waters has constructed there unfinished images reminiscent of the bas-reliefs broken in antiquity or Hindu frescoes.

Thank you Mr President

In the afternoon, the esplanade, the last parcel ingeniously torn from the “Montazah Tabarka” housing estate and converted into basketball courts, pétanque courts, tennis courts and a children’s play area, attracts hundreds of young and old, couples and families who gather around some sporting and recreational activities.

On our way to Tabarka International Airport, tourist transfer shuttles follow one another at a brisk pace. On the way back, at the entrance to the tourist route, a pretty fishing boat has definitely anchored at the first roundabout. It is not the only monument of embellishment that we will meet on our way because a few kilometers further, just in front of the Dar Smaïl hotel, we find ourselves facing a giant saxophone which reflects the jazz identity of the town.

Two other monuments, a double bass and a giant coral, arouse great controversy as to the places where they should be located because, it must be recognized, in each district of the city, one claims its right to a better visibility of the sea. .

Music concerts

But in Tabarka, we run there with a flat stomach also to share with a public from all walks of life the magical atmosphere created by colorful concerts that Tabarka, city of music, invites one-night walkers to discover a magical site while vibrating to the exalted sounds of passionate musicians welcomed on one summer time. Friendly, colorful, cheerful, like an apple that you bite into with your teeth, it’s a festival where you put your heart, passion for jazz and festive and swaying music. It is therefore a subtle stroll where the soul of the ancestors crosses without a hitch the most turbulent technologies. A mix where the secular tradition clashes harmoniously with the futuristic vision of music and where everyone will find their bearings. It is a festival that plays in the big leagues and aims to become one of the great jazz festivals in the world.

Indeed, conceived as a factor of animation of a living area, embellishment, structuring of urban or regional spaces, requalification of districts or degraded sites, festivals can also make it possible to improve the quality and living environment. But given the tourist vocation of the city of Tabarka, culture can also act to improve the attractiveness of a city or region. It can, as such, represent a powerful criterion for the establishment of businesses and therefore for economic development. Thus, local actors have understood that by promoting new synergies between social, economic and cultural aspects, it is possible to achieve a more balanced development. This also explains the support of the public authorities for these events, in this case the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, the governorate of Jendouba, the town hall of Tabarka and private companies.

Thermal, forest and cultural

But the traveler in too much of a hurry who neglects to include other neighboring cities in Tabarka on his itinerary would be depriving himself of a rare treat and would only take away an incomplete vision of this Tunisian land with its astonishing contrasts of which it presents one of the aspects the lesser known.

In fact, beyond Tabarka and as far as Cap Negro, there are large sand dunes of a velvety yellow similar to liquid gold which are already appealing to the interest of an Italian investor who intends to realize, thanks to a colossal investment, a new generation tourism project. And for good reason, the tourist product of the North-West with its seaside component (Tabarka, Zouaraa, Sidi Mechrig), its cultural component (Chemtou, Dougga, Bulla Regia, Le Kef), its thermal component (Hammam Bourguiba, Gouaïdia), its lake component (Beni Mtir, Bou Hertma, Mellegue) and its magnificent forest component (Aïn Draham, Kesra, Aïn Soltane, Sakiet, Makthar), constitutes an exceptional panoply of products with high added value able to offer the visitor a quality stay with a very strong cultural charge.

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