Name of Monument:
Date of Monument:
Hegira 256 / AD 821
Architect(s) / master-builder(s):
The name of the architect is unknown, but a commemorative plaque confirms that the works were carried out by Masrur, freed slave of Prince Ziyadat Allah I.
Period / Dynasty:
Prince Ziyadat Allah I.
The ribat certainly existed in the 2nd /8th century, and served as a place of refuge for the Sussians during the incursions of the Byzantine fleet, but it was completely renovated by the Aghlabid prince Ziyadat Allah I. The monument has kept its original appearance up to this day and has only undergone very minor face-lifts, except that the north- and east-wing galleries were restored in 1135 (1722).
Built of stone, the ribat rises from a square plan with 38 m-long sides. Its external facades, surmounted with merlons, are flanked with round towers at the corners, semi-circular towers half-way along the walls and a cylindrical lookout tower on a square base on the southeast side. The design of the lookout tower was inspired by the Abbasid minarets which spread through the Maghreb from the end of the AH 2nd century (AD 8th).
View Short Description
Situated opposite the Great Mosque of Sousse, this ribat is a sort of fortress. Founded in the late AH 2nd / AD 8th century, it was completely refitted by Prince Ziyadat Allah I. The building’s military and religious use is undoubtedly the reason for its austerity; its small bedrooms and layout. It has circular towers at each of its corners except the southeast one, which has a circular minaret, and has only been subject to a few modifications, allowing it to retain its original appearance. It is currently home to an archaeological museum with a beautiful collection of antique mosaics.
How Monument was dated:
Historical and biographical sources (the historian al-Nuwayri for example) inform us that Ziyadat Allah I erected the Qasr al-Kabir (grand palace) in 206 (821). This is confirmed by a commemorative plaque engraved with a kufic inscription which announces that the works occurred at the date indicated.
Golvin, L., Essai sur l'architecture religieuse musulmane, t. 3, Paris, 1974, pp.208–10.
Citation of this web page:
Saloua Zangar "Sousse Ribat" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2020. 2020. http://islamicart.museumwnf.org/database_item.php?id=monument;ISL;tn;Mon01;15;en
Prepared by: Saloua Zangar