Inscribed on the Tunisian Tentative List since 2012, the Medina of Sfax was founded in 849 AD by order of the Aghlabid Emirs of Kairouan, the capital of Ifrikiya. Covering an area of 24 ha and surrounded by ramparts 2,750 m long, the medina of Sfax has a large mosque in its center. Marked out of 34 dungeons and endowed at the origin with 2 doors, its morphology takes again in its broad lines the medinal model, but distinguishes itself from it by its more airy viary network. Port and gate of Ifrikyia towards the Levant for a long period, the medina of Sfax represents, by its foundation and its regular plan, an eminent example of the transfer to the Mediterranean shores of the Arab-Muslim conception of town planning after its experimentation for the first time with the foundation of Koufa in Iraq.

5 million Euros over 3 years

The functional mutations in the medina of Sfax are marked by the constant decline since the 1970s of the residential function in favour of the economic function. The owners of dwellings opt for their transformation into commercial premises (soukisation phenomenon) and crafts, in particular shoemaking. These changes are justified by the rent that such a transfer can bring but affect the built environment. This reality has been followed by a significant exodus of the intramural population to the more modern and airy peripheral districts. This disaffection is now giving rise to land speculation that is harmful to the conservation and maintenance of existing buildings.

Project Leaders
SA Arije el Medina, Association for the Safeguarding of the Medina of Sfax
Main Partners
CoPaM, Tunisian local authorities, National Institute of Tunisian Heritage, Maison Méditerranéenne des Sciences de l'Homme, Aix-Marseille University, Maison Méditerranéenne des Sciences de l'Homme, LA3M
Objectives of the project

Revitalization of the medina of Sfax from the renovation of private commercial buildings (diversification of the commercial offer for inhabitants and visitors: restaurants and guest houses) led by Arije El Medina.

Creation of a partnership and a multilateral working methodology combining private initiative and public authorities' strategy.

Restoration and economic and social revitalization of the medina of Sfax led by the INP Sfax, in partnership with Arije El Medina and the Association for the Safeguarding of the Medina of Sfax:

Support for the elaboration of the management plan (at INP Sfax)

Restoration and economic and cultural enhancement of a housing block on an experimental basis with the implementation of the necessary skills at the level of the project manager and the companies.

Creation of a trade school for the renovation of the heritage in Sfax managed by the Association for the Safeguarding of the Medina of Sfax in connection with the Ministry of Education:

- Restoration and transformation of an old school (Husseinite school) into a training centre for heritage and traditional crafts.

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CoPaM in action
Support to the general coordination of the project (Action 1 and 3) led by the company Arije el Medina and the association for the Safeguarding of the Medina of Sfax, in partnership with the INP Sfax.
Technical and heritage expertise on the elaboration of the Medina management plan which is carried out by the National Heritage Institute and on the restoration and exploitation of heritage properties (Action 2).
Support in the search for funding for the 3 actions
Arles Arena
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