Hammam Mellegue

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Hammam Mellegue is a few miles to the west of El Kef. It is a lovely run along a ridge with Aleppo pines with rosemary and juniper. The road drops steeply down the hillside with very dry soil and little vegetation to a river valley cut by a large fast flowing river from Algeria and Hamman Mellegue. We drove past a small farm house with small children playing outside, who were intrigued by the arrival of foreign visitors. As we left one little girl came up to me and shyly gave me a sweet.

This was the site of a Roman bath house. It doesn’t feature in the guide books and there is little information on the web. It is a popular spot with the locals. The Roman remains are close to the river and there are still working hammans for women and men next to them. Entry is into a changing area. Beyond is a room with a deep pool full of hot water. It was quite busy when we visited. We were assured the water was changed twice a day.

Beyond is a typical domed Berber building which is a small guest house for people visiting the hamman. The water is supposed to be good for rheumatism and arthritis. There is a nice short walk downstream along a track to a huge cliff face cut by the river. There has been differential erosion of the strata and the bands of harder rock stand out clearly. There was a lot of drying silt left on the river bed as the water level dropped after the winter rains. There were men fishing in the river.

It is a delightful place and worth visiting if you are in the area. (We didn’t go for a bathe though…)

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