Known in Roman times as Ruspina, Monastir gained great importance during the reign of the Aghlabids in the 8th and 9th centuries. During this relatively short period, the dynasty founded by Ibrahim ibn al-Aghlab ushered in a golden era lasting for around a century. During this period, the main fortifications were built with the goal of preserving the autonomy of the country and protecting Islam. Only one of these chains of military fortifications, the Ribat, still stands today as a witness of a prestigious past.
The importance of Monastir was not only of a military nature. From the 11th century onwards, and particularly after the decline of Kairouan, it became a holy city to which pilgrims flocked.
Monastir is also known as the birthplace of President Habib Bourguiba, who devoted a large part of his life for the independence and modernization of the country.