Medina of Sousse
Medina of Sousse (Rue de L’église, Sousse) – located 1 ½ hours (148km via car) south of Tunis, this is one of the finest and best conserved buildings of the series of “fortress-monasteries” that dotted the North African coastline to serve both as defenses against assailants come from overseas and as a place for spiritual retreats. A.k.a. Sousse Ribat, this site was built at the end of the 8th century. Its architectural style is broadly inspired by the style of the Byzantines who preceded the Arab conquerors on African soil. In fact, building materials reclaimed from Antiquity were extensively used in the construction of the monument.
Behind the sturdy crenellated walls surmounted by a watchtower that also served as a minaret, the building is built on two levels opening on a courtyard entirely bordered with arcaded porticos. The upper level contained the austere cells of “solider-monks”, while the entire southern wing is occupied by the vast prayer room. Admission: 7 Dt. Hours: 8:00 am – 5:30 pm (9/16 – 7/18), 8:00 am – 7:00 pm (7/18 – 9/15), 8:00 am – 5:00 pm (6/17 – 7/17).