Tozeur’s bricks

Published : 26-09-2018

Discover the traditional way to make the bricks in Tozeur, one of the greatest oases of Southern Tunisia. In the old city, the original yellow ochre bricks architecture of the traditional houses is amazing…

While visiting Tozeur and its surroundings, you can only be surprised by the traditional architecture of the houses, built in small yellow bricks. These bricks are handmade in traditional kilns. Here are the main steps of this process.

The clay mixed with sand is soaked before being kneaded for a long time, with the feet then with the hands.

A wooden two-cases frame is used to mold the bricks. They are then covered with ashes to avoid them to dry too quickly.

The bricks are dried a first time in the sun, then recut. They are put to dry a second time by stacking them on the edge for better ventilation. The process will last for several days.

The kiln
The brick kiln is dug in the soil and includes two levels. The combustible is placed below, under an openwork vault so that the heat can go up. The bricks are stacked on the top level.
Little palms are used at the beginning of the firing process to have a moderate temperature. Then big palms are put in the kiln to raise the temperature to 900°C. The firing lasts for the whole day. You will have to wait for four days to have it completely cooled down and be able to open the kiln.

Brick walls in the old town of Tozeur
On the façades, the bricks form great patterns like diamonds, zigzags, stylized snakes or palm trees.

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