Tozeur is a large oasis and a city in south west Tunisia, with hundreds of thousands of palm trees. It’s a travel destination and date production pole.
The dates exported from Tozeur are known worldwide. In ancient times, before the advent of motorized vehicles, the oasis was important for the transportation through the Sahara, which took place in caravans. The name of the city in antiquity was Tusuros, it was an important Roman outpost.
The city’s medina (old city) hosts sites famous for their traditional architecture, fashion and workmanship.
Visitors can make camel trips, explore the Sahara Desert and get to know the Chott el-Djerid, where one can see Fata Morgana mirages.
Tozeur is noted for its yellow / brownish brickwork as well as its fascinating patterns in simple and rich geometric designs form the façades of most buildings in the old city and the new tourist zone.
The old town is an exquisite example of the local brickwork. The narrow streets, walls and façades are decorated with bricks, resulting in one of the most distinct and beautiful architectural styles of Tunisia.
Tozeur has a hot desert climate. The weather is usually good, settled and sunny throughout the course of the year. Summers are extremely hot with daily highs often exceeding 45 °C in the shade, and the sirocco is known to often make the thermometer rise above 50 °C still in the shade. During winters, it can sometimes freeze at night and just before the sunrise, as the temperature may drop below 0 °C.
During the Vandal era, Byzantine and Roman empires, Tozeur was known as Tusuros, and was a metropolis in the province of Byzacena. At this time it was the capital of abishopric, called Tusuros.
The Bishopric ceased to function following the arrival of Islam but remains today a witness of the Roman Catholic Church.
Tozeur’s most known Bishops are Asellicus, known for his letters to Augustine,
Joseph Leo Cardijn, founder of the international Young Christian Workers (CAJ), Giovanni Benelli , Thomas Cajetan Kelly, and Paul Lanneau, Auxiliary Bishop of Mechelen-Brussels.
Tozeur was used as a filming location for the Star Wars saga and Raiders of The Lost Ark. Lucasfilm also built an entire set a few kilometers North-West of Tozeur in the middle of the desert. This set acted as Mos Espa in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. The buildings are still there and can be visited. The English Patient (9 Oscars) with Ralph Fiennes and Kristin Scott Thomas was partially filmed outside Tozeur.
In May 1984 the Italian singers Alice and Franco Battiato represented Italy in the Eurovision Song Contest with the song "I treni di Tozeur" ("The Trains of Tozeur"), whose lyrics contain several references to Tozeur, the historic train “Le Lézard Rouge” and Tunisian history in general. This song became a chart hit throughout Continental Europe and Scandinavia and made the name of this town more famous in Europe.