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Monastir

MONASTIR

seaport on the northeastern coast of tunisia; center of the governorate of the same name.

Probably a Punic port before Islam, Monastir became the site of a well-known Arab Islamic ribat (fortified religious center), founded by the Muslim commander Harthama ibn Aʿyan in 796. The fortress, enlarged over the centuries, is today an important tourist site. To bolster the tourist trade, a large hotel and commercial complex was begun in the late 1980s.

Never a political center, it was a religious hub for several centuries in the medieval Islamic period. Two mosques of architectural importance were built at the turn of the eleventh century. Monastir was the hometown of Tunisia's President Habib Bourguiba. Under his government, an international airport was built in Monastir, used primarily for the tourist trade. In 2002, its population was estimated at 67,730.


Bibliography


Tunisia: A Country Survey. Washington, DC, 1988.

matthew s. gordon

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Monastir

Monastir: see Bitola, Macedonia.

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