The clock tower of Tunisia or the Tunisian Big Ben
The clock tower on "Square January 7, 2011" is the first place that tourists are shown during a tour of the city of Tunisia. This tower is also called the "Tunisian Big Ben", and indeed there is some similarity.
The tower (pictured on the right) does not produce any strong impression, it is used more as a guide, the guides say: "Go from the clock tower to the bank, our bus will wait there." However, it can greatly surprise, especially if you come to the city of Tunisia yourself and come here in the evening. Let's start with the history of this place.
A bit of history
Until 1987, this place was called "the area of Africa", in the center stood a large statue of Habib Bourguiba, the leader of the liberation movement and the first president of independent Tunisia.
Habib Bourguiba resigned as president in 1987. The new leader of the country was Zin el-Abidine Ben Ali, who renamed the square in "Square on November 7, 1987," in honor of his inauguration day. The monument to Habib Bourguibé was removed, moved to La Gulette, and the clock was put in the center, but these are not the watches that tourists are watching now!
Those hours the Tunisians were nicknamed the "Alarm Clock". They had a unique feature, under the dial in place of number 6 there was a figure of 7. This was explained again in the afternoon of the inauguration of President Ben Ali on November 7, The new President Ben Ali dedicated the square to his beloved.
In 2001, President Ben Ali arranged a large-scale reconstruction of the center of the city of Tunisia. Clock "Alarm" removed, in the circle equipped with a fountain with lights, and in the center put a high obelisk with a clock at the top, and this watch is now watched by tourists.
In 2011, during the Jasmine Revolution, Zin el-Abidine Ben Ali was deposed, he fled to the Arab Emirates , where he still lives. The square was renamed "Place du 14-Janvier 2011" ("Square 14 January 2011") in honor of the day of its overthrow - a magnificent irony!
Facts and Figures
The clock is at an altitude of 37 meters, the total height of the obelisk exceeds 40 meters. The diameter of the circle in which the tower is located is 35 meters.
Many sites on the Internet write that the clock tower is built in honor of the country's independence or in honor of the Jasmine Revolution. The first is doubtful, the second is absurd.
What structures inspired the tower designers? What do its parts symbolize? It is unknown, the official version of the administration of President Ben Ali is very vague, it reads: "The tower symbolizes a new era in the history of Tunisia." It is believed that the tower itself repeats the Egyptian obelisk of the times of the New Kingdom, and the clock copies the famous clock of the Lyons Railway Station in Paris.
In January 2014, in honor of the anniversary of the Jasmine Revolution, the tower was completely wrapped in a Tunisian flag, it was very beautiful.
The installation of the clock tower and the arrangement of fountains around in 2001 cost the budget 4 million Tunisian dinars .
The tower shines with a bronze color. It is made of steel, but is covered with bronze paint.
The English have a joke for tourists. They ask: "How many points do Big Ben have?" The correct answer is "0", since Big Ben is a bell in the clock tower of the Palace of Westminster, and not the clock itself. For this reason, the name "Tunisian Big Ben" is completely incorrect.
When is it better to come
During the organized excursion, nothing interesting can be seen. It will be lucky if the fountains are turned on, more often they simply do not work.
If you come to the city of Tunisia yourself and come here in the evening, you can see a real show of dancing fountains. On the perimeter of the area, speakers are installed, streams of fountains soar up to the beat of music, lighting illuminates the tower and fountains in different colors.
The show is completely free. His schedule has not been published anywhere, we'll have to rely on luck, we can not say anything about the show's days at the moment. We recommend to "catch" the show on Friday or Saturday.
Incident 10 November 2016
On Thursday, November 10, 2016, the clock tower of Tunisia was in the headlines of news around the world. The young Tunisian climbed to the tower early in the morning and started shouting different phrases from which one could clearly hear only: "Give us back Barack Obama," probably the young man was very upset by the victory in the election of Donald Trump.
A crowd gathered around the tower. The man was shot on video, the frame from which you can see on the left, click on it to enlarge. After some time, the culprit of the incident was persuaded to get down, he was detained by the police.
Neither the name of the culprit, nor his demands, nor the motives were not made public. The police said that the man was drunk, which is very strange, given that the sale of alcohol in Tunisia is seriously limited.
If you look closely, then the clock tower is very convenient for climbing, it is completely covered with holes - a mountaineer's dream. As though this case did not make lasagne on it a dangerous tradition.
Incident 15 September 2016
September 15, 2016 an unknown person parked his car in the square, he walked around the clock tower three times, shouting the name of Allah. Recall that Muslims bypass the Kaaba during the pilgrimage to Mecca.
The unknown was arrested and taken to the psychiatric clinic by the police. His further fate is unknown. The car was surrounded by policemen, for fear that an explosive device was laid there, the area was temporarily closed. Everything ended well, nothing explosive in the car was found. The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Tunisia said that the perpetrator of the accident has long suffered from a psychiatric disorder.
Be careful if you walk a lot around the clock tower in Tunisia, better be silent.
Have a good rest at Tunisian resorts, and read other interesting articles about this country on our website JJ-Tours.ru ( list of links below ).
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