Safeguarding the manuscripts of the Sidi Moussa Jemni Mausoleum

  • Investment
  • Year
  • Project coordinator
    Héla Mekki Lakhal, Institut National du Patrimoine de Tunisie


The Institut National du Patrimoine de Tunisie proposed to safeguard the manuscript collection of the Mausoleum of Sidi Moussa Jemni, located in the village of Matmata el Guedima, in the south of Tunisia. The manuscripts are the tangible remnants of the time when part of the complex served as a Madrassa, or school, in the eighteenth century. The collection contains around 400 volumes of rare, unique and richly decorated manuscripts on several themes, such as mathematics, astronomy, Islamic science and the Koran.

The collection was in a critical condition, and threatened by several environmental issues, such as sand storms and humidity. Even man-made factors, like improper handling, looting and imminent vandalism threatened this piece of heritage to be damaged. The project preserved this culturally and historically valuable collection by restoration, conservation, the improvement of storage conditions, documentation and digitization. Local staff of the INP were trained to properly maintain and restore the collection in the future.