This is the oldest monument in Sousse's medina, built in the final years of the 8th century AD as a fort. It was garrisoned by devout Islamic warriors, who divided their time between fighting and silent study of the Quran in its tiny, cell-like rooms. The internal courtyard is surrounded by porticoes; in the corner is a nador (watchtower) added by the Aghlabids in AD 821; climb the narrow spiral staircase to enjoy spectacular views over the medina.

The prayer hall on the 1st floor has an elegant vaulted ceiling and reflects its dual purpose with its fortified windows that were used by archers and the simple mihrab (prayer niche in the wall indicating the direction of Mecca; this is one of the oldest in North Africa).

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Sousse attractions

1. Zaouia Zakkak

0.06 MILES

The splendid octagonal stone minaret belongs to the 17th-century Zaouia Zakkak, the medina’s leading example of Ottoman architecture. Its blue-green stone…

2. Great Mosque

0.08 MILES

This typically austere Aghlabid affair was built in AD 851. Its architect adapted an earlier kasbah (fort), which explains the mosque’s turrets and…

3. Musée Dar Essid

0.14 MILES

In a quiet part of Sousse's medina, this privately owned museum shows off a beautiful old home, furnished in the style of a well-to-do 19th-century Sousse…

4. Medina

0.15 MILES

Added to Unesco's World Heritage List in 1988, Sousse's 9th-century medina is an unusual and important example of Aghlabid military coastal architecture…

5. Kalat El Koubba

0.17 MILES

The rooms surrounding the courtyard of this funduq (caravanserai) contain naff mannequin displays of day-to-day life under the Ottomans. The building is…

6. Souq Er Ribba

0.18 MILES

This souq and its western extension, Souq El Kayed, are the closest Sousse comes to a medieval bazaar. The roof is unmistakably modern, yet the sales…

7. Kasbah

0.38 MILES

Standing at the high point of the medina, the kasbah was built onto the city walls in the 11th century. It incorporates the imposing square Khalef tower,…

8. Sousse Archaeological Museum

0.38 MILES

Located inside the 11th-century kasbah, this museum showcases an extraordinary collection of 2nd- and 3rd-century Roman mosaics, one of the best in the…