Menzel Bourguiba


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Menzel Bourguiba (Arabic: منزل بورقيبة‎, romanized: Manzil Būrgībah, lit. ’House of Bourguiba’), formerly known as Ferryville, is a town located in the extreme north of Tunisia, about 60 kilometres (37 mi) from Tunis, in the Bizerte Governorate.

The town’s name translates as « House of Bourguiba », as it was named after the first president of independent Tunisia, Habib Bourguiba, in 1956. During the French protectorate of Tunisia (1881–1956), Menzel Bourguiba was named Ferryville, referring to contemporary French minister Jules Ferry and was nicknamed « Petit Paris » (Translated « Little Paris ») by its inhabitants of French origin. In addition, it housed the arsenal of the French navy known as the Sidi-Abdallah, which was only handed over to the Tunisian authorities in 1962.

Menzel Bourguiba is an important town for economic reasons. Its economy is based mainly around metallurgy. It was founded as a naval installation under French rule, because of its strategic location between two lakes: The inland Ichkeul Lake on the west, and Bizerte Lake on the east, which connects to the Mediterranean Sea by the Bizerte canal.

Its most important economic activity was the ailing state-owned shipyard. The yard has seen its workforce decline, after the high level of activity in the 1970s and 1980s, when Tunisia had a larger merchant fleet and when the Soviet Union used Menzel Bourguiba to drydock its ships. At that time, the yard employed over 1,300 people. It has recently been bought by a French ship repair company, Compagnie Marseille Réparation.

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