• Keywords: Tunisia, Cultural Landscape, El Feija National Park, archaeological remains, prehistory, Numidian, Barbary deer.

1. OFFICIAL CLASSIFICATIONS AND CATEGORIES

1.1 National and International Classification Lists

El Feija National Park and its archaeological landscape is in the Tentative List od UNESCO with date of submission: 28/05/2008, criteria: (vii)(viii)(x), category: natural, and ref.: 5383. IUCN has classified the site in category II (national park: 17744). The site was declared a National Park in 1990 (National decree number 90-907) and includes the Etienne Reserve

  • Tentative List of UNESCO
  • Protection Figures
  • IUCN

1.2. Cultural Landscape Category/Tipology

Organically evolved landscapes
Relict (or fossil) landscape

1.3. Description and Justification by Med-O-Med

Description

El Feija National Park is situated 195 kilometers west of Tunis and 50 miles west of Jendouba. It covers a total area of ​​2632 hectares including 417 hectares constituting a totally protected area fenced for preservation of the Barbary deer. The park is considered by National and International Organism as a privileged site because of its natural interest, its botanical and zoological value. For this inventory, Med-O-Med has taken in consideration also the archaeological vestiges found in the Park, defining the site as one Cultural Landscape (relict landscape), taking into account both natural and cultural heritage (UNESCO Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, Article 1, 1972, Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention, 2008). The ancient vestiges that remain in El Feija show how the site was poblated since prehistoric times (more than 10.000 years ago, in neolithic period) until recent times. The obsidian sculptures, or the rock paintings in Kef Chizuko cave, considered as a mithical place for indigenous inhabitants, are good representations of that period. Also, there are numidiam ruins with more than 2000 years, and more recent rest of settlements and forts of argelian soldiers, (1960 y 1962).

2. NAME / LOCATION / ACCESSIBILITY

  • Current denomination El Feija National Park.
  • Current denomination El Feija National Park.
  • Original denomination El Feija.
  • Popular denomination El Feija.
  • Address: National Park of El Feija is located 195 kilometers west of Tunis and 50 miles west of Jendouba.
  • Geographical coordinates: N40 53 - 40 59 E6 58 - 6 68
  • Area, boundaries and surroundings: El Feija National park is located 17 km north-west of Ghardimaou, 1 km of Aïn Soltane, 49 km of Jendouba, and 195 km west of Tunis, at the end of Kroumierie Mountain, covering a total area of 2632 ha.

3. LEGAL ISSUES

Property regime
  • Public
  • Owner: Tunisian Government.
  • Body responsible for the maintenance: Ministry of Agriculture. Direction General of Forest.
  • Legal protection: El Feija National Park covers a total area of ​​2632 hectares including 417 hectares constituting a totally protected area fenced for preservation of the Barbary deert.
  • Public or private organizations working in the site: There is a project carried out by PNUD to improve the living conditions of the population who live in the border of the park: oil production, apiculture, artesany, management of gardens...

4. HISTORY

There are prehistoric and numidian evidences in El Feija National Park.

5. GENERAL DESCRIPTION

5.1. Natural heritage

  • Heritage: Archaeological
  • Geography: High Mountain
  • Site topography: Natural
  • Climate and environmental conditions: El Feija National Park El Feija is composed by a Mediterranean climate with wet rainy winter. In January the average temperature is 7 ° C and can drop to 0 ° C, causing the snow. In summer, the temperature rises in a remarkable way and his average is about 29 ° C with the possibility of reaching 45 ° C when the sirocco is blowing from the Sahara.
  • Geological and Geographical characteristics: The geography of the park is composed by hills and badlands. The altitude varies from 550 to 1550 m, being Statir the highest point. El Feija National Park is integrated in the Kroumirie mountain, that has 38 millions years old. Some of the forests of El Feija are from the terciary. The soil is brown and rich in organic materia.
Water resources:
  • Public
The park area has several water sources of varying importance.
Vegetation:

From the perspective of rich flora, the park ranks first nationally.This is due to the diversity of soil and climatic factors, topography and geology. The flora of the park is basically a Zen zenaie composed of oak, the cork oak forests consisting of oak trees and mixed forests composed of both varieties. One can also observe the ferns, cyclamen African endemic to North Africa, fragrant violet and orchid.

Fauna:

National Park of El Feija houses 25 species of mammals including the largest Barbary deer (Cervus elaphus barbarus) is considered the emblem of the park. There are also other important species as Sus scrofa, Canis aureus, Vulpes vulpes, Hystrix cristata, Felis libyca, Vipera lebetina…We also find the golden jackal, red fox, serval, genet Europe, weasel, dormouse, rat, striped, hare… Berber boar, very abundant in the oak forest, contributing to its regeneration by facilitating the germination of seeds when he returned to the ground with his snout in search of larvae and tubers. The park is also home to numerous species of insects, many of which are specific to the oak forest and is characterized by amazing shapes, gorgeous colors and sometimes by their extreme rarity. Furthermore, the recency of reptiles in El Feija demonstrated the existence of 21 species. Among the reptiles found in the park include the lizard from North Africa, the Hispanic lizard, the chameleon, the black iron-to-horse, the snake-necked turtle and Greek. In addition, the national park of El Feija has about 70 species of birds most of which are sedentary. One can observe, among others, jay, blackbird, bee-eaters in Europe, the flycatcher gray and black, the woodcock, the woodpecker and the great tit. The park is also home to some rare species of diurnal and nocturnal. Stamps that illustrate our article represent two species of wildlife found in the national park of El Feija. This is the Barbary deer and the jay. Barbary deer (Latin name: Cervus elaphus barbarus, Arabic name: Eyilel atlas) is the largest herbivores in Tunisia. It has a coat of grayish, spotted with white at the sides. Only males have horns branching may indicate the age of the animal by counting the number of nodes. These horns tembent each year in February-March, then push back with an additional node until the age of 12. During the period from winter to summer, the Barbary deer live in herds whose composition varies by sex and age: young males, females and small not exceeding one year, old male loners.The fall coincides with the mating period during which mature males become very aggressive and engage them in fierce battles for possession of females. During this period, males emit loud sounds audible from a distance referred to as « slabs ». After a gestation of 34 weeks, the female gives birth to a fawn that follows her everywhere until the age of one year.

Land uses and economical activities:
Protected area because of its ecological interest. There are some agricultural activities in the site, and some tourism controled by the administration of the Park.
Summary of Landscapes values and characteristics:

El Feija or El Feidja National Park is major National parks in Tunisia. It locates about 20km northwest Tunis about 17km northwest of Ghardimaou city and 49km to the west of Jendouba city. The importance of the park is attributed to the enclosure of more than 700 plant species and the numerous freshwater springs that provide the park with water. Among these plants are the aromatic plants like African oak, cork oak, lavender and myrtle. Additionally, the park receives a high range of annual rainfall that reaches about 1200-200 mm and snow is recorded annually. Of special interest, the park locates few meters away from the Algerian frontier with its mature oak forests where the Barbary deer live. There are also archaeological remains of interest for this inventory.

5.2. Cultural Heritage

A) Related to current constructions, buildings and art pieces in general

Architectonical elements /Sculptures:

There have been found some sculptures in obsidiana.

In the case of gardens: original and current style:
It is not the case.
Man-made elements related to water management:
  • Public
There are about 24 water points and 19 of which are permanent sources of iron. The five others are sources of drinking water, landscaped fountains or captured to supply water to the surrounding rural populations.
B) Related to ancient remains

  • Archaeological components:

    The ancient vestiges that remain in El Feija show how the site was poblated since prehistoric times (more than 10.000 years ago, in neolithic period) until recent times. The obsidian sculptures, or the rock paintings in Kef Chizuko cave, considered as a mithical place for indigenous inhabitants, are good representations of that period. Also, there are numidiam ruins with more than 2000 years, and more recent rest of settlements and forts of argelian soldiers, (1960 y 1962).

  • Traces in the environment of human activity: Archaeological remains.
C) Related to intangible, social and spiritual values

  • Population, ethnic groups: Around 140 families are living in the surroundings of the park.
  • Languages and dialects: Arabic
  • Lifestyle, believing, cults, traditional rites: Berber lifestyle.

5.3. Quality

Perspectives/Views/ Points of interest/Setting:

-El Feija National Park. -Archaeological remains already described in this file.

6. VALUES

Tangible

  • Aesthetic
  • Archaeological
  • Ecological
The main tangible values of "El Feija National Park and its archaeological landscape" are: -Aesthetic: The National Park offer a wonderful landscape plenty of forest, mountains, hills, valleys, natural springs and lakes, where endangered species of flora and fauna are still preserved. -Archaeological: El Feija has an important archaeological heritage of Neolithic and numidian remains, including some rock paintings relatively well preserved. -Botanical/Zoological: El Feija National Park represents an ecosystem unique in Tunisia. Of special interest are its mature oak forests where the Barbary deer live.

Intangible

  • Historical
The archaeological remains found in the area are a testimony of the ancient way of living of prehistoric civilization. The population of the park is implicated in the management programs of the park, showing a good example of interaction between human being and nature.
Authenticity:
El Feija National Park is the best site for an overview of endangered species of flora and fauna. In another hand, the oldest archaeological remains found in the park date of Neolithic period.
Universality:
Med-O-Med agrees the criteria proposed in the Tentative List of UNESCO (vii, viii, x) and resolves to include the criterion (iv): iv) The Neolithic and the numidian ancient remains found in the park are a good example of a type of building and other human traces which are completely integrated in the nature, illustrating significant stages in human history (from prehistory until recent times). vii) El Feija National Park is considered as one of the most beatiful natural sites in North Africa. viii) Is is an outstanding example representing major stages of earth's history, including the record of life, significant on-going geological processes in the development of landforms, or significant geomorphic or physiographic features. x) It is a natural refuge for endangered species of flora and fauna, and for endemism of Tunisia and North Africa, as the Barbary deer. Population of the park is implicated in the management programs of the park, showing a good example of interaction between human being and nature. IUCN defines the universalty and quality of the site as follows: El Feija National Park: Category II. "Protected area managed mainly for ecosystem protection and recreation Natural area of land and/or sea, designated to (a) protect the ecological integrity of one or more ecosystems for present and future generations, (b) exclude exploitation or occupation inimical to the purposes of designation of the area and (c) provide a foundation for spiritual, scientific, educational, recreational and visitor opportunities, all of which must be environmentally and culturally compatible."

7. ENCLOSURES

Historical and graphical data (drawings, paintings, engravings, photographs, literary items…):

El Feija National Park and its archaeological landscape is one of all of the cultural landscapes of Tunisia which is included in The Cultural Landscape inventory runned by Med-O-Med.

Bibliography:

http://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/5383/ http://whc.unesco.org/venice2002 http://en.tunisientunisie.com/national-park-of-el-feija-in-tunisia/ http://tunisiavista.com/Guide+and+Information+for+EI+Feija+National+Park_30_100_31_498002387_en.html http://www.worldheritagesite.org/sites/t5383.html http://www.discoveryheritagesites.com/tunisia/ -UNESCO. (2001). Convention concerning the protection of the world cultural and natural heritage. World Heritage Committee. 25 session. Helsinki, Finland. -UNESCO. (2002). Cultural Landscapes: the Challenges of Conservation. Associated Workshops, World Heritage. Ferrara , Italy.

Compiler Data: Sara Martínez Frías.