Medina of Sfax

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General view of the medina od Sfax with the Great Mosque of Sfax in the center

The Sfax medina is the medina quarter of the Tunisian city of Sfax. It was built by Aghlabid prince Abu Abbass Muhammad between 849 and 851. The medina is home to about 113,000 residents, and is dominated by the Great Mosque of Sfax.

On 12 February 2012, the Tunisian government submitted a demand to add it on the UNESCO World heritage list. [1]It is considered as one of the rare medieval cities of North Africa to keep its original weft even with all the modifications of its buildings throughout the decades. It represents also the best example of the most conserved arab-muslim town planning in all the Mediterranean Basin. Its monuments are classified as national historical monuments since 1912.


The medina of Sfax in 1886

Before Foundation :

Historic sources talk about the existence of a Romanian city around the zone in which Sfax now exists called Tabaroura. But the absence of tremendous monuments that used to distinguish Romanian cities made it possible to think that Sfax was buit above them.[2]

In the middle of the nineteenth century, the Aghlabids who used to rule Ifrikia agreed on supporting the city's shores with forts and trusses , that's when Borj Sfax or Kasbah of Sfax was built as one of the forts, but as time passed and life evolved around it the Aghlabid decided to build the city of Sfax.[2]

According to the inscriptions at the facade of the great mosque, the medina of Sfax was founded following the orders of the Aghlabid emir (prince) of Kairouan Abu Abbass Muhammad in 849, by Ali Ibn Salem, cadi of Sfax.[1]

Originally, the medina had only two doors: Bab Jebli, also known as Bab Dhahraoui (Northern door), and Bab Diwan or Bab Bhar (the sea door). Yet, in the 20th century and because of the economic development and the huge increase of the population, new doors had to be created in order to reduce the flow from these two main doors such as Bab El Ksar and Bab Djedid.[3]


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ a b "History of the medina of Sfax".  External link in |website= (help)
  3. ^

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