Name of Monument:
In the outskirts of Tunis, The Bardo, Tunis, Tunisia
Date of Monument:
Hegira 13th century / AD 19th century
Architect(s) / master-builder(s):
Hamda ibn ‘Uthman, Muhammad al-Gharbi.
Period / Dynasty:
Husayn ibn Mahmud (AH 1240–51 / AD 1824–35) for the Little Palace. Muhammad Sadiq Bey (2nd half of the 19th century) for the Grand Palace
The existence of the Bardo in the Hafsid period is authenticated by the descriptions of travellers such as Anselme Adorne, who came from Bruges in 1470, and Leon the African. In the Muradite period, de Thévenot, in his Relation d'un voyage …, mentions 'Bardés'. In the Husaynid period, both Peysonnel and the chevalier d'Arvieux describe the beylical residence. Thus it appears that the Bardo was occupied continuously, but it was Husayn ibn Ali who definitely transferred the court to the Bardo at the beginning of the 11th / 17th century. In the aftermath of the protectorate, the wing reserved for women was given over to the museum inaugurated on the 7th of May 1888 under the name of the Alawi Museum, which became the National Bardo Museum in 1957.
The Bardo was a fortified beylical city complex comprising a palace, a barracks, a mosque, a hammam and a suq. The tower at the northeast corner is the only surviving example of the original five towers flanking the enclosure. The old military buildings, with their monumental doors embellished with pediments bearing beylical emblems are still visible, and so is the mosque.
View Short Description
The Bardo was a fortified Beylical city consisting of a palace, barracks, a mosque, a hammam and a suq. At the beginning of the AH 11th / AD 17th century, Bey Husayn ibn Ali moved his court here and made it his principal residence. The official palace, accessed by a stairway guarded by marble lions, has served as the Chamber of Deputies since Independence. The Bardo Museum, once the Alawi Museum, was opened in 1888 and occupies the old seraglio (the wing once reserved for women). Today, this museum exhibits a most beautiful collection of antique mosaics.
How Monument was dated:
Historical sources such as d'Arvieux (Mémoires), de Thévenot (Relation d'un voyage fait au Levant), Peysonnel and Desfontaines (Voyages dans les Regences de Tunis et d'Alger).
Marçais, G., Architecture musulmane d'Occident, Paris, 1954, pp.35–6.
Citation of this web page:
Jamila Binous "Bardo Palace" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2020. 2020. http://islamicart.museumwnf.org/database_item.php?id=monument;ISL;tn;Mon01;16;en
Prepared by: Jamila Binous