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Visit Gabes late spring or late autumn, as it has an unusual landscape that will have you sweating unmercifully in the summer months, despite being on the coast of the Gulf of Gabes. The anomaly of this city is that you will find a mountain and the desert juxtaposed with the oasis and the beach. The 6th largest Tunisian city, it is an industrial hotspot with the most people holding chemistry degrees in the whole of Africa. Hence the air is a tad polluted as the main industries are cement, chemical products, and brick factories and then throw in an oil refinery for a good dose of pollution. This is a city struggling to cope with long-term neglect and a depressed economy. The government is endeavoring to change the situation, so it is a matter of patience.
Rich in culture and history, it was originally founded by Phoenicians. Hilalian Arabs destroyed the city in 1052, Turks and Spaniards fought over the ruins and by the late 19th Century the population was 4,500, but with an astounding 200,000 date palms in the palmerie. Just remember that a 4 star hotel is more on a par with a 3 star by European and US standards, but the prices do reflect this. The benefit of a country such as Tunisia is that it is still possible to find out of the way places that the tourist hordes have not hit and spoilt. Gabes has a train station, plenty of car hire places and great bus connections to get out of the city.
Famous for its traditional and colorful souqs in Jarah, where every tiny nook and cranny is overflowing with alluring bright items for sale, from intricately hand-woven carpets, sacks of henna to stunning jewelry. The archaic market town of secretive dark alleyways and surprising sun dappled courtyards sprawls down to the riverbank in a hodgepodge of cobblestones and rickety beams. The historical sites are everywhere such as The Kornich, and Sidi Noulbaba, whilst a walk through the palmerie will give you an up close and personal experience with the locals. There are enough restaurants that you won't go hungry.
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