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Tourbet el Bey
Tourbet el Bey is the Ottoman mausoleum of the Husseinite dynasty that ruled Tunisia for more than two centuries. The marble graves of almost all the Husseinite Beys lay there, along with those of their families and their favourite ministers and court people. The mausoleum was erected during the reign of Ali Bey II (1759-1782). The graves occupy the patio and a set of rooms crested with domes that are sometimes covered with green tiles. The walls are adorned with polychrome faience tiles in the outdoor space and with ceramic tiles and finely worked stucco on the ceiling domes inside the rooms. The most richly decorated room, partly covered with wrought marble, is the one that houses the graves of the beys who ruled the country. The male graves are topped with some epitaphs that are characterized by a marble tarbouch (an ottoman hat) or a marble turban, whereas the female graves enjoy simple marble plates. More photos can be found in one of my travelogues.
Open: 9.30am - 4.30pm Tues-Sun. Admission: TD2, camera TD1.
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Hidden at the southern edge of the medina, Tourbet el-Bey is the mausoleum of the Husseinite beys who ruled Tunisia from 1705 to 1957, when the country became a republic. Built during the reign of Ali Pasha II (1758-1782), its is recognizable by its cupolas whose tiles look like fish scales.
Inside, a wealth of Tunisian ceramics and other opulent decorations, designed according to the fashions of the day (mainly Italian and Ottoman), await you. The most particular part is the male tombs, which have been topped with the preferred headgear of the buried bey. There are also two courtyards, one of which has an orange tree.
Entrance is 2 dinars per person, with 1 dinar extra for photos. However, if you go in and out quick enough, you may even get away with a free visit: it was the janitor who had us buy our entry tickets after we had already seen 2-3 rooms, and the actual ticket clerk only showed up as we were leaving.
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Stucco Fantasia over noble tombs
Deep within Tunis' medina is the Mausoleum Tourbet el Bey, the last resting place of the Husseinid dynasty, rulers of Tinus from the 18th Century.
The building is squat and multidomed, with a plain exterior. Inside, the many chambers are decorated with intricate stuccowork, with geometric and plant motifs, sometives in vibrant colour.
The most elaborate decoration is reserved for the most illustrious of those in repose. The tombs of males bear turbans on their memorials, the females, simple plaques. The multicoloured glass lanterns are a fine finishing touch.
Entry in 2006 was 2 Dirhams, with an extra charge for cameras
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