Tunisia / Cities and Towns /
Town in Tunisia with about 40,000 inhabitants (2005 estimate), situated in the central-western part of the country, at the western end of the Chott el-Jerid. It is the capital of Tozeur governorate with 105,000 inhabitants (2005 estimate) and an area of 4,719 km².
The Ouled el-Hadef quarter of Tozeur.
The main economic activities of Tozeur are the high-quality dates, the deglet en nour, of which there are two varieties. The city also produces handwoven rugs and silver jewellery. Tourism has in modern times become one of the most important sources of income.
Tozeur is the centre of an oasis of 20 small villages, 196 springs. The oasis is about 10 km² large (1000 hectares).
Tozeur has good connections with other urban centres of Tunisia by road and rail, as well as with Algeria (through El Oued) by road.
Tozeur has a unique architecture, where yellow bricks are used as decorative elements of both old and modern houses. Parts of the old quarters date back to the 14th century. The bricks are laid in reliefs to form a variety of patterns. Tozeur has a selection of important Muslim sights, like the Great Mosque from 1030 and zawiyya of Sidi Ali Abu Lifah from 1282.
1st millennium BCE: The area was the site of a Numidian town, living off the trade along hte caravan route between Vescra (Biskra) and Tacape (Gabes).
2nd century: Falls to the Romans, and is named Thusuros.
7th century CE: Arrival of the Arab Muslims to Tunisia, marking the beginning of centuries of resistance from the local Berbers. When converting to Islam, they generally chose the Khariji orientation.
944: The Khariji leader Abu Yazid moved north to attack the Fatimids in Mahdia. He failed and was killed 3 years later.
15th century: Tozeur becomes an important town for trade with sub-Saharan slaves in exchange for dates.
16th century: A cholera epidemic kills half of the population.
19th century: The slave trade is almost obliterated, and Tozeur declines.
1881: Tunisia becomes a French protectorate, but except for the annual taxation period, Tozeur was largely autonomous.