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Great Mosque & The Old town, Sousse

Sousse (Arabic سوسة Sousa), is a city of Tunisia. Located 140 km south of Tunis, the city has 173, 047 inhabitants (2004). It is in the central-east of the country, on the Gulf of Hammamet, which is a part of the Mediterranean Sea. The name may be of Berber origin: similar names are found in Libya and in the south of Morocco (Bilād al-Sūs). It is the capital of Sousse Governorate with 540,000 inhabitants (2005 estimate). The main economic activities of Sousse are tourism and fishing. Industries produce transport equipment, canned sardines and other sorts of processed food, olive oil and textiles. The port is involved in exports and imports and Sousse serves as a commercial center. The surrounding area produces olives and esparto grass on a large scale. It is home to the Université de Sousse (or Université de Monastir). Sousse is the most important junction for overland communications in Tunisia, both by road and rail. The city shares an international airport with Monastir.
The landmark of Sousse is the Great Mosque and the ribat, both from the 9th century. Sousse is extended to the north with a touristic zone, the Port El Kantaoui, which stretches for several kilometres along the beach.

Great mosque

Built in the early IXth century, remodelled and extended during the Xth and XVIIth centuries, it is adjacent to the Ribat, from which it has inherited the fortified aspect with a crenellated surrounding wall flanked by two watchtowers facing the shore, from where assailants from overseas could have appeared. A small door leads into the building and gives into a vast courtyard surrounded by porticos with arcades dating to the XVIIth century. The prayer room, as vast as the courtyard, is surmounted by two cupolas with shells; its roofing is supported by masonry pillars and its mihrab oriented towards Mecca, is richly decorated.

HISTORY
9th century BCE: The town is founded by the Phoenicians, and is called Hadrumetum.
2nd century BCE: The city allies itself with the Romans against Carthage. It becomes later part of the Roman Empire, and the name is slightly changed into Hadrumentum.
5th century CE: Destroyed by the Vandals, but settlements continued. Called Hunerikopolis.
6th century: Byzantium takes control, and names the city Justinianopolis.
7th century: Arabs take over control of the city, and names it Sūsa.
9th century: Main sea port for the Aghlabid dynasty and their capital of Kairouan.
827: Outlet for the launching of Aghlabid invasion of Sicily.
12th century: A Norman occupation, but this is only short lived.
16th century: Spanish occupation.
18th century: Bombardments from both France and Venice.
Late 19th century: The French make additions to the port facilities of Sousse, making it one of the main ports of this part of Tunisia.
(Source: http://lexicorient.com)

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Additional Photos by George Rumpler (Budapestman) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 8900 W: 3 N: 20435] (82620)
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