The entire Sahel is a huge plantation of olive trees, and the main specialization of the economy of the city of Sousse is the cultivation of olives, the production of butter and its export through the port of Sousse. The total area of olive plantations in the province of Sousse is 2500 square kilometers. That is, 93.6% of the province are olive plantations. The Sahel region became one of the centers of oil production even in the times of the Roman Empire.
A bit of history
The first city on this site was founded by the Phoenicians and was called "Hadrim". The exact date of foundation of Hadrim is unknown, they are called the 11th or 9th centuries BC. Set this date has not yet been possible, since archaeologists have not yet found in Sousse artifacts older than the 6th century BC. We rely on the opinion of the famous Tunisian historian Mohammed Hassine Fantar, he calls the 11th century BC.
The city of Hadrim is older than Carthage itself and for some time was the main Phoenician colony in the region. But Carthage quickly grew and strengthened, eventually Hadrim became part of the state of Carthage.
Carthage lost to Rome the first two Punic wars, and Hadrim decided not to remain with a weakened ally any more. Hadrim concluded direct agreements with the Roman Republic, became independent, received the new name "Hadrummet" and received a very high status "Ally and friend of the Roman people."
It was here that the Roman legions of Scipio of Africa landed and sieged Carthage during the Third Punic War, as the Roman historian Titus Livius wrote to us. Allied relations with Rome allowed the city of Hadrumetum to avoid plunder by the Romans, which overtook the vast majority of Punic cities after the fall of Carthage.
Hadrumetum lost almost all privileges in 46 BC, when in the civil war Pompey and Caesar took the side of Pompey. Recall that Pompey lost this war. The city developed and at the end of the first century officially became a colony of Rome under the auspices of Emperor Trajan. The city built a theater, an amphitheater, baths, temples in honor of Trajan, a triumphal arch.
Especially Hadrumetum flourished in the II century, when in Rome, organized a daily and free distribution of olive oil. The Sahel region has become one of the main suppliers of oil for Rome. In Hadrumetum they even minted their own coins.
Destructive for the city of Hadrumetum was 238 - this is "the year of six emperors." Hadrumetum supported the usurper Copellian, for which he paid. Most of the city was destroyed, and the port lost its importance for trade.
The city was rebuilt in 297, the emperor Diocletian made Hadrumetum the capital of the province of Bizazen in the place of the modern region of Sahel. In 439 the city was captured by the vandals, who renamed it "Junikopolis" in honor of Hunerik - the son of a Vandal leader. Then the city was again destroyed by the Byzantine army. In 535, restored Byzantines and renamed the "Justinianopolis" in honor of the Emperor Justinian.
In 670, the Arabs under the command of Okba ibn-Nafi al-Fikhri capture the city. The city is destroyed almost completely, and all the rest goes to the building materials. Now archaeologists can find almost nothing from Punic, Roman and Byzantine cities.
The Arabs settled in this place, the city was named "Sousa". During the Aghlabid dynasty, the port of Sousa became the main port of the country, the shipyard dock was built in 821. In 827, during the Arab invasion of Sicily, the port of Susa became the main base of the invasion. From there, ships sailed to Rome in 827 and Malta in 870.
With the Fatimid dynasty, the city of Sousse loses its meaning, giving way to the new capital, the city of Mahdia. Since then, Susa has developed smoothly, despite the unpleasant moments. In 1148, the city was captured by the Normans from Sicily. Between 1537 and 1574 years captured by the Spaniards. Since 1574 under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. Since 1881, under the French protectorate, the French gave the city its name - "Sousse". The French built a new port here in 1884, but Sousse remained the third port in the country after the cities of Tunis and Sfax.
Even under the French protectorate, tourism is beginning to develop here. Like Hammamet, the city became a winter resort for the rich French. In 1979, the modern resort of Port El Kantaoui was built. Sousse has always been attractive for tourists because of the obvious advantages of recreation here.
The first advantage is the proximity of airports. Charter flights with Russian tourists arrive either to the Monastir airport or to Enfidu. From Monastir to Sousa only 20 kilometers, from Enfida - 50 kilometers. To go from the airport to the hotel for a long time do not have to.
The second advantage is the magnificent beaches (pictured left), which in Tunisia are inferior in quality only to Hammamet. Although, it is difficult to judge, the quality of the beach is very subjective to tourists.
The third advantage - Sousse is very well located near the significant sights of the country. Before Kairouan - 60 kilometers, to El Jem - 70 kilometers, to Phrygia - 65 kilometers. The trip by excursion bus will be fast.
The fourth advantage is relevant for those who like to visit the sights themselves. Sousse is Tunisia's largest transport hub.
If you want to see the sights in Mahdia or Monastir , then the services of travelers are a modern branch of the railway, the trains run every 20-30 minutes.
The central line of the Tunis-Gabes railway passes through Sousse, you can reach Sfax, El Jem, Hammamet or to the capital city of Tunis and see Carthage , Sidi Bou Said , the Tunisian medina or the Bardo museum . Details can be found in our review " Traveling Tunisia by train ".
The fifth advantage is that Sousse itself has something to see. Interesting are the medina, ribat (pictured right) and kasba, where the museum of Roman mosaics is now located. However, in detail about local attractions we'll talk below.
At the resorts of Sousse and El Kantaoui there is an amusement park and two water parks - AquaSplash and Acqua Palace . In Sousse many shops, clubs, discos.
At the time of publication of this article in Tunisia, only 4 casinos are open and two of them are in Sousse - Casino Veneziano and Casino Europe.
Part of the hotels do not have their own beaches, only public and across the road. Attention! When buying a ticket to Sousse, be sure to check this point .
Interestingly, these hotels (without their own beach) are close to the city center, you will have to make a choice - either by walking distance to local attractions or by the private beach at the hotel.
The second drawback - a long distance to the capital, an excursion to Carthage will require a long ride on the sightseeing bus, 160 kilometers, it's more than 2 hours. Excursions to the Sahara will also require a tedious trip, before Tatauana ride about 550 kilometers.
Weather and season
The beach season in Sousse lasts from the end of April to the end of October, as it is in all the resorts of Tunisia. Read more about our review " Season in Tunisia and the weather by month ."
The hotel line starts from the port and extends for 6 kilometers to the northwest. There are about 20 hotels here, most of them 4 stars. The only five is Movenpick Resort & Marine Spa Sousse.
If to compare with the neighboring El-Kantaui, then the situation with the "five" is much better, especially a lot of them next to the golf courses.
At the site of the riverbed Qued El-Hammam, the Sousse resort ends. The private sector begins, 3 kilometers of coastline. And already in these 3 kilometers are the hotels of the resort of Port El Kantaoui.
Attractions and attractions
In the 8th century, the Arabs built Sousse not as a city, but as a small fortress to protect the coast from Byzantines and pirates. Ribat of Sousse is the oldest fortress. It is small and does not cause enthusiasm among tourists.
The Great Mosque
It's not that big, and you will not find anything grand in it. This is the first mosque of Sousse, built in the 8th century next to the Ribat. The word "big" in this context means "main", it is the main mosque of the city, despite its modest size. Inside non-Muslim tourists are not allowed, you can see only from the outside.
Old area of the Arab city, surrounded by a fortress wall. Medina was also built in the 8th-9th centuries, but later it was rebuilt many times, because the city grew. Now it is a big tourist market. To buy souvenirs here is difficult for an ordinary tourist, you need to bargain everywhere, there are only a few shops "Fix Price". About all this read our review " How and where to buy gifts in Tunisia ."
In the center of the medina is the museum of Kalaut El-Koubba. A small collection of the museum contains an interesting set of traditional Tunisian wedding dresses. Operating mode: from 10-00 to 13-00 and from 15-00 to 17-00. The price of entry is 3 dinars.
The fortress in the corner of the medina was intended to protect the city. Kasba Sussa is now a museum with a magnificent collection of mosaics, second only to the Bardo Museum. The most famous mosaics are "Triumph of Bacchus", "Apollo and Muse", "Medusa" and "Seasons and months". The last mosaic was found in El Jem.
Read our detailed article " Archaeological Museum of Sousse ".
These catacombs are a huge cemetery. Probably, originally it was an underground Punic necropolis, and in the 2-4 centuries it was expanded and began to bury Christians here. About 15,000 people were buried in the catacombs.
Part of this underground labyrinth is open to visitors. The longest such piece is called "Pasteur", it is 1.6 kilometers long.
Perhaps, this concludes our story about the resort Suss. Read other interesting articles about Tunisia on our website JJ-Tours.ru ( links below ).
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