Monastir was founded on the ruins of the Punic–Roman city of Ruspina. The city features a well-preserved Ribat of Monastir that was used to scan the sea for hostile ships and as a defence against the attacks of the Byzantine fleet. Several ulema came to stay in the ribat of this peaceful city for contemplation. The ribat was, in the 1970s, also one of the filming locations for both the miniseries Jesus of Nazareth and Monty Python's Life of Brian.
The city is on the electrified, metre-gauge Sahel Metro line with trains serving Sousse and Mahdia. Other services run to Tunis.
Monastir – Habib Bourguiba International Airport has flights from most Western European countries. It is run by Tepe Akfen Ventures Airport Holding (TAV).
Monastir enjoys a dry Mediterranean climate with hot summers, extremely mild winters, lots of sunshine and low rainfall year-round. The city sits in the northeast of Tunisia, on its central coast. It is milder than inland areas of Tunisia, forty percent of which is part of the Sahara. In the summer, while humidity is low, the soaring heat can still be hard to handle. The average high temperature of 29 °C (84 °F) in June skips past the 30 °C (86 °F) mark in the middle of the month and climbs up to 33 °C (91 °F) in July and August.
Nouvelair has its head office in Monastir in the Dkhila Tourist Zone, near the Hôtel Sahara Beach.
Tunisian ex-president Habib Bourguiba was born in Monastir, and his mausoleum is located in the city. Many other famous politicians are also from Monastir:
Among other notable people:
Monastir's northeastern territories lead into a place called Route de la Falaise, through which one can reach its most notable suburb, Skanes, which is 6 miles (9.7 kilometres) from Monastir's town centre. Hugging Tunisia's coastline, Skanes is a holiday resort known mostly for its professional golf courses; white, sandy beaches; clear blue sea; and hotels that fuse Moorish architecture with modern designs. It is frequented throughout the summer by tourists from around the world. They also come for the medina, where it is possible to sample fresh Tunisian cooking and bargain for local goods.