Mausoleum of Habib Bourby
The mausoleum of Habib Bourguiba is the main attraction of the city of Monastir in Tunisia. Beautiful building, stylized under a mosque, covered with white marble, the body of the author of independence of the country and the builder of modern Tunisia. You can see this beauty for free, you just need to get here.
How to get there
From the hotels of the resort Monastir (Skanes) you need to go by taxi, the hotels are far from the city center. The distance is from 5 to 15 kilometers, the price of the trip by the meter is from 3 to 8 Tunisian dinars. The current course is in the article " Tunisian dinar ", about Tunisian taxis and taxi drivers read in the article " Taxis in Tunisia ".
From the hotels of Mahdia , Soussa or El Kantaoui, it is convenient and fast to reach by train. The ticket price from Sousse to Monastir is 1 dinar, from Mahdia to Monastir - 2 dinars. About this train read our review " Metro Sahel ".
Of the hotels in other resorts in Tunisia, we do not recommend traveling alone - it's expensive and tedious, and the attraction is still not that important.
How to get from the station to the mausoleum of Habib Bourguiba
After exiting the station building, go forward to the walls of the medina, then right to the gate of Bab al-Kouka. See the map of the center of Monastir below, click on the map to enlarge.
Enter the gate and go straight, do not turn around. Be attentive, L'Independence Street is automobile and very narrow. Drivers in Tunisia do not try to observe the traffic rules, as we discussed in detail in the article " What not to do in Tunisia ".
On the street L 'Independence (Independence Street), after 500 meters you will reach the Habib Bourguiba mosque (it will be on your left), its high minaret will not be confused with anything. Immediately after the mosque there will be a large square, ahead you will see the fortress (ribat).
Turn left at 90 degrees, in front you will see a large alley and two towers of the mausoleum of Habib Bourguiba.
Mausoleum of Habib Bourguiba is shown during any sightseeing tour of Monastir. Such excursions are carried out from the hotels of Monastir, Soussa, El Kantaoui and Mahdia. The trip lasts half a day, the price is about 30 dollars.
Is free. There are no additional paid services in the mausoleum.
When you go to the mausoleum, most likely, local Tunisians will stick with the offer to see the mausoleum for free. And they really show it, some even tell something interesting within their knowledge of English or Russian.
After they try to entice tourists into a souvenir shop that shares profits with them. There is nothing to worry about, but we still do not recommend using the services of these people.
In the summer season (from April to October) - from 9-00 to 17-30.
In the winter season (from November to March) - from 9-00 to 16-00.
At the entrance, all visitors are examined. He can be careful with the inspection of bags, and sometimes it is nominal, when you just need to go through a metal detector. Depends on the laziness of a specific change of guards.
Officially inside it is forbidden to carry:
- food, drinks;
- piercing, cutting objects;
- pencils, pens, markers, markers and any writing objects.
The inscriptions on the mausoleum are risky. For example, on September 26, 2012 a certain Salafi activist (the name is not disclosed) went to jail for eight months for desecrating the mausoleum of Habib Bourguiba.
Do not try to make inscriptions! There is video surveillance. And even if they do not get caught directly in the mausoleum, the color of the All Inclusive bracelet will accurately indicate which hotel to look for.
In many sources it is written that two soldiers of the Presidential Guard are constantly on duty in the mausoleum. But in 2017 they were not exactly there.
On October 31, 2013, a suicide bomber with explosives attempted to enter the mausoleum, but was detained. Details are unknown, the secretary of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Tunisia Mohamed Ali Larui informed only about the fact of detention.
A bit of history
Habib Bourguiba became president in 1957 after the recognition of independence and the overthrow of Bey. In the eyes of the people, he was a hero-liberator, insanely popular.
In the 60s, Habib Bourguiba began several projects for personal purposes - the reconstruction of the palace in Carthage, the construction of his summer residence in Skanes (now a museum) and the most grandiose - a mausoleum for himself and his family.
The place for the mausoleum Habib chose his hometown of Monastir and the central in the city cemetery of Sidi al-Mezri. It is named after the theologian of the 12th century Sidi-el-Mezri, and here is his grave.
The architect of all these projects was Olivier Clement Kakub. Habib Bourguiba paid him a large trip to different countries to choose the best architectural solutions.
However, Olivier Kakub was not distinguished by originality in this project. The mausoleum of Habib Bourguiba almost exactly repeats the classical Maghreb mosque. Only the minarets are two (in the classical version there is one) and they are not located in the corners of the courtyard, but along the edges of the main gate.
The mausoleum was built in the western part of the cemetery, the construction was completed in 1963. The yard and the lining are made of white Carrara marble - one of the most valuable in the world varieties. The cost of the project was not disclosed.
In the 70's, Habib Bourguiba was already carefully prepared for his death. In 1976, his marble coffin was made. He left precise instructions to his son Habib Ml. What world leaders to invite to the funeral, the funeral process had to be postponed for two days so that these leaders could come. Habib planned a ceremonial procession for his body from the Carthage Palace in Tunis to Monastir.
These plans were not meant to come true. Habib Bourguiba died in his house in Monastir on April 6, 2000, there was no question of any procession.
Habib Bourguiba was buried in the mausoleum on April 8 after a small honorary ceremony in his house and a religious ceremony at the Habib Bourguiba mosque. The leaders of other countries were: Jacques Chirac (President of France), Abdelaziz Bouteflika (President of Algeria), Yasser Arafat (Palestinian leader), Mohammed Hosni Mubarak (President of Egypt). The ceremony was brief and was not even broadcast on television. Tunisia was declared mourning for 7 days.
An interesting fact is that by the time the relatives of Habib Bourguiba were buried in the mausoleum, but we'll talk about this a little later.
What to watch
To the mausoleum of Habib Bourguiba leads a large alley - 200 meters long and 30 meters wide. On this avenue, tourists are offered to take pictures with camels, buy souvenirs and in every possible way lure to neighboring shops, as we discussed in detail in the article " How to buy in Tunisia and not be deceived ."
In front of the alley, pay attention to the two mini-mausoleums. The first of them is called "The Mausoleum of Martyrs in the Struggle for Independence", several people are buried here. The second is for condolences, that is, they put wreaths on memorable dates.
Walking along the alley, you will get to the central gate, which are closed. On these gates it is worth to admire, although the decor on them shines no longer as before. See below a small photo gallery, click on the photo to enlarge.
Turn right and walk along the fence, after 100 meters there will be an entrance for visitors. There you will pass security control, and you can watch the mausoleum.
The courtyard of the mausoleum is small - about 20 by 30 meters. Along the perimeter, the courtyard is surrounded by a beautiful colonnade in the same way as it is done in the courtyards of mosques.
Towers (we can not call them minarets, since it is not a mosque) 25 meters high. The gilded central dome looks beautiful, the secondary domes are green. The location of the domes exactly repeats the architecture of the classical Maghreb mosque.
The main entrance to the mausoleum is a massive bronze door. Pay attention to the inscription: "Great fighter. The builder of the new Tunisia. Liberator of Women. " Attention, this entry is closed! See below a small photo gallery, click on the photo to enlarge.
Inside lead two doors, both are to the right of the central entrance (bronze door). Through the first door you can get up on the balcony, where to look at the marble sarcophagus from all sides from the height of the second floor ( see photo ). Most visitors do not know about this door and balcony.
The second door leads to the first floor. On the corridor to the left there will be a grill through which you can look at the sarcophagus. Naturally, the body of Habib Bourguiba is covered with a lid, in Islamic countries it is not customary to expose the body to the show. Pay attention to the stand for reading the Koran.
On the right there are three rooms along the corridor. In two lie the relatives of Habib Bourguiba, and in the central room there is a small museum with personal belongings. The most important and interesting personal belongings of Habib Bourguiba are exhibited in two places: here in the mausoleum and in the Habib Bourguiba Museum in Skanes. See below a small photo gallery, click on the photo to enlarge.
In the mausoleum are exhibited: desk, writing instruments, glasses, membership party card number 0000001, passport and other documents. A separate stand contains memorable photos with leaders of different countries. Habib Bourguiba's clothes and books he liked to quote were exhibited - Hugo, La Fontaine, Moliere, Racine.
On this visit the mausoleum can be finished, there is nothing to watch here.
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