Doors are more than the sum of their parts in Sidi Bou Said village, Tunisia

In Sidi Bou Said, the 13thcentury village high on a hill in Tunis, doors, iron grilles and latticework widow screens known as mashrabiya or moucharabieh are a special feature.

Doors can be turquoise, cyan, azure, deep sky.

And then there’s this extraordinary yellow one.

This door leads to a mediaeval shrine of a Sufi saint.

The mashrabiya (also known as shanshool) is traditional in Arab building techniques, having been used on street-facing windows since the Middle Ages to provide privacy to the womenfolk.

The decorative grille work is elaborate and differs from house to house, sometimes even window to window on the same house.

Door knockers can take unusual forms.

Sidi Bou Said is a feast for the senses — in more ways than one.

Originally published at on March 22, 2016.

PhD. Journalism by trade & inclination. Sign up for free email updates on email me at

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