THE HUN OASIS

Hun has a history of several different settlements, each being built to replace an earlier village swallowed up by the desert. Which explains why it is called the “migrating town”. Although we have no information on the exact period when Izkan (also known as the “first Hun”) was founded, we do know that the settlement disappeared five centuries ago, perhaps after an earthquake, a flood or a plague, but definitely as the consequence of a sudden and unexpected scourge.

The “second Hun” was built under Turkish rule and flourished for three and a half centuries, when it was eventually abandoned due to the sand storms that inexorably eroded the walls of the buildings. In the mid-19th century the inhabitants submitted a request to the Ottoman rulers, asking for permission to build a new town. This was to be the “third Hun”, a quadrangular, typically Arab structure that replaced the structure of the earlier Berber-style concentric settlements (like Waddan, Sokna and Zellah).

In the 1970s the “third Hun” was itself abandoned, and left to fall into ruins, as the inhabitants opted for dwellings with more modern comforts (such as bathrooms inside the buildings). Today the “old town” still provides a highly evocative backdrop for exhibitions of local craftsmanship. The area where the “second Hun” stood is today a favourite place for picnics in the dunes, offering as it does a splendid view of the Marabout (a shrine and place of worship that has developed around the tomb of a holy man) and spectacular sunsets.