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Bizerte City Hall in Belgique Street area
Bizerte City Hall in Belgique Street area
Bizerte is located in Tunisia
Location in Tunisia
Country  Tunisia
Governorate Bizerte Governorate
 • Type Mayor
 • Urban 34[1] km2 (13.127 sq mi)
Elevation + 33[2] m (16 ft)
Population (2014[1])
 • City 142,966[1]
 • Density 3.363/km2 (8.712/sq mi)
 • Metro 401,144
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
Postal code 7000
Area code(s) +216 (Tun) 72 (Bizerte)

Bizerte (Tunisian Arabic: بَنزَرِتْAbout this sound  ); historically: Phoenician: 𐤄𐤉𐤁𐤅 𐤀𐤊𐤓𐤀 Hippo Acra, Latin: Hippo Diarrhytus and Hippo Zarytus), also known in English as Bizerta, is the capital city of Bizerte Governorate in Tunisia and the northernmost city in Africa. Located 65 km (40mil) north of the capital Tunis, the city had 142,966 inhabitants in 2014.


  • History 1
    • Historical names 1.1
    • Antiquity : (1100 BC to 647 AD) 1.2
    • Later history 1.3
  • Geography 2
    • Location 2.1
    • Climate 2.2
  • Economy 3
  • Miscellaneous 4
  • Titular see 5
  • Notable residents 6
  • International relations 7
    • Sister cities 7.1
    • Cooperation agreement 7.2
  • References 8
  • External links 9


Aerial view of Bizerte (October 2008)
Phoenician trade routes 1200 BC – 539 BC
Roman mosaic with scenes of fishing and village life (Bardo National Museum, Tunisia)

Bizerte is known as the oldest and most European city in Tunisia. It was founded around 1100 BC by Semitic Phoenicians from Tyre.[3] It is also known as the last town to remain under French control after the rest of the country won its independence from France.

Historical names

The city has several very different names in ancient authors. Scylax of Caryanda, who first mentioned the names Hippo Acra and Hippo Polis, these names are derived from the Punic :𐤄𐤉𐤁𐤅 𐤀𐤊𐤓𐤀 Hippo Acra[3] during the period of the Carthaginians. The name of Hippo is certainly derived from a Phoenician word[3][4] and not Ancient Greek, found in simple or compound state across North Africa to Spain, (as Hippo Regius in Numidia now Annaba in Algeria, not far from Bizerte). According to Polybius, the ancient Greeks added to Hippo, the nickname Diarrhytos, which means: "Divided by the water" (canal of Bizete); Hippo Diarrhytos :("Ἱππὼν διάρρυτος").[4] During the periods of the Romans, the Vandals and the Byzantine Empire ; the city kept its names Hippo Diarrhytus and Hippo Zarytus.[5] Its current Arabic name: (Banzart/بنزرت), drift of a phonetic transformation of its antique name.[3]

Antiquity : (1100 BC to 647 AD)

Phoenician ship carved on the face of a sarcophagus. 2nd century AD.

Around 950 BC the city came under the influence of Carthage under the leadership of Queen Dido/Elissa; In 309 BC, during the Greek–Punic Wars and after the defeat of Agathocles, the city and sicily returned to Carthaginian Republic, its port is used by several Carthaginian generals in the Punic Wars as Hamilcar Barca, Mago, Hasdrubal and Hannibal.

  • In 149 BC, the first Roman raids, the city was then occupied by the Romans, under the name of Hippo Diarrhytus during the period of reign of Julius Caesar, but the new city has regained its prosperity and progress just since the reign of Augustus and it maintains maritime relations followed with Ostia and Rome, as shown by a mosaic decorating its commercial representation in the square of Forum of Corporations, and Christianity spread in the city in this period.
  • In 439 AD, Genseric, the king of the Vandals ( East Germanic tribes) and his tribes invaded the city and they used the port to accomplish their invasions of the rest of the Western Roman Empire, the city of Rome and the islands of Sardinia, Malta, Corsica and Sicily.
  • From 534 AD to 642 AD, the city returned to eastern Romans under the Byzantine Empire, after a defeat of the vandals in 534, and they build the Fort of Bizerte (now the Fort of Kasba).
Old Port of Bizerte
The moveable bridge of the Bizerte canal

Later history

Bizerte was taken by Arabs in 647 in their fist invasion, but reverted to Byzantine control until they were defeated and driven from North Africa finally in 695-98, by the troops of Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire in 1535 and then by the Turks in 1574. The city then became a corsair harbour and struggled against the French and the Venetians.

With the occupation of Tunisia in 1881, France gained control of Bizerte and built a large naval harbor in the city.

In 1924, after the French government officially recognized the Soviet Union (USSR), the western military fleet of White Russia that had been kept in the port of Bizerte was returned to the Soviet government. The ships were never moved from the port and finally were sold there as scrap metal.

In March 1939, towards the end of the Spanish Civil War, Spanish Republican Navy Commander Miguel Buiza ordered the evacuation of the bulk of the Republican fleet. Three cruisers, eight destroyers and two submarines left Cartagena harbor and reached Bizerte where they were impounded by the French authorities.[6]

During the Second World War, the German and Italian Army occupied Bizerte until Allied troops defeated them on 7 May 1943. During the fighting between the Allied forces and the German Army, many of the city inhabitants fled to the countryside or Tunis. The city had suffered significant damage during the battle.[7]

Areal view of Bizerte on 1959

Due to Bizerte's strategic location on the Mediterranean, France retained control of the city and her naval base after Tunisian independence in 1956. In 1961 Tunisian forces blockaded the Area of Bizerte and demanded French withdrawal. The face off turned nasty when a French helicopter took off and drew fire. The French brought in reinforcements; when these were fired upon, France took decisive military action against the Tunisian forces. Using state of the art weapons and decisive force the French took Bizerte and Menzel Bourguiba. During the three days, 700 Tunisians died (1200 wounded); the French lost 24 dead (100 wounded).

Meetings at the UN security council, and other international pressure moved France to agreement; the French military finally abandoned Bizerte on 15 October 1963.



Bizerte is located on the north coast of Tunisia, 15 kilometres (9 miles) away from Ras ben Sakka the northernmost point in Africa on the Mediterranean Sea, 20 kilometres ( 12 miles) northeast of the Ichkeul lake ( world heritage site), 30 kilometres (18 miles) north of the archaeological site of Utica and 65 kilometres (40 miles) north of Tunis.

The city is situated at the southeastern tip of an isthmus on the north shore of the canal of Bizerte linking the mediterraean sea to the Bizerte lake, it is connected to the rest of its urban area located on the south shore of the canal, formed by the locality of Zarzouna and the towns of Menzel Jemil and Menzel Abderrahmane, by a moveable bridge which led directly to the motorway A4 leading to Tunis–Carthage International Airport and the capilal Tunis.
Bizerte is noted for its beautiful forests and scenery and it is especially well known for the great and large beaches, like Sidi Salem, La Grotte, Rasenjela, and Al Rimel, its coasts are close to both Sardinia and Sicily.


The Bizete's Climate considered as [8] bordering with hot-summer mediterranean.[9]

Climate data for Bizerte
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 27.6
Average high °C (°F) 14.9
Daily mean °C (°F) 11.2
Average low °C (°F) 7.5
Record low °C (°F) −6.1
Average precipitation mm (inches) 76
Average precipitation days 14 13 10 7 6 3 1 1 6 11 13 16 101
Mean monthly sunshine hours 142 164 218 237 305 331 384 355 266 209 154 132 2,897
Source #1:,[8] Weather2Travel for rainy days and sunshine[10]
Source #2: Voodoo Skies for record temperatures[11]
Bizerte mean sea temperature[10]
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
15 °C (59 °F) 15 °C (59 °F) 15 °C (59 °F) 15 °C (59 °F) 17 °C (63 °F) 21 °C (70 °F) 24 °C (75 °F) 25 °C (77 °F) 24 °C (75 °F) 22 °C (72 °F) 19 °C (66 °F) 16 °C (61 °F)


A4 motorway connecting Bizerte and Tunis

Bizerte's economy is very diverse. There are several military bases and year-round tourism. As a tourist centre the region is however not as popular as the eastern coast of Tunisia. There is manufacturing (textile, auto parts, cookware), fishing, fruits and vegetables, and wheat.


Jebel Aïn Chouna
  • The port of Bizerte is being developed into a significant Mediterranean yachting marina that was scheduled to open in May 2012. The superyacht section of the marina will be called Goga Superyacht Marina, and will have berths for yachts of up to 110m in length. It is expected that this will give a significant boost to the local economy as the yacht owners and also the hundreds of professional crew will become year-round consumers. The service industries supplying the yachts will gradually develop and bring additional employment.[12]
  • The actor Abdelmajid Lakhal was born in Bizerte.

Titular see

Hippo Diarrhytus is a titular see of the Roman Catholic Church. In 1989–2002 it was held by Mgr. Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, then by Mgr. Jose Paala Salazar, O.P. in 2002–2004 and by Mrg. Manfred Grothe]since October 14, 2004. The city and see of Hippo Diarrhytus should not be confused with those of Hippo Regius where Saint Augustine of Hippo was the bishop.

Notable residents

International relations

Sister cities

Bizerte is twinned with:

Cooperation agreement


  1. ^ a b c (French) Mnicipalité de Bizerte.
  2. ^ City Coordinates (
  3. ^ a b c d
  4. ^ a b Perseus Digital Library.
  5. ^ Hippo Zarytus(in Perseus Digital Library).
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ a b
  9. ^
  10. ^ a b
  11. ^
  12. ^

External links

  • "Encyclopedia of the Orient"

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