Sousse is located in Tunisia
Location in Tunisia
Coordinates: 35°50′N 10°38′E / 35.833°N 10.633°E / 35.833; 10.633
Country Flag of Tunisia.svg Tunisia
Governorate Sousse Governorate
Population (2004)
 - Total 173,047
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CET (UTC+1)

Sousse (Arabic: سوسة Sūsa‎, Berber: Susa) is a city in Tunisia. Located 140 km south of the capital Tunis, the city has 173,047 inhabitants (2004). Sousse is in the central-east of the country, on the Gulf of Hammamet, which is a part of the Mediterranean Sea. The name may be of Berber origin: similar names are found in Libya and in the south of Morocco (Bilād al-Sūs). The city is the capital of Sousse Governorate with 540,000 inhabitants (2005 estimate). Its economy is based on transport equipment, processed food, olive oil, textiles and tourism. It is home to the Université de Sousse.



A mosaic depicting Medusa in the Museum of Sousse.

In the 11th century B.C., the Phoenicians founded Hadrumetum. The city allied itself with Rome during the Punic Wars, thereby escaping damage or ruin and entered a relatively peaceful 700-year period under the Pax Romana. Livy tells us that Hadrumetum was the landing place of the Roman army under Scipio Africanus in the second Punic War. As part of Bonifacius's revolt against Constantinople, the Vandals were invited in and they took Hadrumetum in 434 CE and renamed the town Hunerikopolis. During the Vandalic War Justinian retook the town in 534 CE and restored its Roman name.

In the 7th century A.D. Arab-Islamic armies conquered what is now Tunisia and rapidly spread Arab culture across what had been a thoroughly Romanized and Christianized landscape. The Arabs seized the city, which in the aftermath of Rome's fall was but a remnant of its former self. They renamed the city Sûsa and within a few decades elevated it to the status of the main seaport of the Aghlabid Dynasty. When the Aghlabids invaded Sicily in 827, Sûsa was their main staging ground.

In the centuries that followed, as Europe gained technological ascendancy and began pushing back at Islam, Sûsa was briefly occupied by the Normans in the 12th century, was later more thoroughly occupied by the Spanish, and in the 18th century was the target of bombardments by the Venetians and the French. The French called the city Sousse.

Despite the turmoil around it, Sousse's character had retained the solidly Arabian look and feel it had assumed in the centuries after Islam's wars of conquest. Today it is considered one of the best examples of seaward-facing fortifications built by the Arabs. Its ribat, a soaring structure that combined the purposes of a minaret and a watch tower, is in outstanding condition and draws visitors from around the world.

These days, Sousse, with a population of more than 540,000, retains a medieval heart of narrow, twisted streets, a kasbah and medina, its ribat fortress and long wall on the Mediterranean. Surrounding it is a modern city of long, straight roads and more widely spaced buildings.

Historical names

  • Hadrumetum (Punic)
  • Colonia Concordia Ulpia Trajana Augusta Frugifera Hadrumetina (Roman)
  • Hunerikopolis (Vandal)
  • Justinianopolis (Byzantine)
  • Susa (Arabic)

In films

Sousse's old city has apects that made it ideal as a film location. Most famous is Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), where Sousse represents Cairo. It is noteworthy that the styles of Sousse, white-washed houses with blue details, bear no resemblance to the actual architecture of Cairo.


Sousse is the third city of the country after Tunis and Sfax.

Although Sousse is associated with olive oil manufacture and has other industries, tourism predominates today. An olive grove stretching over more than 2,500 square kilometres, constitutes one of its main riches since Antiquity. A busy port, open to the town centre and adds a touch of liveliness to its activity.

Medina of Sousse *
UNESCO World Heritage Site
The Grand Mosque of Sousse, Tunisia, as seen from the tower of the Ribat
Country Tunisia
Type Cultural
Criteria iii, iv, v
Reference 498
Region ** Arab States
Inscription history
Inscription 1988 (12th Session)
* Name as inscribed on World Heritage List
** Region as classified by UNESCO


Sousse beachfront

Sousse is an important tourist resort. Hotel complexes with a capacity of 40,000 beds extend 20 km from the old city (Medina) north along the seafront to Port El Kantaoui.

It is only 20 km from the international airport of Monastir. The fine sandy beaches are backed by orchards and olive groves. It has a Mediterranean climate, with hot, dry summers and warm, mild wet winters. The seaside location moderates the climate, making it an all-season resort.

Some 1,200,000 visitors come every year to enjoy its hotels and restaurants, nightclubs, casinos, beaches and sports facilities.

A Medina, surrounded by its city walls and fortifications, is of historical interest. The Medina includes open and covered bazaars (souks). Buildings of historical interest include the ribat castle, the central mosque, and a historical museum in the Casbah with mosaics from the area's many Roman villas. The Carthaginian catacombs can be visited.

The Ribat of Sousse


  • Population: 220,000 inhabitants (2003 estimate)
  • Altitude: 2 m
  • Humidity: 69%
  • Number of hospitals: (private and public) 15
  • Average Temperatures: (mean temperatures from May to August for the last 30 years)
    • Min: 19.7 °C
    • Max: 29.1 °C
    • Average: 24.4 °C
  • Rainfall average: May: 19.3 mm
    • June: 4 mm
    • July: 1.7 mm
    • August: 10.3 mm


Sousse town centre

UNESCO declared the medina of Sousse a World Heritage Site in 1988, citing among other things its preservation from modern development.

Notable people

  • Primasius of Hadrumetum, Roman bishop and exegete, noted for his Commentary on the Apocalypse
  • Mohamed Ghannouchi, Prime Minister of Tunisia from 1999 to 2011 and self-proclaimed President of Tunisia
  • Hamadi Jebali, Secretary-General of the Ennahda Movement.
  • Ahmed Noureddine, first local Mayor of Sousse and ex minister of education
  • Christine Halphen, journalist at the French ELLE magazine and mother of judge Eric Halphen, writer of her biography "Au Lieu des Larmes" (Stock, 2006)
  • Dov Alfon, Israeli writer and editor, editor in chief of Haaretz Newspaper

Sister cities


  1. ^ "Serpukhov Region". Retrieved 2009-04-15. 

External links

Coordinates: 35°50′N 10°38′E / 35.833°N 10.633°E / 35.833; 10.633

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Sousse — (so͞os) also Su·sah or Su·sa (so͞oʹsə, zə) A city of northeast Tunisia on an inlet of the Mediterranean Sea. Founded in ancient times by the Phoenicians, it was an important city under the Romans and Carthaginians and later under the Arabs (9th… …   Universalium

  • SOUSSE — La ville tunisienne de Sousse, ou S sa (101 100 hab. en 1989), connaît depuis la plus haute antiquité une grande prospérité, seulement ralentie par de brèves crises, notamment lors des invasions arabes. Ville punique puis romaine (Hadrumetum),… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Sousse —   [sus, französisch], arabisch Susa, Hafen und Industriestadt mit Seebad an der Ostküste Tunesiens, am Golf von Hammamet, 125 000 Einwohner; Sitz der Gouvernoratsverwaltung; Hotelfachschule; Theater, Museen; Textilindustrie (Großgerberei,… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Sousse — (spr. ßuß ), Stadt, s. Susa 2) …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Sousse —  Pour l’article homophone, voir Souss. 35° 49′ 34″ N 10° 38′ 24″ E / …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Sousse — ‏سوسة‎ Sousse …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Sousse — Original name in latin Sousse Name in other language Gorad Sus, Hadrumetum, QSO, Sousa, Souse, Soussa, Sousse, Sus, Susa, Susah, Susas, Suss, Sussa, Szusza, Szsza, Ssah, su sai, suseu, susi, susu, sws, swsh, swst, xi lan ni, Горад Сус, Сус, Сусс… …   Cities with a population over 1000 database

  • Sousse — or ancient Hadrumetum geographical name city & port NE Tunisia population 69,530 …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Sousse — (Sūsaḥ) ► Gobernación del NE de Túnez; 6 080 km2 y 357 000 h. Cap., la c. homónima (83 509 h) …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Sousse — fr. Hadrumentum stor.; Susa …   Sinonimi e Contrari. Terza edizione

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