Beja is located 105 km (sixty miles) from Tunis (The capital), in the North of the country. It's famous for its nature, Archaeological and World Heritage sites and the iconic Fifth Bridge. Beja was an important city during the Phoenician, Carthaginian and Roman eras. The presence of these ancient civilisations can be seen in many sites in Beja as well in the museums.
Tourism is an under-exploited sector in this government despite the existence of a several activities to do there and it is easily accessible thanks to the highway Tunis-Oued Zargua and the rail network linking the capital to the west of the country as well.
Beja is 65km from the International Airport of Tabarka and 100 km from the ports of Bizerte.
We will try to provide in this topic a must-do list there.
1- The Ruins of Dougga
This is the first important must-do point in Beja.
Dougga is an Archaeological and a World Heritage Site. There you can discover an archaeological site covering 65 hectares. This city contains the best preserved ruins of ancient Rome in all North Africa. Which gives the visitors a clear idea about Roman ancient life.
Among the most important monuments to see in this site are :
A Roman temple principally dedicated to Rome’s protective triad: Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva.
This Capitol is one of the most well preserved in the world.
The temple front's Corinthian columns are 8m tall, on top of which is an astonishing conserved pediment.
Decorated with a beautiful facade of Corinthian columns and a mosaic-tiled stage. It is one of the best preserved in the world. This theatre had a capacity for 3,500 people
Built in 222 and 235 AD. The temples' tenemos are shaped like a crescent, a traditional symbol of Juno.
The only Christian building that has been so far excavated at Dougga
There are also many other temples, a circus, baths, amphitheater, Mosaics ... etc.
In a few words : If you're planning to visit Tunisia, you should visit Dougga.
Dougga is one hour from Tunis by car over good roads which are well marked and signposted.
There is parkings and coffees and it's easy to find a tour guide there.
Don't miss this historical city !
2- Teboursouk City
After the ruins of Dougga, consider visiting Teboursouk as well. You will like seeing the Byzantine Fort there and enjoy the details and decoration of its walls. Locals call this fort "Al-Gsar". Take a moment to visit the old town and the great mosque of Teboursouk as well.
Teboursouk is a tiny town and just 6 km away from Dougga. After spending a few hours on this tour between Dougga and Teboursouk, it's most likely time for a delicious meal. Tebersouk is the recommended place to start your first dish of local food in Beja !
3- 5th Bridge
For more than 100 years this bridge has been the symbol of Beja. In one word, it is iconic.
It's one of the majestic places in Tunisia where you can enjoy the beautiful fields of sunflowers, meditate and wonder !
Take your picnic food, spend a few hours there and just immerse in the charm of mother nature !
4- Djebba City
Djebba is a small hilltop village in Beja. It's known for its archaeological and prehistoric wealth. Djebba or Thigibba Bure (old Roman name) was a lively city during the Roman era. The archaeological site includes megalithic tombs, inscriptions and other ruins that may indicate the presence of Numidian and Carthaginian ruins as well. However, unlike Dougga, The ruins are located in different parts of the city.
Djebba is also known for its nature and beautiful landscapes since it's a tiny hilltop city. On top of that its economy is based on agriculture. There is a variety of fruit tree but the most crops are figs, quince and olives. You might enjoy the nature and the view there. You can visit the beautiful natural park, mountains and the caves as well !
It's also recommended to do some shopping to bring back some memories from the city.
5- Testour City
Testour was established by Muslim and Jewish communities fleeing the Spanish Inquisition in the early seventeenth. Therefore this city is characterized by the Moorish architecture which makes it one of the very special cities in Tunisia with a blend of Spanish and Mudejar influences.
One of the amazing places in Testour, where you can feel the touch of the Andalusian style, is the Great Mosque.
Located in the center of the old town. With an octagonal shaped minarete, 23 meters.
The facade of the minaret is opened with small double windows decorated with glazed inscriptions and a mechanical clock at the top.
The clock runs counterclockwise, to make the people of Testour feel like time could bring them back to their glorious back and their homes In Andalusia someday.
The prayer hall of the mosque and the courtyard (or the Sahn) located in the center of the mosque, can accommodate up to 1000 worshipers.
Testour is perched on the hills of Medjerda valley. It was built on the Roman remains of Tichilla, the old city. So make sure to visit the ruins as well.
The city hosts an international festival of Malouf and traditional Maghrebi music as well.
Many Jews come to Testour for pilgrimage to visit Rabbi Fraji Chawat's tomb each year.
Beja is the home of many awesome landscapes and a rich nature. All the cities and places listed above have many beautiful views like the 5th Bridge, Testour, Djebba and Teboursouk. So make sure to visit these places if you are looking for nature !
However, I want also to add to that list some other wonderful places like :
- Barrage Sidi El Barak, near Nefza and Cap Negro. A view on one of the largest dams of Tunisia, it's in the middle of the forest as well !
- Sidi Salem Dam near Oued Zarga.
- Khroufa Nature Reserve Museum. A ecotourism circuit In the Khroufa montaigne.
7- Ain Tounga: a small Dougga
If you ever liked Dougga then you might consider visiting Ain Tounga as well.
Ain Tounga is an archaeological site. It was built before the Roman era. Named Thignica. It is also linked to Saint Augustine of Hippo, one of the Church Fathers, for his sermon which remains famous until today.
The monuments of Ain Tounga are smaller and less preserved than those of Dougga. But it includes many important parts of the old Roman cities.
- Dar Ejdoud Dougga : A restaurant near Dougga ruins. It includes a swimming pool and is built with traditional architecture.
- Dar Beja : Located at Beja city. Tunisian and Mediterranean cuisine. You can order in this restaurant "Couscous Bourzgene", a Beja city specialty. It's a famous Couscous usually made at weddings. It's white couscous with lamb and all sorts of nuts : pistachios, pine nuts, walnuts and raisins. And a bit of sugar. It is usually made at weddings.
- Borj Lella. Located at Nefza. A restaurant with a wonderful landscape view and delicious cuisine.
- Alrawabi Hotel. Located in Nefza. You will find nice comfortable rooms (TV, private bathroom, shower, air conditioning ... etc), garden, terrace and free parking with other facilities. If you are planning to visit Beja this is a good hotel where to stay for a few days.
- Verger des Montagnes. Located in Testour, the amazing Andalusian city. This cottage, overlooking the slope of Mount El Hindi, is only 6km away from Sidi Salem Dam. If you're planning to visit Testour and Sidi Salem Dam this is a good place for accommodation.
10- Cap Negro
Beja has also a nice coastal city called Cap Negro. This is a paradise located between the Mediterranean and a forest. Only a few people know about this amazing beach so make sure to visit it and enjoy tranquillity and serenity. The road is a little bit difficult though, but it's totally worth it !