Shenney village in Tunisia
Shenney village (or "Cenini") is located in South Tunisia 20 kilometers west from Tatavin. It is considered the most ancient preserved Berber settlement in the country, some buildings in Shenini are dating 12 centuries.
It so happened that Shenney became a very popular stop on the tourist routes, and the neighboring villages of Dovelop and Gurmes were unclaimed by the tourist industry. If you travel yourself, we recommend watching all three villages, each has its own "highlight". As part of the excursion group, you will see only Sinini, and then a glimpse.
In this article, we will tell you in detail about how to get here and what to see interesting.
Very curious fresh news about Sinini
In the past 2019, very unusual excursions began to spend here – trips to South Tunisia on the donkey. The organizers declare that this is the best way to feel like a real Berber. There are routes Duir-Shenney and Shenney Hermesa (all this Berber villages).
Agree, it is unlikely that in some other country to meet something like this. As far as such a type of excursions "will come true"? Time will show.
The name "Shenini" (or "Cenini") comes from the Arabic word "Chenna" – "mix".
It is now unknown why the village was so called. There is a suggestion that local residents among Berberov were famous for the blood of other peoples.
This version has a scientific justification. In 2008, the University of El Manar (Tunisia) conducted a genetic study of the Berber population of Tunisia. Berbers from Shenney turned out to be genetically far from Berber from Matmatati or Seine.
What is Shenney now
From the 12th century there was a Berber KSAR – a fortified warehouse for grain storage, olive oil and other food products.
KSAR consisted of gorph – small rooms, where food was stored. Usually, one hill belonged to one Berber family. Gorphs in Shenini special, they are a semi-leather room. That is, the long-distance part of the room is poured into the rock, and the front part is built of stone and clay.
The doors of the horn went to the big yard "Khosh", where they held the cattle, and at certain days they satisfied the bazaar. Hosh was the center of Ksara, he was heard from all sides, either by a wall or gifs, whose walls were fortunate walls.
Part of the residents of Shenini now live in such grafts, and in the guidebooks of residents are called troglodites. It is not entirely correct, as it trogs – this is a resident of the cave, and at home in Shenini semi-showing. How to express it right? Probably "half-trogloditis".
But the word "trogs" against people from Shenini does not apply at all. Most of the population of the village lives in ordinary land houses or in ground burns.
KSAR was a fortified warehouse, and it was always built in the form of a fortress. Ksar in Shenini was on the hillside, and most of the village is now located on the slope. At the highest point, there is a mosque in the saddle between two cliffs.
Now in the village constantly lives only about 600 people. Most have long moved to the settlement of the same name 2 kilometers east.
In the village live people of old age, which no longer want to change their lifestyle. Artists and artists seeking inspirations in the traditions of ancestors. And of course, there are many Berber who earn on tourists – merchants, guides, actors showing traditional life.
What are tourists looking here
Here you can see how Berber Xar looked (fortified grain).
To be honest, ancient buildings in Shenini is a sad sight. The plaster almost everywhere flew away, the stairs to the upper floors collapsed, some of the hood no longer have a roof. If you want to see a big and beautiful xar, then go to Ksar-Due-Soltan 20 kilometers south from Tatawin.
The main tourist entertainment is the inspection of the dwellings and life of Berber. Show lifestyle and crafts: grinding flour, cooking, cooking, cooking flat Bedound pellets, which can be registered here with honey or syrup. Very popular place – this is the reconstruction of an ancient press for pressing the oil. The press mechanism twists a camel with which tourists love to be photographed.
There are several shops and an improvised market in Sinney. The range is ordinary for Tunisia – spices, dates and other dried fruits, Tunisian ceramics, souvenirs. Berber carpets sell on the edge of the village.
The cultural program in Shenini is even better than in the match, and there are no annoying locals, literally by the hand of hiding tourists to the house.
20 years ago in Sinini everywhere you could hear Berber. Now most of the population speaks only in Arabic, and only the elderly residents are owned by Berber. On some excursions, tourists demonstrate a native speaker and give to listen to Berber speech. Such an attraction is unlikely to find somewhere else in Tunisia.
Here they filmed "Star Wars"
Several Xarov in the vicinity of Tatawin were used as natural scenery on the filming of the film "Episode 1: Hidden Threat" Sagi "Star Wars". Xaras well came to show a quarter of slaves in the city of Mos-Espa Planet Tatooin. In this quarter, I conducted childhood Enichen Skywalker (future Darth Vader).
One of the satellites of the fantastic planet Tatooin from Star Wars is called "Shenney" in honor of the village. About other interesting places of shooting Sagi Read in our article "Where they filmed star wars in Tunisia".
Some groups of the program "Excursion to Sahara" stop in Sinney. Many not only watch the village, but also dine in one of the local restaurants. Dinner from Tunisian Cuisine: Tunisian Salad, Chorba, Couscus.
The quality of the program depends on the guide and organizers of the excursion. If there is a good organization and guide, then drive up to the mosque, the Berber House and Crafts will be shown, they will be treated with bread, press and camels will show, the guide will tell a lot of interesting things.
If the organization is not at the height, then simply drive up to make a photo, and then get into the workshop, where it is offered to buy carpets, and on this visit to the Shenini will end.
To see everything interesting in Sinney and feel full of Berber’s life, you need to come on your own, and better with overnight.
How to get yourself
If you come for one day, we do not recommend appearing in Shenini in the morning, since excursion groups are tightened here at this time. Come after lunch, there will be almost no tourists in the village.
Public transport in Sinini does not go at all. You can get by taxi from Tatawin. If you come for one day, we recommend not to risk and ask the driver to wait at the entrance and on the same taxi go back to Tatavin. Tariffs for travel and waiting for a taxi Look at our page "Taxi in Tunisia".
Usually, a trip to Shenney by taxi costs tourists in 40-60 dinars. Current currency rate View in our article "Tunisian Dinar".
How to get to Tatavina
If you relax on Djerba, then Tatavina is convenient to get to 10 dinars on a minibus. Take a taxi from the hotel to Humt Suk (the capital of Djerba), say Taksist’s phrase "Humt Suk Luzza Stasyn", and he will understand what you need to get to stop minibuses. About minibuses Read our review of "Minibus in Tunisia".
Vacationers in the northern resorts of Tunisia need to get to the city of Gabes. This can be done with a train or bus, read our Pages "Tunisian Trains" and "Tunisky Buses".
From Gabes you can get to Tatavina by bus or minibus. The bus goes twice a day – at 7 am and 14-30. You can sit on the bus all day long, but you have to wait until the interior is fully filled with passengers, only then the driver will go. Buses and minibuses depart from the bus station "GER RUTIE".
Hotel and restaurants
In Sinini, only one hotel, it is called "Residence Kenza" (in the photo below, click to enlarge). The hotel consists of several Berber houses, the setting of the rooms is suitable.
Hotel Residence Kenza has only 10 rooms, each has its own bathroom. Price accommodation – from 25 to 100 dollars per night. If they aimed to spend the night in Sinney, we strongly recommend booking in advance, there are no free places on the right dates often.
Next to the hotel there is a restaurant where you can try "Kesra" – local pellets from Manka, fresh figs and grenades, mountain honey. And of course, Kuskus with lamb. Note that the Kenza restaurant serves only Tunisian dishes.
Mosque seven sleeping
This is a very interesting place shrouded in legends. You can see it only with a self-trip, during the arrival of an organized excursion to it just lack time. What does the mosque look like, look at the photo below, click on the photo to enlarge.
Seven sleeping worshiped in Christianity as "Seven Effesse Cultures". In Islam, they are mentioned in the 18th Sura of the Quran. According to legends, this is a seven believers Christians who, in the punishment for faith, inspired in the cave of Emperor-pagan.
According to the Christian legend, the divine will, they did not die from thirst, and fell asleep. After a few hundred years, the cave opened, and the rates came to life. After some time, they realized that Christianity triumphed and fell asleep again to a terrible court. According to the Quran, the rates fell asleep for 309 years (300 years in the Gregorian calendar).
There are local legends that tell that the rates are not just slept in the cave, and they grew up and became real giants of 4 meters. They tormented and could not die until they turned to Islam. Here are their graves.
Near the mosque really have graves about 5 meters long. Minaret of the seven sleeping mosque is inclined, it is also called "Tunisian Pisa Tower". The whole mosque is available for non-Muslim, you can climb the minaret.
– It is not hot in Shenini, but very hot! Do not forget the clothes, covered shoulders, the headdress is required. It will not be superfluous to wear sunscreen. Recommendations for the selection of clothing, read in our article "What to take in Tunisia";
– In Sinney, they do not take anything to pay for dollars and euros, only Tunisian dinars. Exchange office here is not. Change money in advance to buy gifts and eat in a restaurant. Read our detailed review "How and where to change the currency in Tunisia";
– In Sinini, you can buy delicious local dates and chip syrup, figs, ceramics. To navigate in prices, read our article "16 best gifts from Tunisia".
Good walks in Shenney, and read our articles about Tunisia (Links below).