Sousse & El Jem

Sousse was founded in the 9th Century BC as the Phoenician outpost of Hadrumete and was used by the Carthaginian general Hannibal as his base against the Romans during the Second Punic War in 202 BC. The town was rebuilt by the Arabs and renamed Soussa, serving as the main port of the 9th Century Aghlabid Dynasty based in Kairouan.

Why visit Sousse & El Jem?

The medina is one of Tunisia’s finest: its walls are fortified with a series of solid square turrets and inside are to be found 24 mosques and a wealth of historical sights.


The oldest monument in the medina is the ribat (fortified Islamic monastery), dating back to the 8th Century AD. Designed principally as a fort, was garrisoned by devout Islamic warriors and this is reflected in the elegant first floor prayer hall with its mirhab (vaulted niche pointing to Mecca) and fortified windows that were used by archers. Superb views up to the kasbah, over the medina and into the courtyard of the Great Mosque can be gained from the top of the nador (watchtower).


The catacombs are made up of an estimated 5½ km of tunnels containing the graves of more than 15,000 local Christians, mostly dating back to the 4th and 5th Centuries AD.


Nearby El Jem is a remarkably preserved ancient colosseum built on a plateau between Sousse and Sfax and is invariably recognised as the most impressive Roman monument in Africa. Its location was in ancient Thysdrus, a thriving market town that grew up at the junction of the Sahel’s lucrative trading routes during the 1st Century AD and named after the olive oil produced in the area. Built in the 3rd Century AD the Colosseum was the third largest in the Roman world, seating up to an estimated 30,000 people.

Recommended Lodges in Sousse El Jem






No Visa is required for UK passport holders.

Health Requirements

No mandatory vaccinations are required.

Time Difference

GMT + 1 Hour

Flight Time

Talk to an expert

Talk to an expert


You can follow our adventures and travel inspiration and share your holiday experiences with us through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


Keep up-to-date with the latest travel trends, inspiration for future trips and competitions to win luxury travel vouchers.