Continuing on our Tunisia Road Trip, we stopped in the coastal city of Monastir. The old Ribat is what we were looking for, because it was built to watch for invading Byzantium galleys. It sounds like it’s straight out of a novel, doesn’t it?
The massive stone walls and tower of the ancient fortress along the waterfront provides us a step back in time. We enjoyed a few hours walking around the fort and the seawall and then took the small hike up into the town to visit the Mausoleum Bourguiba with its park-like grounds and picturesque Arabic cemetery. From the cemetery we found a stunning view of the Ribat and the full moon rising out of the ocean behind it.
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Things to Do in Monastir
The Marabout Tomb – Our favorite story from Tunisia
The Marabout is the tomb of the first president of Tunisia after they regained their independence. Built in 1963, it has become a popular local destination and can be quite crowded on a Saturday afternoon when the weather is nice.
It was this type of atmosphere we found with families picnicking, children chasing balloons, and older folks sitting back and gossiping among themselves. We found a seat on a stone bench and settled in with a small snack for some good people watching, one of our favorite ways to spend some extra time.
We soon sparked up a conversation with a small family nearby. They had come out to the grounds to enjoy the weather and the beautiful sights, much as we had. There were two women, both sisters, and their children. They had laid out a spread of baguettes, harissa, olives, yogurt, honey, tomatoes, and tuna that looked fit for a sultan.
We politely turned down their offers of food but realized quickly to continue to do so would be unfriendly so we were soon nibbling at the different offerings. We’d had harissa, a Tunisian chili paste before, but this was homemade and set the mouth on fire!
Other things to do in Monastir
We whiled away the hours in Monastir walking and gawking. Other than the beach and these few places, there really isn’t much in Monastir, but that’s part of its charm. There’s not tons of tourists and you can easily relax for a day. Here are some of the things you can see while you do so.
- Go to the beach
- Walk around Ribat
- Enjoy the park
- Photograph the stunning exterior of the Hanafi Mosque
We enjoyed a pleasant day in Monastir while enjoying the various treats of the picnic and playing with the children. As the sun set and cast its golden glow across the city we realized we had, once again, spent way more time here than we had planned.
Author Bio: Jim Vail, is a travel, food, and video creator and a perpetual traveler who has been travel writing for over 15 years. For many years he lived overseas in Germany, Japan, Turkey, South Korea, and the Netherlands, and he’s visited over 90 countries.