Few things exist of its ancient past. But we do
know its ancient name: Ruspina, the latin version of
the Phoenician Rouss Pena.
Historians’ theories link today’s name to the word monastery, as it probably was a
center for Christian prophecy in the region.
What is more certain is that the city originated as a
Ribat (a fortress inhabited by monk-soldiers),
built in 796 following the orders of the Caliph
of Bagdad in what was a series of fortresses built
from Egypt to Morocco.
Monastir is also known due to the fact that Habib
Bourguiba, Tunisia’s independence leader, was born
there in 1903.