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 Hammam Zriba

    Geographical location
     History of the discovery
     Current Situation

     

 

Hammam Zriba

 Geographical location

        Hammam Zriba

Hammam Zriba is located 60km from Tunis, 8km east of Zaghouan and 7km from the village that bears the same name. The spa is crossed by Oued Hammam, a tributary of Oued Ramel.
The thermal spring, gushing from Upper Cretaceous, is at the bottom of a valley in the form of a crater surrounded by limestone walls. The white marble-like Jurassic limestone walls are 80-m high and far from each other at about 25 to 60 meters. They belong to Djebel Bou Krouf and Hamida.

Spring water temperature is 50°C, an indication that the water is about 1000-m deep with a less long underground channeling compared to other waters in the Gulf of Tunis.

Like the waters of Hammam Lif and Korbous, the Hammam Zriba water remains at the surface after mineralizing and warming. The gushing spring is 170-m uphill. According to a recent publication, the current water level is much lower than the antique level because the cracks were probably sealed off by depositing.

In addition to the Atlas Archéologique de Tunisie (Archeological Atlas of Tunisia), the precise location of this exceptional site was given by an engineer, who, at the beginning of the century, undertook a study to build a dam in Oued Hammam.


   


 History of the discovery

One needs to distinguish between two historical periods before and after 1897.

1 . Before 1897.

   a)  Guerin has the merit of being the first to sketch out a description of this antique spa.
He first describes ‘a square antique pool, built in chiseled stones’ and covered with a modern building.
Then,‘an arcade-enriched building whose three quarters were demolished.’
And finally, ‘a large vaulted building divided in 10 parallel compartments.’

   b) Cagnat, Saladin and Bordier describe the same thermal site and refer to an antique pool, largely re-used to build the modern hammam.

   c) Docteur Bertholon confirms the presence of a ‘circular building, ‘a Roman octagon temple, a miniature of the Vesta temple in Rome.’

2 . One had to wait for Gauckler and his ‘Enquête sur les installations hydrauliques romaines’ (Survey of Roman Hydraulic Installations) to obtain a more detailed and comprehensive description of this thermal establishment. Such description is illustrated by a plan of the following details:
- 2 rectangular cisterns west and east of the modern hammam.
- 1 swimming-pool where the hot spring water gushes and the modern hammam is built.
- On Rock A between the hammam and the eastern cistern, Gauckler refers to a construction that ‘may have served as an elevating machine.’ But he remained silent on the purpose of such a machine.
- On the extreme northeastern part of the plan, Gauckler refers to baths at 200m from the spring. The baths are supplied by a partly preserved aqueduct, channeling water through a large 12-compartment cistern with each compartment measuring 10m x 3m.


   


 Current Situation 
 

Hammam Zriba is supplied by a spring gushing in the bedrock of Oued El Hammam at the outlet of the canyon. It is tapped by a 3.75m x 2.50m x 1.70m swimming-pool built on the gushing springs with a 1.1m height, impeding free water flow. This swimming-pool is for men. Another swimming-pool for women is supplied by a piping opening out near the main gushing springs feeding the men’s pool to recuperate the least contaminated water.
Twelve individual baths, built in 1994 by the Municipality of Zaghouan, are located few meters above the hammam and supplied by pumping. The pump strainers are installed near the main gushing springs that feed the men’s and women’s swimming-pools.

 

Hammam Zriba is directly managed by the Municipality of Zaghouan.
Apart from the conventional therapeutic indications in osteoarticular pathology, indications in gynecology and dermatology deserve to be seriously investigated.

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