Zaghouan is located 50 km from Tunis and 35 km from the coastal resort of Hammamet. It is one of the most beautiful destinations in Tunisia.
Known for its natural mineral wealth and especially for its outstanding thermal springs, this originally Berber town fascinated the Romans who baptized it Ziqua (a word associated with water) before it was occupied by the Andalusian refugees in 1609.
The city of Zaghouan is located below the northern slope of a Djebel belonging to the Tunisian ridge and reaching a culminating point at 1295m. Djebel Zaghouan is a national park that shelters and preserves over 670 rare and endemic plant species. The park also includes 93 animal species, the majority of which are breeding birds. While visiting the park, you will have the opportunity to admire a breathtaking landscape. The park’s rich and abundant flora is easy to witness but seeing the animals in their natural habitat might be a little complicated. Be that as it may, we strongly advise you to visit the park’s ecomuseum which will give you the chance to get an accurate representation of the different components of Djebel Zaghouan’s ecosystem.
On the other hand, outdoor sports enthusiasts such as hikers, climbers or even speleologists will be able to enjoy several trails, slopes, caves and peaks.
The Temple of Water
The Temple of Water is a key element in the national park of Djebel Zaghouan. Orginally a Roman Nymphaeum, this monument was built to honor the cult of water. It has 12 niches, with statues representing the nymphs and a central niche, dedicated to Neptune, God of Freshwater.
A basin below the Temple was used to collect water from 4 active springs located in the surrounding area and which are still used as a water supply in Zaghouan. The water was then pumped through a 123 Km aqueduct towards the city of Carthage.
Thermal baths and natural springs
Zaghouan is a very popular health station, it has an important number of thermal baths (Hammams) that are famous for the quality of both their hot and cold natural spring waters. We strongly advise you to visit Hammam Zriba, a hot thermal bath with great therapeutic value, located 8 Km from the town of Zaghouan.
While in Zaghouan, remember to fill up with spring water which is distributed for free in several public fountains (Sbils) all over town. The foutain near the Sidi Ali Azzouz Zaouia, the patron saint of the city, has the freshest water.
The Andalusian influence
When you are in town, you can easily notice the mark left by the Andalusian in the 17th century, with plots connected by paved alleys and little stalls along the streets. The Sidi Ali Azzouz Zaouia, recognizable by its green tile pyramidal dome, is a perfect example of the Andalusian architectural style. The Andalusian influence can also be seen in the windows that open onto the streets. The sculpted wood, the embossed stucco and the glazed earthenware that adorn the building are artisanal crafts that the Andalusians introduced in the Tunisian architecture.
The Andalusian impact appears not only in architecture and urban plans, but also in agriculture. Indeed, the Andalusians introduced the cultivation of fruit trees, in particular rose hip which is a white fruit typical of Zaghouan and belonging to the rosaceae family. Rose hip harvest takes place in spring leading every year to the “Rose hip festival” which occurs at the end of May.
In Zaghouan, the use of rose hip is generally associated with culinary arts: jam is made out of the fruit and water is extracted from the flower through distillation. Rose water is used in almond dough for the making of “Kaak el Warka”, the famous Tunisian sweets that you can savour in bakeries all over town.