Tunisia / Cities and Towns /
City in Tunisia with 340,000 inhabitants (2005 estimate), situated on the Gulf of Gabes, in from the Mediterranean Sea, in the middle of Tunisia. It is the capital of Sfax governorate with 860,000 inhabitants (2005 estimate) and an area of 7,545 km².
Oriental twist to French colonial architecture.
The economic base of Sfax are industries for phosphates, olive oil, sponges, pistachio, nuts, almonds and wool; as well as export and import activities. Sfax also has a fishing port with fish canneries. There are oil fields in the hinterland with oil pipelines.
Sfax has excellent connections to the rest of Tunisia, and a fan of roads stretch out of town. In addition is there a railway. The airport has some international and national connections.
Sfax has one of Tunisia's most lively old cities, where large parts of the economic activities of the country is located. The walls surrounding is the original 9th century structure. The great mosque dates back to the 10th century.
The urban history of the region goes back to the two small towns of Taparura and Thaenae of the antiquity.
849: Sfax is founded near Taparura.
10th century CE: Sfax declares itself an independent state.
1148: Conquered by Roger of Sicily.
1156 December 31: Locals reconquer Sfax.
16th century: Temporarily under Spanish occupation.
17th century: Sfax becomes strongly involved in Barbary piracy.
1785: Attacked by the Venetians, but they are repelled.
1881: Sfax is bombarded by the French, and surrenders only after long time fighting.
1895: The construction of a modern port is begun.
1940: Becomes a base of Axis troops (Germany and Italy).
1943: Conquered by the British, and returned to free French control.
1956: With the independence of Tunisia, Sfax comes solely under Tunisian administration.