Sbeitla

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Sbeitla
Arch of Diocletian
Arch of Diocletian
Sbeitla is located in Tunisia
Sbeitla
Sbeitla
Location in Tunisia
Coordinates: 35°13′47″N 9°7′46″E / 35.22972°N 9.12944°E / 35.22972; 9.12944Coordinates: 35°13′47″N 9°7′46″E / 35.22972°N 9.12944°E / 35.22972; 9.12944
Country Flag of Tunisia.svg Tunisia
Governorate Kasserine Governorate
Government
 • Governor Atef Boughatas
 • Mayor Naceur Mahmoudi
Area
 • Total 437.6 sq mi (1,133.5 km2)
Population (2004)
 • Total 20,253 [1]
 • Ethnicities Arab
 • Ethnicities density 142.7/sq mi (55.11/km2)
 • Religions Islam
Time zone CET (UTC1)
Postal code 1250[2]
Website Sbeitla Official Website

Sbeitla (Tunisian Arabic: سبيطلةAbout this sound Sbaytlā) is a city in north-central Tunisia. Nearby are the Roman ruins of Sufetula, containing the best preserved Roman forum temples in Tunisia. It was the entry point of the Muslim conquest of North Africa.

Sbeitla is the capital of the largest delegation in Kasserine Governorate with an area of 1133.5 km2.[3] It is located in 33 km in the west of the governorate, and 264 km to Tunis. It has a population of 20,253 (2004 estimate).[1]

History[edit]

See also: Sufetula (see)

The oldest traces of civilisation in the zone are Punic megaliths and funereal stelae.

The region was inhabited by nomadic tribes until the Legio III Augusta established a camp at Ammaedara. Through the surrender of the Berber leader Tacfarinas, the region was pacified and populated under the Roman emperor Vespasian and his sons between 67 and 69, becoming a bishopric in the Roman province of Byzacena.

Some inscriptions found in the city suggest that the settlement had success along the lines of others in North Africa during the 2nd century, reaching great prosperity through the olive industry, whose cultivation benefited from excellent climatic conditions in the region. The olive presses found in the ruins of the city further bolster this conclusion. The resulting prosperity made possible the construction of a splendid forum and other important buildings.

The city began to decline during the Late Empire, during which the city was surrounded and occupied by Vandals, a fact that is demonstrated by the appearance of temples dedicated to their gods.[citation needed]

The arrival of the Byzantines inaugurated a new period of splendor. In 647, the fields before the city were the site of a major battle between the Byzantines and Berbers of Gregory the Patrician and the Rashidun Caliphate's governor of Egypt, Abdullah ibn Saad. The battle ended in a decisive Muslim victory, which shook Byzantine control over the region and signalled the beginning of the Muslim conquest of North Africa.

The caliph at the time of the battle was Uthman ibn Affan, who set the army under the leadership of Abdullah ibn Saad. At his arrival to Barqa, Uqba ibn Nafi and his troops joined the main army and the two commanders prepared together the plan to conquer Sbeitla. The battle was long and hard, and Caliph Uthman sent reinforcement under the leadership of Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr. The three leaders prepared a new battle plan and they finally succeeded in taking Sufetula.

The Muslim conquest marked the end of the diocese of Sufetula, which was however nominally revived as a Catholic titular bishopric.

Geography[edit]

Sbeitla is located in western central Tunisia. By road it is 33 kilometres (29 mi) north-east of Kasserine, 246 kilometres (180 mi) south-west of Tunis, and 166 kilometres (141 mi) south-west of Sousse. The city is known by its semi-arid climate.

Culture[edit]

Thanks to the well preserved archaeological site with its prestigious Roman forum, the cultural activities in Sbeitla have prospered. An annual festival is organised in the forum.

Museums[edit]

The archaeological museum of Sbeitla houses several sculptures and mosaics. It consists of three exhibition rooms: the first one is about the Capsian culture, the second about the rest of Dionysus' empire, and the third contains two mosaics.

Festivals[edit]

Since 2000, the city holds her Spring International festival each year, it is an international celebration where many famous actors like Mahmoud Yacine and authors like Mahmoud Messadi were honored.[4] The city celebrates also its international festival named also festival abadelah of Sbeitla. It was founded in 2000, and it became international in 2013.[5]

Economy[edit]

The economy of Sbeitla relays on handicraft, agricultural and petroleum production managed by ETAP in the oil field of Douleb.

Agricultural[edit]

The city is surrounded by a large field of agriculture of olive, almond and animal husbandry. It contains 919 shallow wells, 137 deep wells, a mountain lake and a mountain dam the irrigated Area remains limited to 2930 hectars.[6]

Distribution of irrigated areas in 2008.[7]
Irrigables Areas (ha) irrigated Areas (ha) Usage Rate (%) Densification Rate (%)
Public Private Total Public Private Total Public Private Total Public Private Total
992 2374 3366 794 2136 2930 80 100 90 110 111 111

Petroleum industries[edit]

The Oil field of Douleb is one of the fields explored by ETAP, since April 12, 1968 and it produces 230 000 barrels\year. In 1974, the field reached it maximal productivity with 1200m3 per day.[8]

Handicraft[edit]

Tunisian barnous

The majority of handicraft known in Sbeitla relay on wool processing. Tunisian barnous is one of those handcrafts.

Sports[edit]

Sbeitla's most popular sport club is the Union Sportive Sbeitla, it belongs to Tunisian ligue professionnelle 3 before being promoted to ligue 2 at the season 2013.

At June 5, 2013, the club was qualified to the Quarter-finals of Tunisian Cup at the first time in his history. He eliminated Stade Tunisien and then he was eliminated by CA Bizertin.[9]

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Sbeitla is mentioned in Noman Douglas's Fountains in the Sand as being wooded by junipers and Aleppo pines as late as the 19th century, though he found them "bleak and bare" in the early 20th century.