Tunis, ville double : les quartiers consulaires médiévaux comme prémices de la ville européenne

  • Adnen el Ghali Université libre de Bruxelles


Thanks to the conclusion of the first trade and peace treaty between the Emirate of Tunis and the Republic of Pisa (1157), the central area called the “Frankish Quarter” of Tunis was established. Through the signing of new treatises with competing Christian powers, the ”Frankish Quarter” was gradually transformed and became a “Consular District”. At the centre of this process was the fondouk, soul of the Latin Christian quarter, located between the port and the city. In this area, consular institutions gave rise to a specific set of services and equipments intended for a specific and segregated community. After four centuries of existence (1157-1535), the “Consular District” was replaced by a military citadel, the Nova Arx, designed by Italian engineers under count Gabrio Serbelloni’s (1509-1580) command and constructed on the site of the hafsid arsenal. The Nova Arx existed for only one year (1573-1574), when it was dismantled by the Ottomans. With it, the memory of the consular presence in this part of the city vanished until the construction of the French consulate in 1860.


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Author Biography

Adnen el Ghali, Université libre de Bruxelles

Adnen el Ghali is an urban studies researcher affiliated to the SociAMM Research Centre at the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB). He has also been a fellow of the Ecole française de Rome, the Academia Belgica and member of the ‘Sweden and the Mediterranean World (1600-1900)’ network at Lund University. He works in the fields of heritage and consular history, a concept he contributed to create. His work examines diaspora and minorities in the urban spaces.

He can be reached at: adnenelghali@yahoo.com