El Kef also known as Le Kef, is a city in north western Tunisia and the capital of the Kef Governorate. Situated in the northwest of the country, 175 kilometres (109 mi) to the west of Tunis and some 40 kilometres (25 mi) east of the border between Algeria and Tunisia, El Kef has a population of 45,191 (2004 census). The old town is built on the cliff face of the table-top Jebel Dyr mountain. El Kef was the provisional capital of Tunisia during World War II. It was the command centre of the Front de Libération Nationale during the Algerian War of Independence against the French in the 1950s.
The patron saint of El Kef is Sidi Bou Makhlouf who gave his name to the city's mausoleum. First known by the name of Sicca during the Carthaginian era, then later Sicca Veneria during the rise of Roman domination, the city has carried numerous names throughout its history: Colonia Julia Cirta, Cirta Nova, Sikka Beneria, Shaqbanariya and finally El Kef since the 16th century.