Mahares

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Mahares
Nickname(s): Mahres, El Mahres
Mahares is located in Tunisia
Mahares
Mahares
Coordinates: 34°32′N 10°30′E / 34.533°N 10.500°E / 34.533; 10.500
Country  Tunisia
Area
 • Total 13 km2 (5 sq mi)
Population (2016)
 • Total 17,257
Time zone CET (UTC+1)

Mahares (Tunisian Arabic: "place for guard"), also known as Mahres or El Mahres, is a small town in Tunisia with a population of approximately 17,000. During its summer seasons, the population of Mahares grows to about 30,000 with the return of its large diaspora living mainly in France and other parts of Western Europe.

History[edit]

The town enjoys a strategic location that placed it on two important Roman roads that notably linked Carthage to Alexandria. The Byzantine fortress of Younga, the only archaeological site of its kind in the region, remains a testimony to the historical importance of Mahares. Taking its name from its protective function extending from Antiquity to the Arab Period, Mahares was a key component of the Phoenician empire in Tunisia as a commercial coastal trading post, which helped facilitate the conversion of the Berbers to Christianity during the Roman and Byzantine periods. During the Aghlabid period, in which the Arab Muslim presence became dominant, Mahares was a powerful bulwark against foreign invasions.

Economy[edit]

The town thrives on the cultivation of olive trees, the extraction of olive oil, fishing, the agro-food industry, the furniture industry and the manufacturing of clothing. One of the largest olive groves in Africa is located within the Mahares delegation.

Moreover, the fishing port, inaugurated by the former president Habib Bourguiba on April 21, 1987, constitutes a place of recreation for the inhabitants of the city in addition to its economic aspect.

Meanwhile, the gas plant SIAP, located 9 kilometers north of the town, is operated by the British group British Gas and supplies 50% of the Tunisian natural gas needs.

Mahares is known in the region for its long beach called Chaffar, the most notable beach area in the governorate of Sfax. Chaffar is located three kilometers north of Mahares, and is mainly visited by the town's locals and inhabitants of Sfax.

Culture[edit]

The city is known for having hosted the International Festival of Plastic Arts every summer since its establishment in 1988.

Coordinates: 34°32′N 10°30′E / 34.533°N 10.500°E / 34.533; 10.500