Testour Tourist Attractions
Situation and characteristicsThe pretty little farming town of Testour lies on the banks of the Oued Medjerda. It has a small but very busy market.HistoryIn the 17th century Muslim refugees from Andalusia (Moriscos) settled on the banks of the Medjerda and founded a town on the site of ancient Tichilla. The town of Testour still has an Andalusian aspect.AccessTestour lies on GP 5 (Tunis-Le Kef), 80km/50mi southeast of Tunis. There are regular bus services to and from Tunis.EventsThe Malouf Festival of classical Andalusian music is held here annually in June.
Southwest of Testour, just off GP 5, is Ain Tounga, with the remains of Roman Thignica, situated at the foot of Djebel Laouej (466m/1,529ft). The Roman town lay on the important road from Carthage to Sicca Veneria (Le Kef). Higher up, dominating the road, is a sixth century Byzantine fortress built of stone taken from earlier Roman buildings. Trapezoid in shape, with five square corner towers, it is one of the best preserved Byzantine fortresses in Tunisia.Beyond the citadel, on the slopes of the hill, are the remains of the ancient town, which was granted the status of municipium by Severus Alexander in the third century. Among the features that can readily be identified are stretches of the town walls, a small triumphal arch, the remains of a temple of Mercury and of baths, a number of dwelling-houses and a small temple of Caelestis (the Roman name for the Punic goddess Tanit). Lower down is a small amphitheater.
Spanish influence is clearly recognizable in the Great Mosque in Testour. Its minaret, built of undressed stone and brick, has a square base and an octagonal upper section decorated with multicolored tiles (20th century). The inner courtyard of the mosque is surrounded by arcades, borne (as are the arches in the nine-aisled prayer hall) on antique columns with Corinthian capitals.
Lake Sidi Salem
7km/4.5mi northwest of Testour, at the foot of Djebel Skhira, is the 34km/21mi long artificial lake of Sidi Salem, which supplies water for the irrigation of extensive areas of agricultural land around Testour, on Cap Bon and in the Medjerda valley, as well as for Tunis, the towns on Cap Bon and Sousse. From the top of Djebel Skhira there are superb views.
Zaouia of Sidi Naceur
In the south of Testour is the Zaouia of Sidi Nacer el Garouachi (1733), conspicuous with its beautiful green-tiled dome. It is now occupied by an elementary school (which can be visited). Immediately adjoining is the tomb of a 16th century Jewish holy man named Es Saad Rebbi Fradji Chaoua who was born in Fez (Morocco) and died in Testour. There is an annual pilgrimage to his tomb.