Zarzis Resort in Tunisia
The resort of Zarzis is small, it is rare to meet Russian tourists, although the rest here has its undeniable advantages, however, there are enough shortcomings. We will tell in detail about Zarzis as a resort, and about a city whose economy specializes not at all on tourism.
Zarzis is located in Southern Tunisia - this is the southernmost resort of the country. See the map of the resorts of Tunis on the right, click on the map to enlarge. The city is located in the southern part of the peninsula, which is also called Zarzis.
Details of the location on the map of all Tunisian resorts, we told in the article " Map of Tunisia with resorts ."
In the north, 20 kilometers away is the island of Djerba , to which the "Roman road" leads (now it is a mound along which the highway and pipeline runs). Zarzis is in the province of Medenin, the city of Medenin (the capital of the province) is located 60 kilometers to the west.
A bit of history
At different times in place of modern Zarzis there was a port and a village. In the well-known Byzantine seaworthy description of the Stadiam, or the Periplus of the Great Sea, it says: "There is a fort standing above the ruins and guarding the port." Then this place was called "Gergis" ("Gergis").
The town originated in this place from a fishing village already during the French protectorate. The French liked this place, and Zarzis became popular for the recreation of soldiers and officers of the French army, units were sent here for reorganization and replenishment, the so-called R & R. Zarzis became the southernmost point of the presence of the French colonists in Tunisia, to the south of the desert they had no meaning to move.
The French in the early 20th century began to develop agriculture in the vicinity, they planted around the city a huge plantation of olive trees and date palms. The fruits of their labor are already used by modern Tunisians, as will be discussed later in the section on the economy of the city. The French built the first guest houses and small hotels, but with the departure of the French, the development of the resort stopped for decades, and Zarzis became anew resort only at the end of the 20th century.
Figures and facts
The population is 75,000 people, the area is 340 square meters. kilometers. The last figure is simply gigantic, given the small population. Approximately the same area has some major cities in Russia: Rostov-on-Don, Krasnodar, Krasnoyarsk or Vladivostok.
The city is large in area, but here all the houses up to 2 storeys high, many unoccupied buildings of space, within the city there are even farms and plantations of olive trees. Hence, such a large nominal area. In the photo on the left, see the city of Zarzis, click on the photo to enlarge.
Life in Zarzis is calm and unhurried, there are almost no discos, bars and other nightlife. With the sunset, shops, shops and cafes are closed, life on the streets freezes. However, even in the daytime the Zarzis are not very active, life here "boils" only on Monday and Friday - in the market days.
What people do - the economy of Zarzis
Tourism - this is not the main specialization of the economy of Zarzis. Occupation number one for the city's population is agriculture.
The figures are amazing! 700 000 olive trees, 110 000 date palms. The harvest of olives even in the zero years reached 60 000 tons, and this is 12 000 tons of oil. Oil is pressed at local enterprises. Tunisians use the very plantations that the French colonists planted at the beginning of the 20th century.
The photo on the right shows harvesting on these olive plantations, click on the photo to enlarge.
The second important branch of the economy is trade. The port here exists since the time of ancient Carthage . The port is large by the standards of North Africa - 28 hectares of area, 9,000 square meters of hangars, loading dock length of 610 meters can accept ships with a displacement of up to 25,000 tons. About 5,000 city residents work at the port enterprises. Zarzis - the main "cargo gate" of the southern part of Tunisia.
In the port of Zarzis, a special economic zone "Zarzis Park of Economic Activities" was declared, formerly called "Zarzis Free Zone". This free economic zone was founded in 1993. She had high hopes, but she did not generate any economic boom in the region.
Fisheries - the traditional fishing of the Zazi people is flourishing in the 21st century. On market days (Monday and Friday) in the markets of the city you can see the whole assortment of local fish, and in the numerous restaurants of the city try the most delicious fish dishes.
Already in the late 90's and early 00's tourism became an important part of the city's economy.
Tourism in Zarzis
For the construction of hotels was allocated a coastline length of 8 kilometers in the north, 3 kilometers from the city limits (near the village of Soichel), this zone is called: "Zarzis Touristique Zone".
On the Internet and tourist guides you can read the phrases "An important tourist center of Tunisia" or "Big Resort". Do not believe me, there's nothing like it here. The tourist zone is built up tightly, but mostly by the private sector.
There are only 9 hotels, of which 3 are classified as 3 stars, and 6 as 4 stars. There is not one "five" here and never was. In addition to hotels, there is a large selection of apartments and rooms in guest houses, you can stay in both the tourist area and within the city.
The beaches here are sandy, not inferior in quality to Hammamet or Suss . Within the city's boundaries are the most famous beaches: "Casino" and "Plage Sidi Kbir". The only disadvantage is that the beaches are rarely cleaned, if you have planted seaweed to the shore, then do not wait for their early cleaning.
In Zarzis there is no airport, tourists arrive at the airport "Djerba-Zarzis International Airport" on the island of Djerba. Many tourists are inspired by the name "Djerba-Zarzis", believing that the airport is somewhere in between the resorts, and it will not take long to go to the hotel. We disappoint, the airport is exactly on Djerba near the town of Houmt Souk, where to go 60 kilometers, on the tourist bus about 1.5 hours.
Beach season in Zarzis
In some descriptions, Zarzis is called a year-round resort. But is it?
The issue is controversial, in December and January the air warms up in the daytime to 17-18 degrees, the water temperature is 16-18 degrees. In 2009, a climatic record was set in Zarzis in December, the air warmed up to 29 degrees in the daytime, but one should not seriously hope for a repetition of such an event. If such a temperature is not frightening and used to wind up to 20 meters per hour, then the answer is "yes."
The photo on the right shows fishermen in Zarzis in January, click on the photo to enlarge. By their clothes you can guess about weather conditions at this time of year.
However, most tourists are not accustomed to rest in such conditions, and local hotels in winter are almost empty. Russian tour operators have never sold tours to Zarzis in the winter and do not sell now (note: the article was written in 2016).
The beach season in Zarzis begins in mid-April and ends at the end of October, as in all resorts in Tunisia. For more details, see our article " Season and weather in Tunisia ".
Advantages of the Zarzis resort
We have already mentioned the quality sandy beaches, but the list of positive moments does not end there.
Zarzis is located between the island of Djerba and the Sahara desert. From here all trips to Djerba are available: Crocodile Farm , El Griba Synagogue , Guellala Museum and others.
On the other hand, tours to the desert from here save 2 hours, since Zarzis is closer than Djerba to the Sahara. It is convenient to go to Matmata to look at the dwellings of Berbers - troglodytes, in Tatooan, Shennini and the oasis of Ksar Gilan.
The city is very beautiful and picturesque, the houses are made in the traditional Tunisian style, not more than 2 floors high, white walls, blue doors and shutters on the windows.
What to see in Zarzis itself
A real attraction in the city is only one - the museum of Zarzis. The museum was founded in 2003, apparently the authorities realized that it is necessary to create at least one tourist attraction in the city.
For the museum, the building of the old Catholic church Notre Dame de la Girde (pictured left), which was built by the French in the early 20th century (between 1920 and 1930), was chosen. The last service in the church was in 1954, since then the building was empty.
They collected all the archaeological finds from the entire Zarzis peninsula. In the museum there are several very interesting exhibits - Punic pottery, stele from the city of Zita. One part of the museum shows the way of life of the ancient inhabitants of the peninsula.
The entrance to the museum costs 7 Tunisian dinars . Opening hours: from April 1 to September 15 - from 9-00 to 13-00 and from 16-00 to 19-00; from September 16 to March 31 - from 9-30 to 16-30. On Mondays the museum is closed.
In addition to the museum, you can see several beautiful mosques.
Where to shop
The "Generale" store is located on the C109 road at the intersection with Avenue 20 Mars. Recall that alcoholic beverages in Tunisia can only be bought in the stores of this network.
The Carefour Express supermarket is located on the C117 road at the intersection with Avenue Mohammed Ali Hammi. In the central square there is a grocery supermarket chain Monoprix.
How to travel around the city
The easiest way to do this is by taxi, the benefit of a taxi in Tunisia is inexpensive. Travel around the city will cost no more than 5 dinars. Drivers know the places of the city that tourists need well, just say "museum", or "carfur", or "monopriks", the taxi driver will immediately understand the destination.
Have a good rest in Zarzis, and read other interesting reviews about Tunisia on our website ( links below ).
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