Tunisia / Cities and Towns /
Town in Tunisia with about 60,000 inhabitants (2005 estimate), at an elevation of 780 metres on the slopes of the Haut Tell, in the northwestern part of the country. It is the capital of Le Kef governorate, with 290,000 inhabitants (2005 estimate), and an area of 4,965 km².
Sidi Bou Makhlouf, Le Kef, Tunisia.
Le Kef is dominated by the kasbah.
The economy of Le Kef has little industry, and there is much unemployment. Le Kef is the centre of a large region of grain and cattle raising. There is also some mining.
Le Kef lies slightly isolated from the main urban areas of Tunisia, with no real highways and long distances.
Le Kef is a charming town, with a rich selection of sights. There is a Roman bath, a Roman basilica, a temple, an Ottoman kasbah and Tunisia's most beautiful zawiyya (Muslim shrine), the Mosque of Sidi Bou Makhlouf.
1st millennium BCE: A town here, named Sicca, was dedicated to the worship of the Phoenician goddess Astarte.
240-237: The War of the Mercenaries is fought here, between Carthaginian soldiers.
48: Control of the town is transferred to the Romans, who identified Astarte with their goddess Venus, and named the town Sicca Veneria.
2nd century CE: Sicca Veneria becomes the seat of a Christian bishopric, and later many monasteries are established here.
688: Conquered by the Muslims.
17th century: Le Kef becomes an important regional centre, being in the border zone between the beyliks of Tunis and Constantine.