Photographer's Note

Bourguiba's Mausoleum

The mausoleum of Bourguiba's family is an odd reminder of Tunisia's political system. Habib Bourguiba was the first president of Tunisia, and although he never was elected by the people in free elections, he is generally considered as the father of the modern nation.
Bourguiba died in 2000, and was buried here. Before him, his parents and his wife had both been lain to ground under one of the 2 green domes.
The mausoleum was started to be built in 1963, and has many similarities to the typical mosque and holy man's tomb (zawiyya). In addition to the 3 domes (2 green and one gilded), there are 2 minarets marking the entrance to the complex.

Habib Bourguiba

Habib Bourguiba was the first president of Tunisia, and although he never was elected by the people in free elections, he is generally considered as the father of the modern nation.
Bourguiba was born the seventh child of Ali Bourguiba, a former lieutenant in the army of the bey (ruler) of Tunisia, in the small fishing village of Monastir. At an early age he was sent to the Sadīqī (Sadiki) College in Tunis and later to the Lycée Carnot in the same city for his secondary education. There he was introduced to French culture and Western thought, even as he consolidated his education in Arabic and Islamic studies. In 1924 he went to Paris to study law and political science at the Sorbonne, where he developed contacts with Algerian and Moroccan pro-independence intellectuals. He also absorbed many of the philosophical and ideological currents of the time and was drawn especially to the secularist and reformist traditions of French bourgeois life.
Bourguiba returned to Tunisia in 1927, where he practiced law and became engaged in the political struggle for independence, notably through the foundation in 1932 of a nationalist newspaper (L’Action Tunisienne) and his activity in the Destour (Constitution) Party. He soon became frustrated with the leaders of the Destour, whom he considered to be conservative and timid. In 1934 Bourguiba and some of his associates called a special party congress in Ksar Hellal (Qasr Hallāl) and established their own party—the New Destour, or Neo-Destour, Party (from 1964 to 1987 the Destourian Socialist Party [Parti Socialiste Destourien], and later the Democratic Constitutional Rally [Rassemblement Constitutionnel Démocratique])—of which Bourguiba became the secretary-general. Bourguiba encouraged his fellow Tunisians to confront the colonial rulers, resulting in his exile by the French to prison in the desolate south. By that time he was an acknowledged leader of the developing nationalist movement, with a reputation for fiery and inspiring oration; he had become known as the combattant supreme.


Monastir (Arabic: المـنسـتير‎ al-munastîr, from Latin monasterium), called (mi’stir) in Tunisian Arabic, (20 km south of Sousse; 162 km south of Tunis), is a city on the central shore of Tunisia, in the Sahel area.

Monastir city in eastern Tunisia. It lies at the tip of a small peninsula protruding into the Mediterranean Sea between the Gulf of Hammamet and the Bay of Al-Munastīr. The ruins of Ruspinum, a Phoenician and Roman settlement, are 3 miles (5 km) to the west of the city. Monastir is now a port and, with adjacent Saqānis (Skanes), forms a fashionable beach resort complex that is served by an international airport. Its industries include textile milling (especially wool) and the manufacture of salt, soap, and olive oil. The city has a noted ribat (monastery-fortress), founded in 180 ce, to which it owes its name; also in the city are several old mosques and a modern mosque that was completed in 1968 and dedicated to Tunisia’s first president, Habib Bourguiba, who was born in Monastir. Benefiting from Bourguiba’s patronage, Monastir enjoyed considerable development, including a modern marina. In 2000 Bourguiba was buried at Monastir in his family mausoleum. Pop. (2004) 71,546. (Source: Britannica Encyclopedia & Wikipedis & Looklex-Tunisia)

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Additional Photos by George Rumpler (Budapestman) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 8900 W: 3 N: 20435] (82620)
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