Medina of Sousse

Medina of Sousse
Photo by Els Slots.

The Medina of Sousse is the most important example of military coastal architecture from the early period of Islam.

The city flourished from the 9th century, and the oldest buildings in the historic center such as the Ribat, the Bu Fatata Mosque and the Great Mosque date from this period. They show examples of Islamic art and construction techniques in its first period.

Its ribat is the oldest and most typical of this type of fortifications that were constructed along the North African coastline. They combined military and religious functions.

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Christravelblog

Netherlands - 20-Nov-22 -

Medina of Sousse by Christravelblog

The Medina of Sousse is a beautiful example of a walled ancient city core (a medina) which characteristics are the narrow streets. There are beautiful, mainly blue with some yellow, coloured houses which reminded me a bit of the Spanish colonial houses I saw in Diamantina, Minas Gerais, Brazil. Completely different of course but somehow it reminded me.

I visited the archaeological museum first because it has the famous mosaic with the Medusa head. When I entered Sousse through the gate I walked straight down towards the souks. To my surprise most shops where closed, it was a Friday! Good or bad? To photograph the streets, it was perfect as it wasn’t crowded with just a few cats roaming the alleys. Of course, it means I didn’t really get the feeling of what’s happening during the working days. I simply followed the designated walking route with some detours here and there to just look in the alleys. Don’t forget the Dar Essid Museum and continue to the Ribat and the Grand Mosque.

I think I loved my extensive visit on Friday; half a day is enough. What I have read is very touristic every other single day. I also visited Sfax, which is bustling in an authentic way without tourists.

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Philipp Peterer

Switzerland - 03-Sep-19 -

Medina of Sousse by Philipp Peterer

Visit: April 2018. Sousse was certainly less touristy than I expected it to be, considering its position right in the all inclusive holiday zone of Tunisia. I assume it gets its fair share of tourists during high season, but mostly in form of tour groups. As individual travellers me and my son were the only western tourists during our morning visit. The highlights were the town wall and the fort (Riba) where you can climb all the towers to get a good view. I also enjoyed the Archaeological Museum (Kasbah) with a vast display of mosaics and the rather clean narrow streets of the old town. No hassling was going on, but this might have been caused by our (too) early arrival. I certainly liked Sousse more than the nearby boring Kairouan. Depending on how much you are interested in Arab cities, allow 3-5 hours to get a good overview.

I parked for free, close to the town walls. Parking anyway never turned out to be a a big problem in Tunisia, you just have to be a bit creative and leave you car where others do the same.

The town is close to the A1, so it’s easy accessed from Tunis. You might consider the area as a hub anyway as there are loads of hotels and 2 other WHS within easy reach.


Klaus Freisinger

Austria -

Sousse is an important port and tourist centre on the central Tunisian coast. Its old town and fortress are very nice to explore, although I'm not sure they are so exceptional that they belong on the WH list. Maybe they are representative examples of architectural styles.


Ian Cade

UK -

Medina of Sousse by Ian Cade

The Medina in Sousse is perhaps the nicest in the country to look at, and a cool feeling is given off by the white washed walls and blue medina doors. The Medina has more tourists than the other sites on the WHC list as it is next to the holiday resort stretch of the Tunisian coast, and this does mean that the atmosphere in the medina is not as genuine as in some of the other cities in the country and the quest for tourist money seems to have a more negative effect on shop owners!, but as any traveller knows that if you just go to some parts off the beaten track you will find a much more genuine picture of medina life.

The Ribat offers great views of the Medina especially the Mosque, and the Kasbah perched at the top of the medina has some stunning mosaics and you get a good look at perhaps the best Medina walls in the country!

Sousse is an easy place to visit due to it also being a beach resort and provides a great base to see some of the other UNESCO sites such as Kairouan and the Amphitheatre at El- Jem, also worth a trip is Monastir where the Ribat is stunning and doubles as Jerusalem in many films such as "Life of Brian"!


Site Info

Full Name
Medina of Sousse
Unesco ID
498
Country
Tunisia
Inscribed
1988
Type
Cultural
Criteria
3 4 5
Categories
Urban landscape - Arabic and Middle Eastern
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By ID

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1988 Inscribed

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The site has 1 locations

Medina of Sousse

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4matcha A. Mehmet Haksever AYB Airpunk Alberto Rodriguez Gutierrez Alexander Barabanov Alfons and Riki Verstraeten Ali Zingstra Ana Lozano Andrew Wembridge Artur Anuszewski Aspasia Atila Ege Baiqitun Bauchat Bob Parda Boj Bram de Bruin Brigitte Huber Christer Sundberg Christian Wagner Christravelblog Corinne Vail Ctravel CugelVance DOn Szumowski Dagmara Dani Cyr David Marton Dibro Dimitar Krastev Dimitrios Polychronopoulos Dkabanov Dradrienn Drazsika Dutchbirder ELVAN YURDUSEN Eleonora Ellen Nielsen Els Slots Esther Westerveld Eva Kisgyorgy Fan Yibo Fderuet Feldhase Frank Britton G.L. Ingraham George Gdanski Gi Gianmarco Gillian Taylor Grzegorz Andruszkiewicz Haining Guan HaraldOest Harry Mitsidis History Fangirl Howard Howard Brayer Hyoga Iain Jackson Ian Cade Inigo Cia Izzet Ege Jakob Frenzel Jarek Pokrzywnicki Jaroslav Klement Jasm Jason and Corrinna Jonas Hagung Jonas Kremer Jos Schmitz Joyce van Soest Juha Sjoeblom Julianna Lees KB1 Kasienka5 Kasper KentishTownRocks Klaus Freisinger Krijn Krisztina zill Krzysztof B LaVale Lars Bogstad Leontine Helleman Lisa Ross Loic Pedras Longdutch Lucio Gorla Ludvan Luis Filipe Gaspar Lukasz Palczewski M. Huineman de la Cuadra MaYumin Maciej Gowin Majkl20 Malgorzata Kopczynska Marcel staron Maria Mariska Marta Lempert Mateusz Mathieu Mattias MaxHeAnouBen Melinda Baumann Michael Novins Michal Marciniak Mikek Mikeyboyracer Mikko Milan Jirasek Miloš Tašković MohamedOuali Monika and Rini Morodhi NCosta Naim Y Nanvano NataliaS Nihal Ege Nmocosta79 Nomad99 PabloNorte Pascal Cauliez Patphilly Patrik Paul Schofield Peter Lööv Petteri Pg280172 Philipp Leu Philipp Peterer Randi Thomsen Reza Ri Roberto Diaz Robin Frank Roel Sterken Roger Ourset Roland Roman Bruehwiler Roman Koeln Roman Raab Rudegirl SHIHE HUANG Sachin SaoDies Sascha Grabow Solivagant Stanimir Stanislaw Warwas Stefan Loov Stephen Brooker Susan Stair Svein Elias Szucs Tamas Thomas Buechler Thomas van der Walt TimAllen Tino A Offner Topaas Torkjell Djupedal WHS Lux WalGra Walter Werner Huber Wolfgang Hlousa WolfgangHl Wtrentfox Yellowjohn Zach Zacharymackenzie Zoë Sheng Zsuzsanna Forray