Chenini and The Seven Sleepers, an exceptional heritage


Called by Saint Augustine “Kenini” which would draw its origin from Kanaan, everything leads to believe that this is the origin of the word Chenini. That said, the verb “chenna” in Arabic also means “to mix”. And that’s probably what you feel most when you get to Chenini.

This magical village can only be the fruit of a mixture. Moreover. That of a harmony between men and elements. Here, we love ourselves in the mountains, protect ourselves, live, prosper, find, rest, resource … air, wind, sun … Here we find water, peace, man !

Like many kssours in the area of Tatouine, Chenini is on a hill about 500 meters above sea level. Still populated by some 500 inhabitants, the village is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful of the region. So take time to visit the whole village and count not less than 2 to 3 hours if you want to see everything and feel at your own pace.

Of course, do not miss the mosque, the ghorfas for storing food reserves and valuables since the first role of a Kssar is to be a reserve in addition to a refuge in case of attack. Visit the shop, the headquarters of the Artisan Women’s Association, the café-restaurant and the guest house Dar Kenza.

chenini5cheniniAt Chenini, Douiret and as much as elsewhere, spending the night is a must. If your program does not allow it, at least try to attend the sunset. It is breathtakingly beautiful! Take time to talk with the locals. They are kind and welcoming. It is not uncommon for children sell sand roses.

A little further from the kssar, head to the site of the 7 dormants with the mosque, the giant tombs, the underground mosque and the leaning minaret.

The origin of the seven dormants serves to designate word for word “the people of the cave”, alluding to the sura of the same name (Koran, XVII, 9-27). It is known throughout the Muslim world. Its origin goes back to the Christian legend of the Seven Sleepers of Ephesian adolescents who, during the persecution of Decius, were walled alive in a cavern; They were miraculously liberated under the reign of Emperor Theodos.

Some references refer to the following version: “The legend explains the unusual aspect of gigantic tombs located near the old troglodytic mosque: persecuted by a pagan emperor, Christians had taken refuge in Caves, so numerous in the vicinity of Chenini, the soldiers who had discovered them enclosed them. These “dormants”, who had remained alive and whose body had never ceased to grow, recovered the light of day four centuries later , But the world they found was no longer the one they had known, and they converted to Islam and these giant faithful were buried in the vicinity of the mosque in these astonishing tombs whose length corresponded Toponymy, allows a curious connection with the legend of the Seven Sleepers: according to A. Louis, neighboring Roman ruins would be called “Takyanos” in which one could find that of Decius (Decianus) Emperor persecutor quoted in the legend ”