Friday, February 10, 2017

The Doors of Tunisia

Old Door, Mahdia - Watercolor by Melissa Enderle
One of the most enduring symbols of Tunisia is the door. Whether meandering through the old souks or in modern homes, from palaces to rather humble homes, elegant doors can often be found gracing their entrances. The doors of Tunisia serve as a gateway between the private domain and public space. Many are of a horseshoe shape, framed with local marble or stone. Some are rectangular. 

Sidi Bou Saïd Door with Bougainvillea - Oil Pastel by Melissa Enderle 
Quite often a smaller door is contained within the larger one, enabling further preservation of privacy.  Visitors riding on horseback could use the top left door knocker and enter while still mounted. The lower right handle was for the women and children, and the upper right was for the master of the house. Tunisian doors are often studded with decorative nail heads in a symmetrical arrangement, disguising the construction methods and enhancing the appearance. Symbols such as the star, fir tree, and eye are prevalent. Blue is the most popular color (especially in the town of Sidi Bou Saïd), but doors can also be found in yellow, green, or natural wood colors. 

See some of my photos of the doors of Sidi Bou Saïd in my Flickr album
More of my artwork of Tunisia

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