Before arriving in Tunisia, we expected to see ruins of lost civilizations, we expected to wander the old medinas, to see seaside Mediterranean towns, and to be hassled by shopkeepers at the bazaars. Certainly, we got all that. What we did not really expect, was to be stopping frequently because we saw yet another beautiful door. And yet, we ended up going home with many pictures of Tunisian doors. Already on our first walk through dark Tunis, we see them: many of the old houses in the medina have a door that stands out. The next day, on the way to the station and exploration of Carthage, we often stop to take out our cameras, and click away. Blue is easily the most used colour, but we also often see yellow. Doors come in all kinds of shapes: arched, rectangular, with oriental frames, and with iron bars at the top.
What is so special about the doors, is that they are all unique. Even after looking at doors for days on our walks through Tunis, Sidi Bou Said, and Sousse, we still see models, decorative elements, and frames we have not seen before. Are all these doors tailor-made? It surely looks like they are. Some have wooden panels. Many have sturdy, black nails, forming intricate floral or geometric patterns on the doors. Some have small doors inside the main door. Some are so tall, they would allow a visitor to enter on horseback. Most doors have two parts, but there are also doors with three. Some are directly set in a wall, others have decoratively carved door frames, giving them more stature. Some are simple, while others have a solemn appearance, others still are quirky or even cheerful.
On our walks through the medinas in various cities in Tunisia, we develop a special eye for the Tunisian doors. On our way from one sight to the next, or looking for a place to eat, or to catch a train or taxi: we regularly stop at yet another example of a door we are sure we have not seen before. There clearly is a freedom of expression when it comes to doors. We happen to stay in a guesthouse right in the old medina, where we see that behind those beautiful Tunisian doors, you can often find a courtyard, and a much bigger mansion than you thought possible, judging from the outside. Whenever someone comes out of one of the attractive doors, we try to get a peek inside: what is behind those doors? Just like our first pictures of Tunisia were of doors, so are the last ones we take.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Tunisian doors (Tunisia). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Tunisian doors. Read more about this site.