Attracting artists such as André Gide and Paul Klee, Hammamet has become ultra tourist resort in the space of half a century. The city is a little gem which a Tunisian billionaire made his garden. Since then, the city has gained popularity and became a city essential to discover during your stay in Tunisia.
Despite the thousands of tourists who invade each year, the city has retained a certain charm. Its medina, surrounded by ramparts, is home to the souks of fabrics and perfumes. The narrow streets and flowers are an invitation to a slow wandering. If you come in spring, you will smell the fragrance of orange blossoms. We almost forget to visit the magnificent villa Sebastian to the west of the city.
Facing the beach are many hotels built in Moorish style. Latest, the Yasmine Hammamet Resort, just 6 minutes from the city. This complex is composed of fifty hotels, restaurants, a marina, an amusement park (CarthageLand) and even the restoration of the medina!
Not far, Nabeul is a more authentic small village. It is a mecca for craft in Tunisia. This city has earned its acclaim thanks to its manufacture of ceramics and mats. The waters of orange blossoms, jasmine or geranium are another of its know-how. The market, on Friday morning, is attracting a crowd of tourists and Tunisians across the region. If you are going, do not hesitate to bargain.
Hammamet would not be what it is today if a man did not install it in the 1930s. The man, Georges Sebastian, was a rich billionaire Romanian. Fascinated by this little paradise on earth, he built a magnificent house. He then invited his friends who in turn decided to build villas in the medina, or in the vicinity of Hammamet. Thus the fame of this village flies.
If one goes back further in time, we discover Hammamet was a small town named Pupput in Roman times. On the current site of Pupput, you can see houses and a Roman necropolis. Part of the site is still under excavation.
It was not until the thirteenth century to speak of a real city. The Hafsid Ottomans built Bourguiba Mosque and its walls. The city made certain great strides at that time. In the sixteenth century, the Spanish built the Kasbah (citadel). At the end of the fifteenth century until the early seventeenth century, Hammamet descended into a phase of decline. The reign of Mouradites Dynasty and agricultural development restarted the growth of the city.
In 1881 began the period of the French protectorate. The French brought in Hammamet the railways, electricity and telephone. The city is transformed and became a holiday resort that attracts Europeans at the beginning of the twentieth.
Dating from the mid-fifteenth century, the Medina of Hammamet is surrounded by white walls. Housed in a restricted area, the old city is easy to travel on foot. White houses and fondouks (these inns where merchants were selling their goods and spend the night) will mark your route.
The Souk meanwhile occupies a single street! Do not hope to find anything else other than tourist items. Wait until you are in another city (for example in Nabeul) to buy hand-crafted products.
The Kasbah, built in the fifteenth century on an old fort, was the neighborhood of the foreign Legion. From there, you'll have a beautiful view over the medina, its rooftops, terraces and the bay of Hammamet. You will be able to take visit the Christian cemetery. Jammed between the walls and the sea, away from the tumult of the city, it offers a moment of tranquility. But the Muslim cemetery neighbor cannot be visited.
Follow your visit by the splendid Sebastian's villa (avenue des Nations Unies). Formerly home of Romanian billionaire George Sebastian, it became state property in 1959 and now houses the International Cultural Center. George Sebastian, seduced by the place, it was installed in 1920 and had built this elegant villa in Arabic-Muslim style.
The house has a swimming pool in white marble, with a bathroom outside the joint and beautiful furniture of the 1930s. In the 14 acres of botanical gardens flourish over 300 species. A theater was built in the gardens in 1964 by Paul Chemetov to host the international festival of Hammamet.