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Old town atmosphere, Sousse (with the Sousse Ribat in the background)

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 defences against assailants come from overseas and as a place for spiritual retreats.
The Sousse Ribat was built at the end of the VIIIth 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.

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.(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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