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Monastir was founded in the 9th century on the ruins of the Punic-Roman city of Ruspina. Traditionally a fishing port, the city today is a largely purpose-built tourist town of pristine streets and lavish landscaping. However you will also find a well preserved old fortress, the Ribat, located right on the waterfront and restored many times. Home to a Museum of Islamic Art and Artefacts, this is the main historical attraction of Monastir, along with the impressive golden-domed Bourguiba Mosque. The combination of the Ribat’s ancient atmosphere fused with a modern resort complex makes Monastir a very popular destination among travellers looking for a beach holiday with an accent on tradition. You will enjoy great promenades along the marina in the shade of the walls, with on one side a glimpse of the bluest Mediterranean and on the other side open air terraces of hotels, coffee houses and restaurants. Most of Monastir’s tourist hotels are situated 5 to 6 km (3 to 4 miles) west of the town centre at Skanes, close to the airport. The beaches are great; Skanes and Dkhila being the finest, with sand and very clean water. You will enjoy many sea sport activities such as sailing, windsurfing, underwater sightseeing and much more. If you have time, a day tour to discover ancient Roman, Arab, Berber or Phoenician sites is recommended. Or sample the cities of Sousse or Kairouan, where you will taste the real flavour of North African culture.
You will find a well preserved old fortress, the Ribat, located right on the waterfront and restored many times. Home to a Museum of Islamic Art and Artefacts, this is the main historical attraction of Monastir, along with the impressive golden-domed Bourguiba Mosque. The combination of the Ribat’s ancient atmosphere fused with a modern resort complex makes Monastir a very popular destination among travellers looking for a beach holiday with an accent on tradition.
The food in Monastir and Tunisia is largely based on olive oil and spices. The national dish is the famous Berber couscous: durum wheat steamed and soaked in a sauce. It can be made with vegetables, fish, fresh or dried octopus, beef, veal and lamb. You will find plenty of good restaurants in the old town and the marina.
If you like haggling, you will enjoy shopping in Monastir! Start by cutting the offer in half, and then work your way up to a compromise if you are really interested. If you prefer fixed prices at the controlled handicrafts shops, try just outside the medina or if you have time the large Soula Centre in Sousse.
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