Last update: November 14th, 2019 at 11:00 am
An astronaut aboard the International Space Station took this photograph showing the radiating street patterns of Tunisia’s second largest city, Sfax (population about 330,000). The radial pattern focuses on the ancient walled city—the “medina”with its small blocks, narrow streets, and even a slight color difference of the rooftops. The second photo is a tighter crop from the top photo.
Sfax is a major port and home to Tunisia’s largest fishing fleet; for scale, the fishing port is 1.1 kilometers (0.7 miles) long. Across the bottom of the full scene, the bed of an ephemeral river stretches to the sea.
For the astronauts, the most recognizable features of Sfax from space are the brilliantly colored salt ponds south of the old city and the new circular earth works of the Taparura redevelopment project just to the north. Taparura draws its name from the ancient town on which Sfax now stands. Engineers and developers have reclaimed many hectares of land along 5 kilometers (3 miles) of shoreline, re-engineering a polluted and marshy area alongside the city’s railroad tracks.