During the reign of the Almohads and the Hafsids, from the 12th to the 16th century, Tunis was considered one of the most important and richest cities in the Islamic world. Some 700 monuments including palaces, mosques, mausoleums, medersas and fountains bear witness to this remarkable past.

The city represents a human settlement that bears witness to the interaction between architecture, urban planning and the socio-cultural and economic effects of previous cultures.

With its souks, urban fabric, residential quarters, monuments and gates, this complex is one of the best-preserved prototypes of the Islamic world.

(Source: WHC)



The functional mutations in the Medina of Tunis are marked by the constant decline of the residential function since the 1970's. This reality was followed by a significant exodus of the intramural population to the benefit of the more modern and more airy peripheral districts. The Medina of Tunis has thus been emptied of its historical population with a direct impact on its community way of life. Many buildings of historical interest have been abandoned, are in great danger, or have already collapsed.

The Medina has also lost its function as the cultural and economic centre or "heart" of the city of Tunis, becoming a marginalised district.

Handicrafts are in continuous decline, due to problems of accessibility, lack of innovation, changing tastes and heavy dependence on international tourism. This has resulted in a progressive loss of the know-how that underpins these economic activities.

There are almost no spaces dedicated to culture.

Buildings remain vulnerable to cumulative changes in materials and construction techniques.

Project Leaders
Main Partners
CoPaM, UNESCO, National Heritage Institute, Association de Sauvegarde de la Médina
Objectives of the project

Building a partnership and a multi-stakeholder working methodology combining private initiative, civil society and government strategy.

Pioneering vision: Prototype an innovative, efficient, value-creating and locally compliant collaboration model  

Demonstrate that the involvement of the private sector can be implemented in perfect balance with the ethical values promoted by UNESCO and in accordance with a concerted management of territories centred on solidarity and respect for the well-being of the populations

Rehabilitation of an urban complex piloted by TUNISTORIC and the INP with support from CoPaM for the development of the management plan, the transfer of skills and their implementation at the level of the companies' project management

Triggering pilot for the rehabilitation process of the city: following the evaluation of the first stage by all stakeholders, a wider deployment in the Medina.

Work on an area with an urban dimension, controllable but with all the aspects of an urban environment to allow a global approach

Develop a heritage approach in line with the vision of a living, not mummified city and in line with the 2011 recommendation on the historic urban landscape.

Exploratory research whose results and model can benefit all the other medinas (duplication of a success to other sites in the Mediterranean).

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CoPaM in action
Support to the general coordination of the project led by TUNISTORIC
Technical and heritage expertise on the restoration and exploitation of heritage assets, and on the development of the management plan for the Medina carried out by the INP
Advocacy role for a heritage approach based on the living city
Support for fundraising
Arles Arena
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