Tozeur, lush and bountiful oasis in southern Tunisia

by Rashmee

Posted on June 2, 2018


Tozeur is a lush and bountiful oasis dotted with “palmeries” as they call them here. These are farms – of date palms. The more ingenious grow a great deal else too – pomegranates, figs, peaches, bananas and various vegetables. The oasis is enormous – and rich – fed by hot springs and carefully tended like … Continue reading “Tozeur, lush and bountiful oasis in southern Tunisia”

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Tozeur in southern Tunisia wears its storied history fairly lightly

by Rashmee

Posted on June 1, 2018


    Aboul-Qacem Echebbi, the 20th century poet whose style is admired throughout the Arab world and is responsible for the current Tunisian anthem, belonged to Tozeur. So did Ibn Chabbat, the 13th century engineer who built this oasis-city’s sophisticated, still-functioning irrigation system. The city has commemorated both men in stone. For Echebbi, whose poetry … Continue reading “Tozeur in southern Tunisia wears its storied history fairly lightly”

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Tunisia: ‘Menu Ramadanesque’ and other delights

by Rashmee

Posted on May 31, 2018


Ahead of iftar, when the day’s fast ends during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, the streets are deathly quiet. In the Tunis Medina (see photographs), there’s hardly anyone abroad. Those same venues will be heaving by 9 pm. In the supermarkets, they start making the zalabiya, the deep-fried syrup-soaked sweets that are faintly reminiscent … Continue reading “Tunisia: ‘Menu Ramadanesque’ and other delights”

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In Tamezret, Tunisia, a 2,000-year-old Berber kitchen in a mountain cave

by Rashmee

Posted on May 29, 2018


In Tamezret, a mostly abandoned mountain-top Berber village in southern Tunisia, we meet Monji Bouras, who runs Le Musee Berbere de Tamezret. Mr Bouras, an architect who left Tunis to return to his Berber home, started the museum 18 years ago out of a passion to preserve and tell the story of the Amazigh people. … Continue reading “In Tamezret, Tunisia, a 2,000-year-old Berber kitchen in a mountain cave”

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Visiting the Ben Nasrs in their troglodyte house, Matmata, Tunisia

by Rashmee

Posted on May 28, 2018


We turn up at the Ben Nasrs’ family home in western Matmata. Here’s a handy landmark, we’re told, to find the house. Two round domes, denoting the tombs of marabouts or holy men, stand in the hills almost exactly in front of the house. (I’m not sure that’s enough to get me there!) The Ben … Continue reading “Visiting the Ben Nasrs in their troglodyte house, Matmata, Tunisia”

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Tunisia’s troglodytes follow a different script from Star Wars

by Rashmee

Posted on May 27, 2018 / The Arab Weekly


MATMATA, Tunisia — Najet sits in her kitchen about 6 metres below ground level. It has no running water nor any of the other basic conveniences much of the world takes for granted but Najet has no plans to leave the 300-year-old house in the southern Tunisian town of Matmata. “It’s cooler (than above ground),” she says … Continue reading “Tunisia’s troglodytes follow a different script from Star Wars”

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What meaning did Meghan Markle’s white wedding dress really have?

by Rashmee

Posted on May 21, 2018


That Meghan Markle’s elegant wedding dress was white meant really nothing at all. It didn’t really have any particular meaning, considering Ms Markle was previously married and seemed to be living with Harry before their May 19 ceremony in Windsor. It was meant to be virginal. Certainly, it had nothing of the symbolic significance Queen … Continue reading “What meaning did Meghan Markle’s white wedding dress really have?”

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A distinctly European sensibility in a Tunisian troglodyte house

by Rashmee

Posted on May 19, 2018


We walk into the Trait d’Union, Tijma, Matmata in distant south-eastern Tunisia. The Libyan border is about 150 km away. Trait d’Union is a 350-year-old troglodyte house that now takes in paying visitors. Seven generations of one troglodyte family lived there from the early 1600s. In 1967, after the natural disaster that locals call “the … Continue reading “A distinctly European sensibility in a Tunisian troglodyte house”

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Living below ground: Matmata, southern Tunisia

by Rashmee

Posted on May 18, 2018


I sit in a troglodyte structure to write this. It is a dwelling typical of Matmata and because it is 20 feet below ground, there is no connection with the world beyond this part of south-eastern Tunisia. No connection other than the memory of having come through Tamezret and Douz and beyond that, through Kebili … Continue reading “Living below ground: Matmata, southern Tunisia”

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In Old Matmata, Tunisia, they still live below the ground as for centuries

by Rashmee

Posted on May 17, 2018


Off to Matmata, the Berber town in southern Tunisia, where some of the locals still live the way their ancestors did – underground. Until 51 years ago, the troglodyte buildings were basically unknown to the world. No one knew they were there and once they did, the settlement of Matmata was built above-ground. But the … Continue reading “In Old Matmata, Tunisia, they still live below the ground as for centuries”

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Rashmee has lived and worked in several countries in the past decade, including Afghanistan, India, Haiti, Tunisia, the UAE, UK and US