Tunisia

Dar Delight

Continue reading Indeed, domestic introversion is the key to understanding the medina’s mysterious structure. ‘Everything turns around the idea of intimacy,’ says Zoubeir Mouhli, the chief architect of Dar Ben Gacem and the secretary general of the Association de Sauvegarde de la Médina de Tunis, a consultancy and advocacy group dedicated to guarding and renewing […]

Writer

Mischa Benoit-Lavelle

Photographer

Sophia Baraket

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The medina, or old city, of Tunis, is a realm of secrets. Though it covers slightly over 270 hectares, its tightly curled alleys contain countless gems of Ottoman-period architecture. A map of the medina looks something like a thumbprint, and its myriad involutions are every bit as unique. Tucked away in its twists and turns are countless mosques, hammams and madrassas, some of which date back nearly a millenium.

Dar Ben Gacem, a recently-opened boutique hotel in the medina, is a modest residence compared to some of the hidden palaces in the neighbourhood, but there’s still plenty of space for guests to explore and feel at home. And it offers visitors what no guided tour of the medina can provide: the chance to experience and inhabit its characteristic intimacy.

Everything interlocks in a vernacular fabric – the approach to the monument has to be earned