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Photographer's Note

The mausoleum of the princes of Tunisia

The Tourbet el Bey is one of the most important monuments in Tunis. This monument is the sepulchral vault of the reigning princes of the Husseinid dynasty and their families. The dynasty ruled Tunisia from 1705 to 1957.
The monument dates to the second half of the XVIIIth century. This imposing building is shaped like an irregular quadrangle with rectangular windows opening on its outside wall. It is crowned with cupolas, the main ones being covered with round green tiles that look like scales.
A monumental door leads into the building giving onto a vast hall whose decoration is clearly of Italian influence. The tendency is confirmed inside the monument where it harmonizes with the Ottoman style present in the building’s main room where the reigning princes are buried and which is reminiscent of the layout of Saint Sophia in Turkey. A stone paved patio scattered with graves separates the hall from the main room and leads to other rooms, some of which open into each other. Here lie the sovereigns’ relatives and close associates; the men recognizable by the headdress carved of marble surmounting their epitaph, while the women are indicated by simple plaques.
The ceilings, either vaulted or in the form of cupolas, are adorned with stucco carved geometric and vegetal decorations, sometimes polychrome. The walls are generally clad with ceramic tiles.

Tunis

Tunis (Arabic: تونس‎, Tūnis) is the capital of the Tunisian Republic and also the Tunis Governorate, with a population of 1,200,000 in 2008. It is Tunisia's largest city.
Situated on a large Mediterranean gulf, (the Gulf of Tunis), behind the Lake of Tunis and the port of La Goulette (Halq al Wadi), the city extends along the coastal plain and the hills that surround it. At the centre of more modern development (colonial era and post) lies the old medina. Beyond this section lie the suburbs of Carthage, La Marsa, and Sidi Bou Said.
The medina is found at the centre of the city: a dense agglomeration of alleys and covered passages, full of intense scents and colours, boisterous and active trade, a surfeit of goods on offer ranging from leather to plastic, tin to the finest filigree, tourist souvenirs to the works of tiny crafts-shops.
Just through the Sea Gate (also known as the Bab el Bahr and the Porte de France), begins the modern city, or Ville Nouvelle, transversed by the grand Avenue Habib Bourguiba (often referred to by popular press and travel guides as "the Tunisian Champs-Élysées)", where the colonial-era buildings provide a clear contrast to smaller older structures. As the capital city of the country Tunis is the center of Tunisian commercial activity, as well as focus of political and administrative life in the country. The expansion of the Tunisian economy in the last decades is reflected in the booming development of the outer city where one can see clearly the social challenges brought about by rapid modernization in Tunisia. (Source: planetware & tunisguide & wikipedia)

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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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