The real story of Hammamet

This post is also available in: Italiano

Not only “the city of Craxi”, Hammamet is a village full of charm and history, able to attract artists and statesmen from all over, bewitched by its incredible beauty.

The city of spas

The city was founded with the name of Puppet and its origins are probably pre-Punic, although of this there is no complete certainty. However, it immediately passed under Carthage, thanks to which it became a center renowned throughout the Mediterranean for agricultural production; fame that will continue under Roman rule, after it, Arab domination will come.

The latter, in fact, arrived near Puppet in 678, however immediately putting aside the historic settlement and building corresponding to it about the current medina. The name “Hammamet” derives from the abundance of spas in the area, called in Arabic, in fact, “hammam”. Initially the center had a mostly military function, especially in view of the many pirate attacks that afflicted the Tunisian coast. The arrival of the hafside dynasty will weaken this aspect, building a mosque and transforming what, de facto, was a fort into a real town. During this period Sidi Bou Hadid will also appear, who will become the protector (/ patron) of the village.

The charm of Hammamet

After an endless series of clashes between the Spaniards and the Ottomans, in 1574 Hammamet passed on a permanent basis to the latter, who transformed the whole of Tunisia into a Turkish province, binding above all to piracy (although not as Algiers). Over time, however, the new invaders became an integral part of Hammamet, so much so that they even formed a separate ethnic group: Köleoğlu, generated precisely by the union of the Janissaries with local women.

Hammamet
Hammamet by Paul Klee

From 1881 it will become a French colony, obtaining an incredible technological modernization with the introduction of telephones, railways and electricity. Known since the Roman Empire for its beauty, from that moment Hammamet will attract some of the personalities of the last century, among which it is mandatory to mention: Paul Klee, who will also create several works based on the city, Peggy Guggenheim, Winston Churchill and Bettino Craxi.

The latter, who already had his residence in the city, spent the last years of his life there, so much so that he even died in 2000, 6 years after his escape from Italy.

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