The Habib Bourguiba Mosque is located in the center of Monastir. In 1963, it was built and named in his honor by the first President of Tunisia. Now it is one of the central sights of the city and the best guide for tourists.
Where to find and how to get there
If you have a rest in the hotels of Monastir (Skanes) , you will have to use a taxi, from hotels to the city center is quite far away - from 5 to 15 kilometers. The trip will cost from 3 to 10 dinars. The current exchange rate is searched in the article " Tunisian dinar ", about the rates for trips by taxi, read in the article " Prices for taxis in Tunisia ".
If you have a rest in El Kantaoui , Sousse or Mahdia , then it is easiest to get to Monastir by train, as you can read in our article " Subway Sahel ".
From the hotels of other resorts in Tunisia, we do not recommend going by yourself. It is more convenient to buy a sightseeing tour of Monastir.
How to go from the station to the mosque
After leaving the building of the railway station of Monastir, go ahead and take the left. Go to the wall of the medina and the main gate Bab Al-Coke (see photo of this gate ). Below, see the map, click on the map to enlarge.
Enter the gate and go along Independence Street (Rue De L 'Independence) forward. After 450 meters on the left hand will be the mosque of Habib Bourguiba. Be carefull! The street of Independence is open for motor transport, and it is very narrow. Tunisian drivers do not like to observe traffic rules, we talked about this problem in the article " What is not allowed in Tunisia ".
Important! Do not confuse
Mausoleum of Habib Bourby in architectural style is very similar to the classical mosque. From this tourists confuse the mausoleum with the mosque of Habib Bourguiba. These are completely different objects. See the map above, where their location is indicated exactly.
Are non-Muslims allowed inside?
Theoretically, non-Muslims are allowed inside. On the Internet, even there are photos of excursion groups in the courtyard of the mosque, here is an example of such a photo . But this is the excursion group. Recall that Monastir - this is one of the centers of education in Tunisia, a student city, and for exchange students arrange similar excursions.
Tourists "from the street" are not allowed inside, at least this is the case at the time of publication of this article (2017). You can only look at the yard if the exterior doors are open.
Perhaps, at the time of your visit to Monastir, non-Muslims will be allowed inside. Then we recommend to come to the clock between prayers Fajr (morning prayer) and Zuhr (lunch prayer). This is a period of time approximately between 8-00 and 11-30 in the morning. And of course, it makes no sense to come on Friday, just will not be allowed.
What to watch
The Habib Bourguiba mosque even externally makes a strong impression. It is believed that the architectural style repeats the mosque of Hamud Pasha in the medina of the city of Tunisia . So it or not, it's difficult to judge, because Habib Bourbyba mosque is tens of times larger. See the photo of the minaret of the mosque Hamud Pasha .
The minaret is 41 meters high and can be seen from almost anywhere in the center of Monastir. The minaret is octagonal in cross section and with a large balcony on the top floor, just like in the Hamoud Pasha Mosque. Pay attention to the three balls on the spire of the minaret, these are elements of the Moroccan style. In Morocco, three balls indicate that the mosque is the main place for Friday prayers.
The dome of the Habib Bourguiba mosque is clearly visible from Independence Street. Three domes are located above the prayer hall, a large dome is directly above the mihrab. The domes are snow-white, they look very beautiful.
Go to the end of Independence Street, turn left and find the main entrance to the mosque. There you will see a sign with the sign "brick" and the inscription "only muslems" ( see photo ). If you see this inscription, then nothing has changed - the entrance is only for Muslims.
In total, there are 19 carved teak doors, the work of masters from Kairouan. Pay attention to the beautiful stained-glass windows on the windows above the main entrance. This is another element of the traditional Maghreb style. See several photos in the small gallery below.
What can only Muslims see
The yard of the mosque is small - about 15x15 meters. When the mosque was built in the early 60's, the city of Monastir was several times smaller. It was understood that everyone would be able to pray in the large prayer hall. In the center of the courtyard there is a place for washing feet. The yard is surrounded by a colonnade along the perimeter.
The Habib Bourguiba Mosque opened in 1963. In the 60s, Habib Bourguiba initiated several major (in Tunisian terms) construction projects: the reconstruction of the Presidential Palace in Carthage , the construction of his mausoleum and summer residence in Skanes (now the Habib Bourguiba Museum ), including the construction of a large mosque in his honor.
Interestingly, the architect of the project was Taeb Buzguend, and not the favorite of Habib Bourguiba, Clement Olivier Cucubus. Probably, the religious building of Kukuba was not commissioned to entrust.
On April 8, 2000, there was a farewell ceremony with Habib Bourguiba, hence his body was taken to the mausoleum.
In the prayer hall there are 86 columns of pink marble. Mihrab (a deepening in the wall of Kibla, where the imam prays) is decorated on either side with columns of onyx. Arch of mihrab of pink marble. The prayer hall accommodates up to 1000 believers.
The best landmark in Monastir
For tourists, the Habib Bourguiba mosque is very useful as a guide. Its minaret is visible from everywhere. If you get lost, then go towards the minaret.
If you stand facing the main entrance, then:
- To the right is the mausoleum of Habib Bourguiba ;
- Behind the Great Mosque and Monastir's Ribat;
- To the left there is a large (by Tunisian standards) shopping center, where affordable prices and a good range of Tunisian gifts and souvenirs ;
- Left and behind the road you will find several good cafes with dishes of Italian and Tunisian cuisine. The prices are affordable, a huge burger with a beef chop and potions costs 10 dinars;
- To the left and a little ahead you will find the National Costume Museum;
- Forward behind the mosque is Magazin General ;
- Forward along Independence Street go to the gate in the medina and go to the railway station.
Good walks on Monastir, and read our interesting articles about Tunisia ( links below ).