This gate is the classic starting-point for visits to the Medina. Before the creation of the new city during the French Protectorate, a door in the rampart of the Medina opened to the lagoon, hence its name, Bab El Bahr meaning the door of the sea. The French tore it down in 1848 and built this little Triumphal arch named Porte de France (the French door), as the filling of the lagoon marked the beginning of the construction of the colonial city, between the medina and the Lake of Tunis. It recovered its original name in tribute to the end of the exile of Habib Bourguiba in 1955. During the Ottoman Tunis Regency, the area around the Bab el Bahr was devoted to the European caravanserais. Called funduks in the Maghreb, those trading buildings that supplied accommodation to the traders also hosted diplomatic representatives. The first one was French and opened in 1660 (at 5, Ancienne Douane Street). The former British embassy is located right on the Place de la Victoire, easily recognized by its big blue nailed door. N.L.
Attractions & Landmarks