"Monastir" Monastir by Umneyy

Monastir Travel Guide: 90 reviews and 350 photos

Monastir in half a day!

I stayed in the Hotel Liberty Ramada 10 minutes down the road from Monastir in Skanes recently. We decided that a trip to Monastir would be nice and therefore after lunch we set off.

The taxi from Skanes cost 10 Dinar each way (5), and the taxi driver was very informative. He pointed out various locations on the way, such as the football stadium and the port. Upon arrival he arranged a time to pick us up. First we went for a walk into the shopping part of the town centre as I needed to exchange some money at the bank. The shopping parts were as you'd expect in a 'haggling' country - fake football shirts, cheap watches, and a lot of beady eyes watching you trying to entice you into their shop using well known British phrases such as 'Lovely-Jubbly' etc. There was one shop down an alley near the bank that was government owned and therefore set prices and no hassling. It was cheap and very chearful, I managed to pick up a wallet that was of a decent quality for 7 dinar (3.50). In general the town centre/market area was pretty relaxed with locals just sat around watching the world go by.

From the market we headed to the Ribat. The outside isn't very impressive however we proceeded to enter, the entry fee was 5 dinar (2.50) per person and an extra dinar if you wanted to take photos. It is currently being reconstructed to its original state however it was still worth every penny. The rooms are deserted and covered in sand, threes a few broken tables here and there but it has great character and you could spend hours in there just getting lost in the maze like corridors. The view from the top is amazing, with a 360 view of the area overlooking the city. The climb to the top is quite steep and narrow and twisting but it's worth it. We spent around 45 minutes inside the Ribat and probably could have spent another hour in there with a decent camera. Also if you have the equipment I'd recommend taking a decent lens up there, maybe a 75-300 which I used, some of the architecture around the city that you can pick out is amazing.

From the Ribat we moved on to the Bourguiba Mausoleum. This place is incredible. As we walked up the path towards the entrance we saw a funeral go past, this itself was an intriguing event. There were thousands of followers to the funeral, all carrying gifts. They went off to the thousands of tombs that are located next to the Bourguiba Mausoleum which are visible from the top of the Ribat. Unfortunately we didn't take a look around there, but it looked extremely interesting.

The mausoleum of Bourguiba's family is an odd reminder of Tunisia's political system. Habib Bourguiba was the first president of Tunisia, and although he never was elected by the people in free elections, he is generally considered as the father of the modern nation.
Bourguiba died in 2000, and was buried here. Before him, his parents and his wife had both been lain to ground under one of the 2 green domes.
The mausoleum was started to be built in 1963, and has many similarities to the typical mosque and holy man's tomb (zawiyya). In addition to the 3 domes (2 green and one gilded), there are 2 minarets marking the entrance to the complex.

This place was the highlight of the day for me!

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:A great ribat and mosque, with a beautiful view
  • Cons:Being hassled into shops
  • In a nutshell:Intriguing
  • Last visit to Monastir: Oct 2011
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Comments (1)

  • yumyum's Profile Photo
    Oct 27, 2011 at 4:05 AM

    Great start of your page! Well written! Actually, the taxi information, the market and the mausoleum could be 3 separated tips. Taxi as a transport tip and the 2 others as things to do. Then it would be possible for other member to rate the tips ;-) Keep up the good work :-)

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