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M'saken is located in Tunisia
Location in Tunisia
Coordinates: 35°44′0″N 10°35′0″E / 35.73333°N 10.58333°E / 35.73333; 10.58333Coordinates: 35°44′0″N 10°35′0″E / 35.73333°N 10.58333°E / 35.73333; 10.58333
Country Flag of Tunisia.svg Tunisia
Governorate Sousse Governorate
 • Type Republic
 • President Béji Caid Es-Sebsi
Elevation 469 ft (143 m)
Population (2014)
 • Total 97,225
Time zone CET (UTC1)
Monument centre ville Msaken, Tunisie 2012.JPG
Monument in Msaken city center 2012
Msaken Municipality Garden

M'saken (Arabic: مساكن‎‎ Msākan; also spelled Masakin, Msaken) is a town in north-eastern Tunisia, close to Sousse.


The origin of the word comes from "Msaken" masken (plural masken) meaning "habitat", "house" or "dwelling". And it's mainly referring to "Housing of honorable people" (Masken el achraf) due to the first inhabitants that came from honorable siblings.


The town is the administration center of a "delegation" (district) of the same name, which at the 2014 Census had a population of 97,225.

Personalities from Msaken[edit]

Habib Chatti or Habib Chatty, born August 9, 1916 at M'saken and died March 6, 1991 in Paris, is a Tunisian diplomat and politician. After completing his primary education in his hometown, he continued his studies at the Collège Sadiki Tunis. He works in the late 1930s in the press as editor of the newspaper Assabah. In 1955, he was appointed as Director of Information in the Government of Tahar Ben Ammar. Ambassador of Tunisia in 1958, he became Chief of Staff of President Habib Bourguiba in 1972, then Minister of Foreign Affairs from 14 January 1974 to 24 December 1977. In 1979, he was elected Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, whose headquarters is located in Jeddah.


According to local traditions, Msaken was founded by a group of descendants of Hussein Ibn Ali and Fatima Ez-zahra (Muhammed's daughter).
Their ancestors had come to North Africa escaping from the Abbassid masters of Baghdad, who had been engaged in a cruel fight against Sharif people (descendants of Hassan and Hussein, the sons of Ali and Fatima).
They founded a Sharif Emirate in Taguedmett near present-day Tiaret in Algeria's west center.
After three generations and following the fall of this Emirate, some of their descendants lived in eastern Morocco near Wajda for some time.
Then some of their descendants emigrated to Kairouan in Tunisia.
After some decades, they founded MSAKEN town in Hafside times who had their capital in Tunis.
Their town was originally called [Kousour al Ashraf] (which means "Sharif's houses"), then [Masakin al Ashraf] (which has the same meaning), and finally Masakin - or Msaken with the North-Africain spelling (means "houses").
The town core had been founded around the actual Jamma al Awsat (which means the central mosque) and was composed of five ksars (great houses).


In the last centuries, there were a lot of soufi ersonalities:

  • Sheikh Mohamed Gazzah
  • Sheikh Ladharai
  • Sidi Omar Shatti
  • Sidi Ali Ben Khalifa


  • Population: 97,225 inhabitants (Whole delegation 2014 census)
  • Altitude: 112 m
  • Number of hospitals: (private and public) 3

Neighbor Cities and Villages[edit]


Msaken has a big population living in foreign countries and mainly in France and more particularly in Côtes d'Azur region, in Nice and neighbour places According to some sources, 40% of Msaken population is living outside Tunisia. The population of Msaken increases very significantly in July and August, every year following the return of migrants to their hometown for the holidays.

Y chromosome DNA Analysis[edit]

15 people from different families in Msaken were tested for their Y chromosome DNA in 2009-2014. The tests are conducted by Kamel Gazzah and done by Family Tree DNA company. The results were as follows:

  • 13 persons (LAST UPDATED : 04 August 2016) belong to J2-L271 haplogroup. (SNPs L24+, L25+, F3133+, Z7704+, L192.2+, L271+)
  • 2 persons belong to R1a1a1l haplogroup. (SNPs Z93+, Z94-, Z283-, L342-)

Two new SNPs have been found in five samples tested among the 13 people who belong to J2-L24 haplogroup.

The rest of the group are positive for these SNPs as per their STR haplotypes matching.

These SNPs are L192.2 and L271.
They were first discovered in February 2010 in "Walk Through the Y" chromosome (WTY) test on a sample from Msaken belonging to the Al Gazzah family. The TMRCA is estimated to be 800 ±300 Years Before Present for SNP L271 which matches the Msaken foundation date.

The TMRCA is 3000 ±500 years for L192.2 SNP.

L192.2 SNP has a wide geographic scope: It has been found in Jordan, Turkey, Italy, Russia, Kuwait, India (Syrian Christians of Kerala), Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Iran, Georgia. The widest variation so far observed is in Anatolia which means that it originated there.

It is particularly present among Armenians and Kurds (according to haplotypes found in the Y-chromosome haplotype database YHRD).

Family names covered by the DNA Analysis[edit]

The samples belonging to J2-L271 are from the following Family Names:

Mitochondria DNA Analysis[edit]

5 people from Msaken have been tested for their Mitochondria Haplogroups, the results are as follows

1- Haplogroup T2b3, with more than 1500 high resolution matching (HVR1+HVR1) with European people: probably Central/Western European origin

2- Haplogroup N1c :Middle eastern origin (Arabia, Anatolia).

3- Haplogroup H (predicted H2a2) : Eurasia.

4- Haplogroup L3f : East African roots.

5- Haplogroup L1c3 : West African roots.

Twin cities[edit]


External links[edit]