By: Yamama Waked
In the archaeological site of Rome “Matmoor Rome”, or as it is known, The Tunisian City of Beja in the northern countryside. A Tunisian creative young man built a tourism project made of mud, straw, and stones. This project called “Dar Beya” with the aim to encourage ecotourism, which has become remarkably popular in the modern era.
Arabisk London interviewed Hamdi Ben Freja the owner of the project, who built eco-friendly domes in the embrace of nature, and called the project “Dar Beya“. According to Hamdi revealed to Arabisk London, the idea of this ecological project came with the aim of establishing an entertainment tourism project which will receive visitors from Tunisia and abroad, and also spend a happy day in the embrace of nature in an eco-house. Furthermore, next to the “Dar Beya” project there are ruins of Roman civilization and a freshwater spring.
The tourism project is based on eco-friendly domes within nature. The domes contain small rooms decorated with curtains made of homemade fabrics and bedspreads from the traditional Tunisian “kilim” and “marqum”. This youth project has become a destination for foreign and Tunisian tourists to revive marriage ceremonies and private parties or to take a rest in nature.
Ben Freja told Arabisk London that a group of foreign youth from France, Australia, Argentina, and Malta, along with others from Tunisia, participated with him for three months in designing this wonderful ecological project. The project wasn’t expensive and the domes didn’t cost him much time and effort.
The idea of the ecological project came to increase the foreign visitors’ flow, by supporting the architectural structures that contribute the environmental natural attraction, regarding the fact that the revival of alternative tourism in Tunisia still depends on enhancing the wealth of the northwestern region of Tunisia, with its heritage and archaeological sites, its local products, and its magnificent landscapes. According to what Hamdi Ben Frija, the project owner, revealed to Arabisk London.
The project is an architecture structured with 100% natural materials. In addition, the building resists water and earthquakes up to 8 degrees on the Richter scale. Ben Frija explained to Arabisk London that compared to the ecological domes that were already built in Tunisia, “Dar Beya” chose the prototype of the architect, named “Moon cocoon”, which is a competition launched by NASA in 2004 to create a space house. Nader Khalili won the award for best design, and since there the idea of creating domes from sandbags had come.
Hamdi mentioned to Arabisk London that the principle is distributing the load on the walls at one meter depth under the ground, unlike the classical foundation. This atypical construction style shaped out of collection sandbags wrapped in mud and plaster. Between the bags a barbed wire winding them to prevent slipping and create pressure. However, the difficulty is to connect them and create smaller domes merged with the central dome.
This first eco-dome in Beja, Tunisia, is surrounding by 2 hectares of cherry, almond, and olive trees, which could expand in the future and create a small village of eco-house that can accommodate up to 6 guests.
Complementing this ecological project, Hamdi Bin Freija hopes, according to what he said to Arabisk London, that the archaeological site of Fawar, which is located next to the project, will return a Tunisian tourist destination by revival this archaeological area ” Fawar “.
This Tunisian youth project revives nostalgia to the past in the visitors’ souls, without globalization and modern technology, with a scene of tranquility far from the city and its hustle and bustle. This magical place with its unique characteristics created by youth initiative using antique art, has Tunisian applaud regarding similar places in the country.