le kef

Le Kef: The Numidian City of Northwest Tunisia

Heir to ancient Sicca Veneria amd to medieval Shaqbanaria, the modern city of le Kef is a synthesiof ancient North African and Mediterranean civilizationsand constitutes a rich and vibrant cultural conservatory.

Situated on the last promontory or thJbel al-Dir plateau, overlooked the valley created by Wad Mallegue, it is far from thmajor prehistoric settlements of Koudiat Soultane, and haproved very rich in megalithicvestiges, tangible signs of thfirst centers of sedentary settlements, attesting to the existence of urban establishment before the arrival of the Phoenicians and Punic expansion to the west of the country.

The city ofounded by theLibyanprobably in the 5th century BC was inhabited very early on by a Sicilian colony established by Carthage. Atemple-city and a Carthaginian fortress, Sicca was alreadymentioned in 241 BC during the Carthaginian mercenary wars.


While it was eclipsed byLorbeus, the town nevertheless Remained lively urban centruntil the XVIthcentury despite the pressurfrom pastoral tribes. A fief of Beni Chanour tribeat the end of thHafsid era, durinthe XVIth centurythe city of Shaqbanariachanged itname to itpresent one—al-Kaf (le Kef).

Thposition of le Kef was rehabilitated by thOttomans when they tooover thdomains belonging to thtribes of the region and formed thwesternboarderof the Gegency of Tunis. During thlast three centuries it played the role of an advanced bastion the Regency in the East; its fortifications weredetermining factor during many conflicts.

For a lontime it ranked third largescity oTunisia and experienced considerableconomic, social, and intellectual development.

Le Kef was the first city to boccupied by French troupes in 1881, and in 1884 it became a municipality.

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