Tunis. La Porte Française

Description

This photochrome print is part of “Views of Architecture and People in Tunisia” from the catalog of the Detroit Photographic Company. It shows the Porte Francaise (French gate) in Tunis, also known as the Bab el Bhar or Porte de France (Sea gate or Gate of France). The 1911 edition of Baedeker’s The Mediterranean, Seaports and Sea Routes: Handbook for Travellers describes this gateway as one of the main boundaries between “the oldest Moorish quarter” of the medina in the west, and the “monotonous European new town” to the east. This busy gateway and square opened onto the “two chief thoroughfares of the Medina,” leading to the old city’s many souks as well as to the Jewish quarter. Tunisia was occupied by the French in 1881 and administered as a protectorate in which the nominal authority of local government was recognized. Europeans at one time made up half the population in Tunis. Rapid redevelopment of the city occurred as the French built new boulevards, neighborhoods, and infrastructure and the city became divided into a traditional Arab-populated medina and a new quarter populated by immigrants. The UNESCO World Heritage List citation for the medina of Tunis states that during the medieval period and earlier “Tunis was considered one of the greatest and wealthiest cities in the Islamic world. Some 700 monuments, including palaces, mosques, mausoleums, madrasas and fountains, testify to this remarkable past.” The Detroit Photographic Company was launched as a photographic publishing firm in the late 1890s by Detroit businessman and publisher William A. Livingstone, Jr. and photographer and photo-publisher Edwin H. Husher. They obtained the exclusive rights to use the Swiss "Photochrom" process for converting black-and-white photographs into color images and printing them by photolithography. This innovative process was applied to the mass production of color postcards, prints, and albums for sale to the American market. The firm became the Detroit Publishing Company in 1905.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Detroit Photographic Company, Detroit, Michigan

Additional Subjects

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 photomechanical print : photochrom, color

References

  1. Karl Baedeker, The Mediterranean, Seaports and Sea Routes: Handbook for Travellers (London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1911).
  2. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), World Heritage Centre, “Medina of Tunis.” http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/36.

Last updated: January 30, 2017