Sites & cities that bear the name of Tabarka


Today in : Tunisia
First trace of activity : ca. 2nd century B.C.E
Last trace of activity : today
Recorded names : Thabraca, Θαύβρακα, Thaúbraka, 𐤕𐤁𐤓𐤊𐤏𐤍, tbrkʿn, طبرقة‎, Ṭbarqa, Tbarga

Description : Tabarka is a coastal town located in north-western Tunisia, close to the border with Algeria. Tabarka's history is a mosaic of Berber, Punic, Hellenistic, Roman, Arabic, Genoese and Turkish culture. The town is dominated by an offshore rock on which is remains a Genoese castle. Nationalist leader Habib Bourguiba, later president of post-independence Tunisia, was exiled here by the French colonial authorities in 1952. Tourist attractions include its coral fishing, the Coralis Festival of underwater photography, and its annual jazz festival. Although older sources placed Thabraca within the Roman province of Numidia, recent ones agree in placing it in the Roman province of Africa, known also as Africa Proconsularis. It was a Roman colony. It was connected by a road with Simitthu, which it served as a port for the export of its famous marble. At Thabraca the rebellious Roman official Gildo, the brother of Firmus, committed suicide. Under the Vandal king Gaiseric, it had a monastery for men and a convent for women. From 1540 to 1742, the Genoese maintained a garrison on the adjacent island, also called Tabarka, which lies about 365 yards (334 m) off the town. In 1540 the island was given by the Ottoman Bey of Tunis as a concession to the Genoese Lomellini family. The Genoese were in the service of Spain during 1553 at the request of Emperor Charles V who was interested in coral fishing. The Lomellini were part of the circle of Andrea Doria, Doge of Genoa, and were related to the Grimaldi family. The grant was possibly due to a secret ransom for the release of the pirate Turkish Dragut, captured in 1540 by Giannettino Doria, nephew of Andrea Doria. The Lomellini colonized Tabarca with a group of inhabitants of Pegli, near Genoa, where they had various properties and a huge palace. The community of Pegliesi lived in Tabarka for several centuries. In 1738 due to the exhaustion of the coral reefs and the deterioration of relations with the Arab population a large group of "Tabarchini" moved to San Pietro Island off Sardinia, then uninhabited, where they founded a new town of Carloforte. The transfer was made possible thanks to the King of Sardinia, Charles Emmanuel III of Sardinia who wanted to colonize those of his lands which were not yet inhabited. The name of Carloforte was chosen in honor of the sovereign. Another group of Tabarchini was resettled in the town of Calasetta on the adjacent Island of Sant'Antioco, whose population still speaks a variant of Genoese dialect originating from Tabarka. Others were moved to the Spanish island of New Tabarca. In 1741 or 1742, the Genoese fortress surrendered to the (nominally Ottoman but essentially autonomous) Bey of Tunis. At Tabarka, the ruins consists of a pit once used as a church and some fragments of walls which belonged to Christian buildings. There were also two Ottoman Turkish fortresses, one of which has been repaired. Under French colonial rule it was annexed to the civil district of Souk el-Arba, now in the Tunisian governorate of Jendouba, and a rather important fishing centre. Tabarka Jazz Festival was established in 1973.

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