Why the Name: Sfax ?

African Heritage

View of Sfax from Ksar Ben Romadhane (Source: Wikipedia)

I have always loved the name of the second city of Tunisia, Sfax… think about it for a second: S-FAX… the name does not seem to sound one bit Arabic… it would seem so reminiscent of Rome…

 

Well, it is said that a  Cucurbitaceae gourd plant (such as a cucumber) gave its name to the city of Sfax, or rather that fakouswhich means cucumber in a local Tunisian language (most likely Berber) gave rise to the name Sfax.

Bab Diwan and Old view of Sfax in 1954

Thomas Shaw who visited Tunis in 1732 claimed in his book Observations geographiques sur le royaume de Tunis, Voyages de M. Shaw dans plusieurs provinces de la Barbarie et du Levant, ed Jean Neaume, La Haye 1743, P. 249, that, “Sfakès is the city…

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