Desert oases offer an interesting meditation and symbolic presence. In the middle of a harsh and unrelenting landscape (desert, scrub, rocks, sand) lies what is often an idyllic and serene place. If the oasis provides freshwater, these oasis even become sacred places, used to sustain life. Shade, sometimes sustenance from wild plants, water…all of these combine to create a hermitage spot that allows for isolation.
Chebika is a mountain oasis in western Tunisia, in Tozeur Governorate. Chebika lies at the foot of the mountains of the Djebel el Negueb and, because of its exposure to the sun, it is known as Qasr el-Shams (“Castle of the Sun” in Arabic). In antiquity, it was once a Roman outpost, named Ad Speculum and later a mountain refuge of the Berber people. While it is now a tourist site, it stil offers chances for reflection, not only on the present moment but what has come before. Dwelling on the past is counterproductive but understanding it as the foundaition of what occurs today is helpful in understanding the journay ahead.
The surronding area is filled with various oases, mountain tops, and caves making the geography perfect for life in the desert.