Goletta - Encyclopedia




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GOLETTA [LA GOULETTE], a town on the Gulf of Tunis in 36° 50' N. 10 19' E., a little south of the ruins of Carthage, and on the north side of the ship canal which traverses the shallow Lake of Tunis and leads to the city of that name. Built on the narrow strip of sand which separates the lake from the gulf, Goletta is defended by a fort and battery. The town contains a summer palace of the bey, the old seraglio, arsenal and customhouse, and many villas, gardens and pleasure resorts, Goletta being a favourite place for sea-bathing. A short canal, from which the name of the town is derived (Arab. Halk-el-Wad, " throat of the canal"), 40 ft. broad and 82 ft. deep, divides the town and affords communication between the ship canal and a dock or basin, 1082 ft. long and 541 ft. broad. An electric tramway which runs along the north bank of the ship canal connects Goletta with the city of Tunis (q.v.). Pop. (1907) about 5000, mostly Jews and Italian fishermen.

Beyond Cape Carthage, 5 m. N. of Goletta, is La Marsa, a summer resort overlooking the sea. The bey has a palace here, and the French resident-general, the British consul, other officials, and many Tunisians have country-houses, surrounded by groves of olive trees.

Before the opening of the ship canal in 1893 Goletta, as the port of Tunis, was a place of considerable importance. The basin at the Goletta end of the canal now serves as a subsidiary harbour to that of Tunis. The most stirring events in the history of the town are connected with the Turkish conquest of the Barbary states. Khair-ed-Din Barbarossa having made himself master of Tunis and its port, Goletta was attacked in 1 535 by the emperor Charles V., who seized the pirate's fleet, which was sheltered in the small canal, his arsenal, and 300 brass cannon. The Turks regained possession in 1574. (See TUNISIA: History.)

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