The Kasbah was built in 859 AD on the site of an earlier Byzantine fortress. Its 30m/100ft high Khalef el Fata tower, named after its builder, is one of the oldest towers in the whole of North Africa. Its topmost platform is 50m/165ft above that of the Ribat. Accordingly the Kasbah took over the military role of the Ribat, and the Khalef el Fata tower is still used as a lighthouse, today. Part of the Kasbah is occupied by the municipal prison whilst the other part houses the Archeological Museum which seemed to be closed during the few days I was there over the New Year period.
After lunch we walked out through the southern gate of the medina and around to the Kasbah Museum, which is said to rival the famous Bardo museum in Tunis in terms of mosaics. The mosaics were indeed impressive but what I liked most about this museum was its gardens. You can climb the impressive medina walls from the museum gardens and get a lovely view across the city. In fact this is the only place in the medina where you can climb the walls.
Kasbah ( the citadel ) is located on the top of the hill, on the south side of the Medina. It is of an irregular shape 200 m x 140 m in its largest sides.
The first citadel was founded by Ibn al Moiz in 1063 and it was a rectangular building ( 50 m x 35 m). The towers of the south-east side dates back to this period. Only the Khalaf tower existed before.
The walls from the south-west face date from 1205 when the Kasbah was restructured by the Hafsids.
Reconstruction works were done also by the Turkish admiral Dargouth Pacha in 17th century - the city walls were reconstructed and artillery plat forms were built.
Nowadays a part of the Kasbah is turned into a museum (Sousse museum).
On the south side (and outside) of the Medina is a larger fort, called Kasba. This was built 1100 - 1600, and extended several times. There is no public access to the fortress itself - just to the museum at the side of it which is located in the 9th century Khalef al Fata tower (a former lighthouse erected in 859 AD) Here you will find the Archaelogical museum of Sousse - full of mosaics (as are many museums in Tunisia, they love 'em!) If you don't get to Tunisia's primary mosaic museum - the Bardo museum in Tunis then see fantastic mosaics at this one. If you have been to Bardo then you'll see more of the same - we gave it a miss for this reason. The internal courtyard contains statues and a panoramic view over the town - but this can be seen from other vantage points.
This picture shows the view from the top of Sousse's ribat tower.
The kasbah can be seen in the background of the photo.
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