Pottery Workshops in Tunisia
A visit to the pottery workshop is a part of excursion programs that is common in Tunisia. Naturally, tourists are brought here not for entertainment, but for the purpose of selling pottery. Unfortunately, such visits to workshops-shops are unavoidable, the tourist does not have a choice to "go-not-go". Therefore, let's talk about how to spend time with benefit, not get into trouble and what is interesting in these workshops can be seen.
In detail about Tunisian ceramics - forms, technology, quality and traditions, read the article " Ceramics of Tunisia " .
Centers of pottery traditions of Tunisia
The main centers of ceramic production in the country are two. The first is the city of Nabeul in Northern Tunisia on the peninsula of Cap Bon, which is 70 kilometers southeast of the capital and 15 kilometers east of the popular resort of Hammamet . The second is the city of Guellala on the island of Djerba , which is in Southern Tunisia.
There are two secondary centers, this is the Moknin district, which is located between Monastir and Mahdia , and the district of Callallin, which is now within the city of Tunis, the capital of the country.
Tourists are taken to Nabeul or Guellala.
Scenario visiting the workshop
Tourists are brought to the workshop, the guide tells a little about traditional ceramics, praises her dignity. After a small demonstration of the master's work on the potter's wheel - he makes a cup or ashtray. This concludes the entertainment program.
Next, tourists are given 20-30 minutes to walk around, see and buy something. The guide is present and helps to communicate with sellers, do not hesitate to ask the guide for help, he receives a percentage from each sale.
Fortunately, sellers are not intrusive, for the hand of tourists do not grab, "with foam from the mouth" the goods are not touted. If you see that the tourist is not set up to buy, then do not stick. Sellers are very positive about the photo, apparently doing a collective work on advertising Tunisian ceramics in the world.
Walking around the store, tourists gather in the bus and go to the next goal of the excursion.
The first advice - do not buy anything. Prices in the workshops are overstated by 2-3 times, the same products can be bought in souvenir shops cheaper. For example, a medium-sized Tajine costs 8-10 Tunisian dinars in an ordinary store, and 20-30 dinars are requested for him in the workshop.
Of course, the sellers in the workshop assure that they give a guarantee of quality and protection against forgery. Comparing the products from the workshop and the store, we did not see the difference. Tadzhin from the store faithfully serves the editor-in-chief of the site chinainfoguide.info for several years, no complaints.
The second tip - be careful, watch the movements. Passages in the workshops are narrow, some plates and saucepans lie directly in the aisles (as in the photo on the left), often in the room is dark. If you drop something or step, you have to pay for it. Some items lie on the shelves in such a way that it seems they were specially prepared to "sacrifice" the awkward visitors.
The third advice is to look after the children. Little children love everything new and colorful, and pulls to hold each plate in their hands. Take care that children do not break anything. Do not advise the child to forbid to touch pottery, but during the inspection be next.
What's interesting to see?
Pay attention to the variety of dishes - plates, tureens, saucepans of different forms, tajins, jugs and much more. Particularly pleasing to the eye is the richness of the paints of the painting, and some of the products are decorated with coining.
The remaining "interestingness" depends on which of the pottery centers tourists were brought to.
Visiting the workshop is included in several different excursions. For example, tour operator Pegas Touristik has a tour "Udna-Nabeul-Bacchus", where a real excursion can be recognized only visiting excavations of the city of Udna , and the other two parts are disguised sales to tourists of wine and pottery. At Coral Travel, workshops are visited during a sightseeing tour of the Cap Bon Peninsula along with Kerkuan .
After the pottery workshop, tourists are taken to the medina of Nabeul to the tourist market, and then everything - a tour of the city of Nabeul is over! It turns out that tourists in Nabeul do not really look at anything, only souvenirs and pottery are "vparivayut."
It looks awful, shame tour operators! In Nabeul a magnificent archaeological museum and excavations of the city of Neopolis, bring tourists there!
The ceramics from Nabel became famous not for its quality, but for its beauty. Painted plates - this is the visiting card of Nabeel ceramics. In the workshop, go and see hundreds of fanciful patterns.
In the workshops in Nabeul like to exhibit cups and teapots of huge sizes, teapots are higher than human growth. In the cups even allowed to be photographed, but do not give a guarantee that in all the workshops so.
Unlike Nabel, the workshops like to be located in caves, and large items are stored in the yard. The business card of Guellala is a large amphorae for storing olive oil, which beside the workshop lie in hundreds. Be photographed on their background - do not be shy.
Tourists are brought here during a sightseeing tour of the island of Djerba, you can get to it by resting in the hotels of the island of Djerba, or from the hotels of the resort of Zarzis . The main goals are the ethnographic museum of Guellala and the El Griba synagogue , and the potter's workshops are called "on the way".
In some workshops, camels are kept, with which tourists are happy to communicate and take pictures.
Another interesting product is the traditional Tunisian BBQ barbecue (pictured left). Very colorful thing, but to bring it from Tunisia home there is no possibility, it is too big.
In Guellala you can find rare ceramic products - Tajines with chasing, porcelain figurines of animals and flowers.
Forms and painting of ceramics from Guellala formed under the influence of Berber, Greek and Roman traditions, there is a weak sense of Arab influence. The traditional red-brown color, characteristic of products from Guellala, was brought here by the Romans.
More information about the history of pottery in Tunisia and Tunisian ceramics read our article " Ceramics of Tunisia " .
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