Nabeul Tourist Attractions
Chief town of the governorate of NabeulSituation and characteristicsNabeul, the largest town on Cap Bon, lies at the southeastern end of the peninsula, near the long sandy beach which extends round the Gulf of Hammamet.
Together with Hammamet, 10km/6mi down the coast, Nabeul forms the second largest holiday center in Tunisia, but still contrives to retain something of its original character. It is surrounded by an intensively cultivated agricultural region, producing fruit and vegetables whicb are sold in the town's important Friday market. Nabeul is also famed as the principal center of Tunisian craft production, particularly for its traditional pottery trade (which has been given a considerable boost by tourism) and for the perfumes manufactured here. Much sought after, too, are Nabeul's plaited mats, stone-carving, embroidery and woven fabrics.Most of the hotels are situated to the south of the town, in the direction of Hammamet, with one or two more exclusive establishments on the Kelibia road to the north. Altogether the town has some twelve hotel complexes with some 6,000 beds.HistoryAncient Neapolis (Greek, the "new town"), situated directly on the coast, was originally a Carthaginian foundation of the fifth century B.C. During the Third Punic War it was occupied by the Romans. In the second century A.D. it was given the status of a colonia, and in 256 it became the see of a bishop. In the 16th and 17th centuries it provided a home for refugees from Andalusia, whose influence on the local crafts, particularly on the pottery, is still evident.AccessNabeul, 70km/43mi southeast of Tunis and the international airport of Tunis-Carthage, can be reached on either the motorway or GP 1 to Hammamet and MC 28 from there.From the station in Avenue Habib Bourguiba there are rail services to Tunis and Hammamet/Bir Bou Rekba, with connections to Sousse and Sfax. From the bus station (Gare Routière) on the Hammamet road there are services to Tunis, Hammamet, Korbous, El Haouaria, Soliman, Kairouan, Zaghouan, Sousse and the international airport of Tunis-Carthage.
In Avenue Habib Bourguiba in Nabeul, diagonally opposite the railroad station, is the small but very interesting Archeological Museum.In the entrance hall are a historical map of Cap Bon and a plan of ancient Neapolis.Room I (to the left of the entrance hall) displays material of the Punic period (seventh-fourth century B.C.), including pottery, oil lamps, jewelry and coins, mostly from excavations at Kerkouane (see Cap Bon, Tour of the Peninsula). In the corridor are finds of Punic and Roman material from the Bir Bou Rekba area.Also of interest are the clay statues of the Carthaginian deities Baal Hammon and Tanit, showing that the Punic religion lingered on even after the Roman conquest.In the inner courtyard are a number of fine Roman mosaics, including examples from Kelibia (second/third century A.D.) and Neapolis (fourth century); a collection of Roman stelae (fourth century); and fragments of statues.
A stroll through the souks in Nabeul, with their tempting displays of the products of the town's potters, stone-carvers and weavers, is recommended to all visitors. The predominant colors of the pottery are green (a mixture of lead and copper oxides) and yellow (lead and antimony). The technique was originally introduced in the 17th century by a family from Djerba. The simple geometric designs go back to ancient models.It is worth enquiring beforehand in the showrooms of ONAT (Organization Nationale de l'Artisanat Tunisien) in Avenue Habib Thameur about the quality and prices of local products.
Nabeul is predominantly a modern town. A few scanty remains of ancient Neapolis were found during the construction of the Hotel Neapolis and near the Hotel Jasmin, including an establishment for the manufacture of garum, a sauce made from pickled fish which was much favored by the Romans and remained popular throughout Europe into the Middle Ages.
Place du 7 Novembre
The hub of Nabeul's life, with banks, restaurants and shops, is the Place du 7 Novembre, at the intersection of Avenue Habib Thameur, coming from Hammamet (with its continuation Avenue Farhat Hached), and Avenue Habib Bourguiba, which runs up from the coast. Here too is Nabeul's municipal emblem, the symbol of its old-established pottery trade - a huge painted pottery jar with a tree growing out of it.
The once famous camel market in Nabeul held on Fridays is now a mere tourist attraction. It is less crowded in the early morning.
Nabeul, like Hammamet, is a good base for excursions in the surrounding area.
5km/3mi northeast of Dar Chaabane is the weavers' village of Beni Khiar, whose woolen blankets, articles of clothing and kelims find a ready market among foreign visitors. Here too is Nabeul's fishing harbor.
The craftsmen's village of Dar Chaabane, 2km/1.25mi northeast of Nabeul, is famed for its stone-carvers, whose work is found in doorways and windows all over Tunisia.
20km/12.5mi northeast of Nabeul is Korba, a bird watcher's paradise, home to Roman ruins and a Festival of Young Theatre annually in August.
Es Somaa, 8.5km/5.25mi from Nabeul, is noted for its plaited mats.
Map of Nabeul Attractions