Republic of Tunisia
Ministry of Cultural Affairs



The Sahara Museum at Douz

The Sahara Museum at Douz restores, in a succession of synoptic scenes, the immutable life of the nomad and the highlights of his existence in Nefzaoua a dessert area of southwestern Tunisia, inhabited by four large nomadic tribes: the Merazig, the Adhara, the GheribSabriya, and Ouled Yacoub.

The collections of ethnographic objects on display focus on the following themes: nomadism and the dromedary, tent and nomadic furniture, cavalry, weaving, male and female costumes, silver ornaments of women, and finally tattooing.

The exhibition begins with a presentation of the historical and geographical setting of the Nefzaoua region, located south of the Chott al-Jarid and consisting of an area of pre-Saharan oases   extending southward through a desert hinterland.

The exhibition devotes a special place to the dromedary (one-humped or Arabian camel) this emblematic animal of the arid regions, highlighting its many functions (beast of burden for transport and ploughing, riding and racing animal) and the practice of marking, which is a method of recognition and identification of this 'boat of the desert' and its connection to a tribe, a clan, a family and finally to an individual. Marking of dromedaries with well-codified symbols (sima) is done using basic instruments (which are on display) at the thigh and neck level. Also on display are specimens of grasses and bushes on which the dromedary feeds as well saddles and harnesses, tree or kteb, wooden rack to which the burden is attached, mehari saddle or rahla for fast races, knee hitch or agal, net or chmal, placed under the udder of the female.

The horse is another companion of the nomad   participating to all celebrations. The museum dedicates a space to the cavalry. Artefacts on display include the harnesses, the firearms as well as the ceremonial costume of the riders.

The  ‘mobile home’ of the nomads, called beitechchaar (the hair-made dwelling) is honored through the installation in the middle of the exhibition room of a tent made of wool and camel hair woven strips (triga) provided with the particularly scanty nomadic furniture. On display under the tent too, riding equipment, kitchen utensils and goat skins for food stocks.

The section devoted to the traditional weaving of nomads casts light the two weaving techniques, vertical and horizontal, used by desert people, as well as the different types of weaving (flij, triga, ghrara, makhla, hwya, hmel) resulting from this exclusively female activity.

The drape (huli) is the costume worn uniformly by the nomads of southwestern Tunisia. Woven in wool, it is white for men and black for women.  The exhibition bring to light   the specificities of the male costume (huli, burnous, gedwara) and those of the female formal costume, worn during ceremonies with its corollary of ornaments mainly made of silver (temporal, ear rings, fibulas, bracelets, belt rings).

The museum of Douz shows another important aspect of the Bedouins culture, namely the indelible skin decoration or tattoo (I) and which is, according to function, of three kinds : prophylactic /magical, used to halt misfortune , therapeutic and decorative. The woman's tattoo, when worn on the face (on the forehead, on the tip of the nose, on the chin and on the cheeks) has an identifying function, and serves to designate ethnicity. But it can also be worn on the body.



To see

- Musuem


Winter timing: 09:30 - 16:00

Summer timing: 07:00 - 14:00

Ramadan timing: 08:00-15:00

Visit cost

Resident: 4 Dt

Non-resident: 5 Dt


Closed on Monday


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