The Ribat of Sousse
sends the visitors back into the beginning of the Middle Ages, at the time of the rivalry between the Byzantine empire and the new Muslim empire…
More than eleven centuries ago, a community of Muslim ascetics settled on the shore of Tunisia, not far from the new capital, Kairouan
, which was founded a hundred years before.
In order to participate in the defence of the coastline, a small fort was constructed for these ascetics so that they could watch out for Byzantine attacks.
This fort is the Ribat of Sousse
, the most ancient Muslim monument in North Africa
Its square courtyard is surrounded by arches and cells for provisions.
On the upper floor, we find the rooms for the ascetics and a small hall of prayer, the oldest in the entire Muslim world.
A murder-hole overlooks the entranceway of the Ribat: it was used to shoot at invaders below.
But its most spectacular part is the tall watchtower
. At the time, it made it possible to communicate using light signals. Today, you can climb to the summit and enjoy a wonderful panorama across the whole medina of Sousse, a World Heritage Site