This is one of the finest and best conserved
buildings of the series of “fortress-monasteries”
that dotted the North African coastline to serve
both as defences against assailants come from
overseas and as a place for spiritual retreats.
The Sousse Ribat was built at the end of the
VIIIth century. Its architectural style is broadly
inspired by the style of the Byzantines who preceded
the Arab conquerors on African soil. In fact,
building materials reclaimed from Antiquity were
extensively used in the construction of the monument.
Behind the sturdy crenellated walls surmounted
by a watchtower that also served as a minaret,
the building is built on two levels opening on
a courtyard entirely bordered with arcaded porticos.
The upper level contained the austere cells of
“solider-monks”, while the entire
southern wing is occupied by the vast prayer room.