RAKEN Travel  >  Tunisia  >  Sidi Bou Said - History

Sidi Bou Said  : History    Leisure

Situated 20 km North of Tunis, Sidi Bou Said owes its name to the Muslim saint Abu Said Ibn Khalef Ibn Yahia El-Beji, whose tomb is under a cupola, near the famous Caf El Allia (Caf des Nattes).

Born at Beja in 1156, Abu Said studied and taught science and religion at the Zitouna mosque in Tunis. After a long journey to the Middle East, he retired from the world to meditate and accomplish his duties or marabou (erudite monk).


After his return to Tunis, he used the small village of Jebel El-Manar (the fire mountain, where a fire was at the place of the present lighthouse, to guide the boats in Punic and Roman times) as his sanctuary.

Abu Said died in 1231 and was buried on the Jebel; his mausoleum became a place of pilgrimage and the village of Sidi Abu Said was built around it. 
In the 18th century, the Husseinite Beys (Turkish governors turned kings) and later the wealthy burghers of Tunis erected residences, roads and thus Sidi Bou Said gradually got its present typical architecture.


With the arrival of Baron Rodolphe d’Erlanger, the light blue and white colours were applied and Sidi Bou Said became the village we know nowadays and which leaves us dreaming.

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