Kalaout el Koubba, Sousse
Kalaout el-Koubba is a building that was built in the 11th or 12th century according to Fatimid architectural style. While its original function is not known, its current function is much clearer: to showcase the everyday life of Tunisians under Ottoman rule.
Kalaout el-Koubba's most recognizable feature is its cupola, with its zigzag ribbing.
Both the exterior and interior are attractive, note especially the zigzag fluting of the cupola. It is the only of its kind on the African continent.
Today, it is used mainly as a museum, where well-made presentations show life during Ottoman times.
The museum is open Mon-Thu and Sat 9.30-13.00 and 15.00-17.30, and Sun 10.00-14.00. Entrance fee is 2TD, camera permit 1TD.
The Kalat el-Koubba is located right in the middle of the Medina and was built in the late 11th century. It used to be a funduq (inn) with rooms around a central courtyard. These rooms display mannequins in various scenes from daily life under Ottoman rule. They are dressed in traditional national dress and play musical instruments or attend to cooking, embroidary, cloth making etc. More photo's can be found in one of my travelogues.
Admission: TD2 plus TD1 for camera.
Kalaout el Koubba is an interesting museum, housed in a nice building in the medina with two floors above ground and one below. There are exhibits on Tunisian marriages and local customs, though the most impressive sight is the Koubba, a bizarre zig-zag type structure on the top of the building.
We were accosted by the museum guide who told us all about the place as well as giving us a long talk on why he disliked East Europeans. "They come to Sousse, wear short shirts, don't respect the locals. The girls take their wedding rings off and have affairs with the local men." The Russians and Czechs were his least favourites. At their hotels he said they "stuff all the buffet breakfast stuff in their pockets and bags to save money later". I was tempted to tell him I had a Russian granny or something. On our way out an English tourists in skirts and shorts asked us was the museum worth seeing. We said it was - I wonder how they got on with the guide.
This is the smallest of the three main museums in Sousse and really if you want to skip one this would be it. Inside are several displays of period rooms and costumes showing life during Ottoman times - albeit behind glass screens.
The museum is open Mon-Thu and Sat 9.30-13.00 and 15.00-17.30, and Sun 10.00-14.00. Entrance fee is 2TD, camera permit 1TD - everywhere you go at sites and museums this is a constant fee.
Ok if you want to skip this traditional museum displays then at least have a look at the exterior as it is one of Sousse's most unusual buildings. The building dates back to the 11th or 12th century, and was built according to Fatimid architectural style - its former use is uncertain, perhaps a Turkish coffee house or baths. Anyway its most distinguishing feature is the zigzag dome - so don't forget to look up! This dome is the only one of its kind on the African continent.