Hammamet Resort in Tunisia
Hammamet is the most famous resort of Tunisia, which Europeans have known since the beginning of the 20th century. In fact, the city is only engaged in servicing tourists, the rest of the economy is not developed here.
Hammamet is a small city with a population of about 75,000 people (one of the streets in the photo on the right), although in the summer season, another 60 to 90 thousand Tunisians come here to work, they work in hotels, restaurants and other tourist infrastructure facilities.
Hammamet on the map of Tunisia
Details of the location on the map of all Tunisian resorts, we told in the article " Map of Tunisia with resorts ."
The city is located at the base of the peninsula of Cap Bon ("Cape Bon"). Almost none of the Russians know this peninsula, but in the world it is well known. It was here in 1943 that the Second World War ended in North Africa. The British and Americans pressed the Germans and Italians and eventually drove them to the peninsula of Cap Bon.
Here on May 13, 1943, 250,000 soldiers and officers of the army of Italy and the Wehrmacht capitulated. For the Western Front this victory was very important, as important as for the Eastern Front, the surrender of the Paulus army at Stalingrad. It was on the peninsula of Cap Bon that the Allies began their offensive on Sicily and then on to continental Italy.
Hammamet is in the province (province) of Nabul and is the largest city in the province, but is not the capital. The status of the capital belongs to the city of Nabeul . The cities of Nabeul and Hammamet border on each other and create a single urban agglomeration with a population of 185,000.
The name "Hammamet" is translated from Arabic as "a place for swimming", and it is not specified, it means bathing in the sea or going to the bath. The origin of the name we do not know exactly, either here in the Middle Ages bathed in the sea, or the city was famous for baths. Rather, the second, because in this place once was a thriving Roman city, from which there were large baths, probably they were used in the Middle Ages.
A bit of history
Like the vast majority of Tunisian cities, Hammamet was founded by the Phoenicians. They founded a trade outpost here, which later became a city and merged into the state of Carthage.
The Punic Wars between Rome and Carthage ended in defeat and complete destruction of the latter. The city in place of modern Hammamet became part of the Roman Republic and was named "Pappit". The city developed and between 185 and 192 years was given the second name "Colonia Aurelia Commoda" in honor of Emperor Commodus, well-known to the readers of the movie "Gladiator."
The development of the city of Pappit was due to its successful location at the intersection of two roads: the first - from Carthage to Leptis Magna (modern Libya), the second - from the fertile fields of Faburbo Majis to the coast.
Unfortunately, it is now problematic to see the ruins of Pappita. What remains of the city, lies under the foundations of hotels, archeologists are only focal excavations. The specialists of the National Institute of Heritage of Tunisia have only general ideas about the city plan, while they have found a water supply system, water tanks, baths and several villas.
After the fall of the Roman Empire, the territory of modern Tunisia is experiencing three conquests in a row - at first vandals, then Byzantines, then Arabs. Most cities simply cease to exist, and Pappit is among them.
The Arab settlement in this place arises presumably in the 8th or 9th century. Under the name "Hammamet", the city first mentioned the Arabic geographer El Idrissi in the 12th century. He mentions a fortress that served to protect against robber raids. It was not yet a city, but a coastal outpost until 1186-1187, when it was destroyed by an army from the Balearic Islands.
In the 13th century, the fort was rebuilt, and around it a mosque and a city appear. Known travelers' notes from Morocco, which refers to Hammamet as a "small city with white walls." In the 13-16 centuries the city develops, despite the constant raids of Catalan and Pisa pirates. At this time, the Great Mosque, kasba (citadel) and the walls of the medina are built (pictured right).
In the 16th century, Hammamet suffers (like the whole country) from the rivalry between the two powers fighting for the Mediterranean - Spain and the Ottoman Empire. Hammamet tried to maintain neutrality, for which it was plundered by Turks and Spaniards. The war ended in favor of the Ottoman Empire, the Turks became the masters of Hammamet in 1574, henceforth the city is governed by the Turkish governor, and in the kazbe is the Janissary garrison.
The garrison and the authority of the Turkish authorities did not save us from trouble, the raids of the pirates continued, and in 1602 and 1605 the Order of the Knights Hospitallers arranged two large campaigns, during which Hammamet was severely damaged.
The development of the region was helped by the influx of refugees from Andalusia in the 17th century, the influx of new labor gave impetus to the development of agriculture. In 1727, Hussein Ler Bey himself, the ruler of Tunisia and the founder of the Husainid dynasty, came to visit the city. He allocated funds for the construction of a new mosque, repair of the Great Mosque and the walls of the medina, giving another impetus to the development of the city.
However, Hammamet remained a large fishing village rather than a city, until in 1881 Tunisia was conquered by the French, the period of the French protectorate began.
The French noticed the magnificent beaches of Hammamet (pictured left) and a pleasant climate. The city becomes a popular resort. Interesting fact that then it was a winter resort! That is, the French (those who could afford it) lived in France in the summer, and came to Tunisia only for the winter.
Since then, Hammamet - is one of the main tourist centers of Tunisia, in terms of tourism business comparable only to Suss and El Kantaoui or Djerba.
Old Hammamet and Yasmine Hammamet
The coast near the city is divided into two parts. The first - to the east from the medina to the city of Nabeul is considered part of Hammamet, the second - to the south-west from the medina is called "Yasmin Hammamet" and is officially considered a separate tourist zone.
In our reviews on chinainfoguide.info we consider these zones as two separate resorts. On this page we are talking about Old Hammamet, and about Yasmine read our great article " The Yasmine Hammamet Resort Zone ."
The biggest resort in Tunisia?
On many tourist sites you can find Hammamet phrases: "the biggest resort" or "the largest tourist destination of Tunisia", but is it so?
It is difficult to answer this question, because Tunisians conduct tourist statistics very specific. The Ministry of Tourism of Tunisia keeps statistics for the resorts of Hammamet and Nabeul together, as they are in one province (province) of the country. Statistics for the resort Yasmine Hammamet is kept separately.
The resorts of Hammamet and Nabeul are 45 thousand places in hotels. It is estimated that from this figure in Hammamet about 38 thousand seats. Yasmin is 19 thousand places.
If we consider only Hammamet (without Yasmine), then he is not the first in Tunisia, and not even the second, inferior to Suss and El Kantaoui . And the first is the island of Djerba , where more than 50 thousand places in hotels.
If you combine Hammamet and Yasmine, then the answer is "yes", indeed, Hammamet is the largest resort of Tunisia (64 thousand places in hotels).
Tourism in Hammamet
Beaches - the main advantage of Hammamet, which provided the resort world fame. Soft fine sand, crystal blue water, always a smooth entrance to the water and a pleasant bottom of the sea.
Most first-line hotels have direct access to the beach, without a road or embankment, unlike the hotels of Yasmine, where the first-line hotels are separated by road. Most, but not all! We recommend viewing the photo to make sure that the hotel of interest is such a situation.
The second advantage of a holiday in Hammamet is an abundance of local attractions, which can be quickly and cheaply reached by a local taxi , paying within 10 Tunisian dinars . Let's talk about these places at the end of the article.
The third advantage is the developed tourist infrastructure, there are a lot of souvenir shops, excursion bureaus, water sports centers, rental points, restaurants and cafes.
The most famous restaurant is called "Le Barberousse", it is located in the medina. Crown dishes: prawns with pineapple, couscous with lamb or tuna and bricks with various fillings. In Le Barberousse wine is served, recall that for the sale of alcohol in Tunisia requires a special license, which is not every restaurant.
Hammamet is the main center of Thalassotherapy in Tunisia (read the review " Thalassotherapy in Tunisia "), including famous throughout the world: Bio Azur Thalasso, Radisson Blu Thalasso and Bio Rivage Thalasso.
Tourists come here in the winter months, when the sea for swimming is too cold. First, for playing on local golf courses, secondly, for thalassotherapy procedures, thirdly, for excursions to historical sights, because there is no exhausting heat in the winter, and it is much more pleasant to look Carthage , El Jem , Duggu or Udnu .
And now about the shortcomings
Thalassotherapy is popular in Europe. Despite the reputation of pseudoscience, thalassotherapy is prescribed to their patients by European doctors. In Europe, procedures are expensive, in Tunisia cheap.
It happens that our tourists go to Hammamet in a good mood, plan to swim in the sea and the pool, drink and eat, go to the disco, that is, to spend the rest actively. Arriving at the hotel, they understand that they were in a "retirement home for French and German pensioners." The pool is full of standing old Frenchmen, all the sunbeds on the beach are occupied by elderly Germans, and they lie on them from dawn to dusk, the disco and "did not smell," and in the restaurant a long line of old people, for 20 minutes choosing a dish on the buffet.
Fearfully? But this is not our fantasy, in such a situation Russians have fallen many times. Why did it happen? And simply the hotel has concluded the favorable contract with one of the European clinics.
We can give only one piece of advice. Carefully study the reviews about the hotel, and the reviews of those people who were in this hotel in this season.
The next drawback is that Hammamet does not have its own international airport. To the hotel, tourists have to travel either from Anfida airport (60 km, hour by bus) or from the airport of Monastir (115 km, two hours by bus, pictured left). Be careful when buying a tour, pay attention to the airport of arrival, preference is given to the tour with arrival to Enfid .
And the third disadvantage is a purely tourist city, and the idea "from a foreigner needs to be received in full" is the basic one in the thinking of local residents. Prices for Tunisian souvenirs and gifts are 20-30% higher than in the whole country, restaurants will have to give 25-50% more for the same dish. Here, more pristavuchih traders than at other resorts, how to behave with them, read in our article " Where and how to buy in Tunisia ."
Weather and season
The beach season in Hammamet lasts from the middle of April to the end of October - the same as in other resorts of Tunisia.
Rain will not cause great inconvenience. According to statistics, for the year, only 370 millimeters of precipitation falls, and most of them occur in the winter months, in the holiday season - 150 millimeters.
In the photo on the right the pavement after the rain, the case was in May 2016. As can be seen in the photo, the rain only bit a bit of asphalt, it's not scary.
However, the rains on the Mediterranean coast in Tunisia have one unpleasant feature. Rains are always accompanied by a very strong wind up to 20 meters per second.
The average maximum temperature in May is 23 degrees, in June - 27 degrees, in June - 27, in July and August - 31, in September - 29, in October - 25. The heat in Hammamet is transferred easily thanks to a pleasant cool breeze. Details can be found in our article " Season and weather at Tunisian resorts ".
Medina and kasba
The old city, protected by walls erected as far back as the 15th century, and a fortress that guarded the bay for almost a millennium. Read in detail in our article " Kasbah and Medina of Hammamet ".
In the twenties of the twentieth century, the Romanian millionaire George (Gheorghe) Sebastian built here a chic villa for winter holidays. This event is considered a turning point, the city became popular with Europeans as a winter resort. This villa is now open to tourists. Read in detail in our article "The House of Sebastian in Hammamet ".
In terms of the number of slides this water park is considered to be the largest in Tunisia, although by the world standards it is a "solid middle peasant". Read more in our review " Water Park amusement Flipper ".
Excavations of the city of Pappit
This landmark is not considered very important, so we do not have a separate article about it. The ancient city of Pappit has long been pulled apart for building materials. Now in its place are hotels and houses, it is impossible to excavate fully. However, some sites were available to archaeologists. Now one such excavation site is open to tourists. Frankly, there is absolutely nothing to watch.
Where to shop
In Hammamet, there is one Carrefour Market (Carrefour Market) store, it is located on Avenue Abu-Dhabi Avenue. Magasine General is located near the medina. Trade in the city is mainly carried out by small shops.
The largest tourist market is inside the medina. Souvenir shops are scattered throughout the territory of the part of the city that adjoins the tourist zone.
Have a good rest, and read our reviews about Tunisia ( links below ).
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