Ribat in the city of Monastir is the most ancient Islamic fortress monastery not only in Tunisia, but also in all Maghreb. In addition, this is the biggest ribat in North Africa, which has passed several superficial and rearrangements.
In his example, it is interesting to see how fortifing art has evolved over the past 1200 years. In this important difference between Ribat Monastir from Ribat Sousse, who quickly lost his military functions, was not completed and remained the same as 1000 years ago.
And not even going into the details of the plan of defense of the structure, ordinary tourists it is interesting to wander around the fortress walls, climb the sentigious tower and see the museum.
Curious and sad news
In the past 2019, the power of the city of Monastir still established the installation "I (heart) monastir". Installation is located 30 meters north of Ribat. At the time of the actualization of this article (March 2020), the installation already looks terrible, as the heart has already been painful as inscriptions. If you are in the monast form, it is very pleased not to draw on the heart. Do not disgrace Russia and Russian.
What is ribat and what it is notable in monastics
Ribat is an Islamic monastery fortress, where they lived and carried the military service of the monks, they were called "Murabituna". They were engaged only by prayers, spiritual practice and war. It was believed that the Murabitun was guaranteed to get into paradise.
It was Ribat who gave the name of the city of Monastir, because from the Greek "Monastir" is translated as "Monastery". The city name was given by the Byzantine (Greek) sailors who often appeared on the coast of Tunisia. Greeks sailed with at all peaceful goals, they knew about Ribat on their sad experience.
At the end of the 8th century, the fifth caliph of the Abbasid Dynasty Harun Al-Rashid decided to build a network of fortresses along the coast of Iphricia (North Africa) to protect the young Arab cities and pilgrims from the raids of Byzantine. He ordered to build a whole chain of ribans around the coast and partly his plan was incarnated by local governors.
Read about the conquest of Tunisia Arabs and those turbulent times in detail in our article "History of Tunisia".
The word "ribat" is translated as "a place where you can hide". Rocidates were not only in place of service of the monks Mirabitun, but also a place where pilgrims were hidden and rested, following Mecca. They were also the centers of dissemination of Islam, educational institutions.
Already in 9-10 centuries, the rods lost military functions and remained cultural centers. But not Ribat Monastir, who served as coastal defense until the 20th century. As a result of several rearrangements and superficials, it broke so much that now it can be lost in it.
In each ribate there was a mosque where Mirabitun and pilgrims could pray. In the Ribat Monastir, two mosques – a unique case in Maghreb.
How to get
Ribat is located in the central part of the city of Monastir. Spa Zone Screeze, where beach hotels are located, is far away, you will have to go by taxi. The distance from hotels – from 4 to 15 kilometers, the price of a trip across the meter – from 4 to 12 dinars.
Current Currency Currency Currency See the article "Tunisian Dinar", and target Taxi Tariffs are looking for a taxi in Tunisia article.
Vacationers in the resorts of El Cantaui, Sousse and Mahdia can come to the monastir by train. It is fast and cheap, read our article "Metro Sachel".
Waiting for the rest of the resorts of Tunisia we do not advise you to go to the monastir yourself – expensive and tedious. It is more convenient to go on a sightseeing tour of the monastiter.
How to reach Ribat from the railway station
You look at the map and route on it on the photo nearby, click on the map to enlarge full screen.
From the station building, follow and left, come to the walls of the medina of the city of Monastir and goal in Medina (Gate of Bab al-Cuka). Come in the gate and follow directly on Rue De L’Independence (Independence Street).
Consider that the street is narrow and it drives vehicles. Be extremely vigilant, because with the observance of traffic rules in Tunisia, there are big problems, as we talked in detail in the article "Danger in Tunisia".
Follow the street 500 meters and go to the big area, see the fortress and the right building of the big mosque. Log in is from the side of the big mosque.
Entry ticket – 7 Tunisian dinars. Children under 6 years old – free.
Picture permit shot – 1 dinar.
Photo tickets See left, click on the photo to enlarge.
In the winter season (C 16.09 to 30.04) – from 8:30 to 17-00.
In the summer season (from 1.05 to 15.09) – from 8:30 to 18:00.
Ribat is not a religious institution, no dress code is not here.
A bit of history
Ribat in the monastir was built in 796-797. Year 181 in the Islamic calendar (796 in Gregorian) are called several chronicles, referring to a certain stone plate with the inscription. Presumably, now this sign erased.
Ribat was built by order of Harfam Ibn-Ayan – Governor of Tunisia in the composition of the Khaliphate Abbasid. Architect unknown. Initially, it was a classic ribant square shape with bastions and one watchdog in the corners.
Already then the monastir ribat was more than other similar structures. In the early 10th century, Geographer, Chronicle and Traveler Ibn-Havkal talks about him as the biggest in Efrikia.
A big completion occurred in the era of Fatimids in 966. She did Abu Al-Qasim Ibn-Tammam, as evidenced by the stone plate, which is now stored in the Louvre in Paris. From the south and west attached buildings and walls. "Women’s Ribat" appeared and a new entrance from the Great Mosque, the main gates were rebuilt.
In the 11th century, the historian and geographer al-Bakri from Andalusia describes the construction: "Very high and good fortress. On the first floor, there is a mosque over the ground, where sheikhs are held, full of virtues and dignity that direct the local community ".
As can be seen from the record, in the 11th century Ribat Monastir has not lost nor military nor religious, nor cultural significance.
From 11 to 19th century the fortress is constantly completed and rebuilt. There is a memorial plaque, the inscription on which it reports that in 1424 the area of the construction reached 4200 square meters.M. The walls had to be modified so that artillery guns could be placed. New bastions were added.
In 1534, Ribat could not take Spaniards who captured the entire Tunisian coast. Thanks to good protection, the inhabitants of the monastiter remained independent. However, in 1554, the monastir seized the Turks.
Large-scale work conducted Bay Hussein II in 1824-1835. However, the strengthening of defense did not help the beeam, in 1881 the entire Tunisia falls under the French Protectorate. After that, Ribat was no longer used in military and religious purposes, and after independence he became an open-air museum.
What to look
Outside the fortress can see a lot of interesting. About one of the walls can be viewed and touched a real gun. It is interesting to see special skates from the sea – the obstacle to the landing of the landing.
And of course, it is worth looking at high and massive walls and ribat towers. With the North and Eastern Parties, bastions can be seen, where artillery used to be.
See a small selection of photos below, click to enlarge.
Two entrances lead inside.
The first entrance from the Khabib Burgibiba Mosque. Above the entrance there is a sign with the inscription "Musee", once it was possible to enter the museum, without visiting the fortress itself. Now this entrance is closed.
The second entrance is located on the part of the big Mosque Monastir. These gates are easy to learn from the ancient arches on both sides (see photo). Come here and buy tickets. If necessary, the toilet is located next to the ticket office (see photo).
You will enter the yard of the main and the most ancient part of Ribat. This courtyard is easy to find out in a trimmed tree trimmed in a rectangular shape. Looking around and see the result of the latest rearrangements – a large scat for lifting up the artillery guns (see photo). If you look closely, notice that Ribat consists of the inner old part and new external walls – the fortress inside the fortress.
Several photos below, click on the photo to enlarge.
Celi and premises
Attention! On October 18 and 19, 2013, two small earthquakes of 4 and 3.6 scores on the Richter scale occurred in the Monastir region. These fairly weak underground shocks were able to damage the walls. From this we can conclude that the designs are now rather fragile.
Be careful, look under your feet and do not rely on the elements of the building. We especially carefully look at the children, many stairs shaky and completely without a railing!
On the south side on the first floor there is a big hall, once a milean room was here, then he became a female part of Ribat. Southern Announcement and Women’s Part dated 966 year.
Inside you can find two chairs and a huge number of small rooms. They were used as Celi for Murabitun, warehouses and residential premises for pilgrims.
See a few photos below, click on the photo to enlarge.
Perhaps this is the most interesting for tourists. Magnificent views are opening up with a sentier tower, almost the entire monastir can be seen.
100 stages lead to top, the passage is very narrow, break in it by two even slim people difficult (see photo). Upstairs on a low side player, be extremely neat, especially with children.
Interesting moment that the tower is inside Ribat. Once she went out with her wall outside, but then the fortress expanded, and the tower was inside.
Views from the tower, see the photo below, click to enlarge.
Museum will find easily, he is on the second floor in the main yard. Above the door signboard with black Arabic Vysuya (see photo).
Museum Ribat Monastir boasts very interesting exhibits. The "pearl" museum is considered the remnants of the legendary red gates of the Great Mosque Kairuan. They know them without difficulty.
Longer tourists are delayed on a stand with a collection of silver and gold coins. Interesting solar clocks and astrolabia. In the 8-10th centuries, the Arabs were world leaders in science, and proof of this – advanced tools of the time that exhibited in the museum.
The most important museum exhibits see the photo below, click to enlarge.
In the museum, a rich collection of ceramics from Roman and even the Punic period to late Arabic. You can visually see the evolution of pottery right up to modern ceramics in Tunisia.
Extremely curious exhibit – these are ancient glass nipples for babies. In those days, the nipples did exactly from the glass.
Even very interesting exhibits – the ancient leaves of the Quran and the stand for reading. The most ancient exhibits – the funeral steles of the Roman period.
Several photos of interesting exhibits See on the photo below, click to enlarge.
The museum was created on August 5, 1958, that is, immediately after the announcement of the independence of Tunisia.
The museum of tourists confuses that the description of the majority of exhibits is only in Arabic, and there are no pivot dating on the explanatory signs. However, a positive impression from the museum does not spoil.
– In this article, we led map. It shows the Magasin Genreal supermarket. If you do not know what this store is useful, then you must read our article "Magasin General";
– On the square between Ribat and the Khabib Mosque, there are a lot of cafes and restaurants, where you can eat cheap or just relax for a cup of coffee. What kind of dishes are to try first, read in our article "Tunisian cuisine";
– Do not forget to see the other attractions near the Mausoleum of Habiba Burbibiba and the National Costume Museum.
Nice excursions in the monastiter, and read our interesting articles on holiday in Tunisia (Links below).