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In Pictures

In Pictures: Ben Ali's material legacy

An inside look at the deposed Tunisian leader's luxurious Sidi Bou Said palace.
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2012 08:58

Tunis, Tunisia - Former Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali had a well-documented penchant for luxury.

When he fled the North African nation in January 2011, the deposed leader left behind a catalogue of luxury cars, boats, artwork, antiquities, and personal belongings that will now go on exhibition and auction in the coming weeks to generate funds for the country's cash-strapped government, helping to reduce the budget deficit and fund development projects. 

The items, except for the cars and boats, will go on display inside the palatial dwelling of Ben Ali’s water-front home in the wealthy Tunis suburb Sidi Bou Said.

The setting itself is an unnervingly luxurious home, reflecting 23 years of unchecked power and corruption that characterised the Ben Ali regime. Towering over the sea on a Sidi Bou Said hill, the house includes all the trappings of an exorbitant lifestyle: vaulted ceilings, a seaside helicopter landing pad, a grandiose pool, two antique cannons, and a chandelier in nearly every room.

In a ghostly time capsule, the opulent lifestyle of the Ben Ali family remains eerily accessible through their belongings. Family portraits, furniture, toys, artwork, movies, toothbrushes, and musical instruments remain nearly untouched inside the home.

Ben Ali’s fleet of cars and boats, although not for public display, will also go on auction. The family cars included dozens of luxury vehicles, ATVs, and an RV, and represent nearly every luxury brand, from Maybach to Rolls Royce. Some reports say that 234 luxury cars were seized from Ben Ali's family and allies when he was swept from power. 

Newly unveiled by the Islamist-led Tunisian government, Tunisia Live provides Al Jazeera an inside look at the gaudy possessions that captures the enormous disconnect between Ben Ali and the rest of the country during his years in power. 


Paul Rosenfeld/Al Jazeera
The view off the back porch of Ben Ali's Sidi Bou Said Palace. The winding road leads to a helicopter landing pad on the waterfront.
Paul Rosenfeld/Al Jazeera
Ben Aliís personal Maybach, estimated to be worth more than US$1.2m. In the background, the airport from which the deposed leader fled to Saudi Arabia.
Paul Rosenfeld/Al Jazeera
The army impound featured dozens of Ben Ali family cars such as Rolls Royce, Bentley, BMW, Mercedes, Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Porsche. This personalised Aston Martin was a gift from Ben Ali to his son-in-law Sakher el-Materi.
Paul Rosenfeld/Al Jazeera
Ben Ali's dining room sat 28 people.
Paul Rosenfeld/Al Jazeera
The seat of power inside the home office.
Paul Rosenfeld/Al Jazeera
Because the deposed leader was removed in January, several Christmas knickknacks were intermingled with expensive art and antiquities from all over the world.
Paul Rosenfeld/Al Jazeera
A close up Ben Ali's portrait on a 1-metre tall ceramic vase that proclaimed his presidential title.
Paul Rosenfeld/Al Jazeera
Nearly every room in the palace featured chandeliers and gold-plated ceilings.
Paul Rosenfeld/Al Jazeera
During the ousting of Ben Ali, some of his homes were looted and belongings stolen or destroyed. While the majority of cars are being refurbished for sale, this Bentley, with broken windows and a shredded interior, is beyond repair.
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images:
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captions:
The view off the back porch of Ben Ali(***)s Sidi Bou Said Palace. The winding road leads to a helicopter landing pad on the waterfront. ;*;Ben Aliís personal Maybach, estimated to be worth more than US$1.2m. In the background, the airport from which the deposed leader fled to Saudi Arabia.;*;The army impound featured dozens of Ben Ali family cars such as Rolls Royce, Bentley, BMW, Mercedes, Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Porsche. This personalised Aston Martin was a gift from Ben Ali to his son-in-law Sakher el-Materi.;*;Ben Ali(***)s dining room sat 28 people.;*;The seat of power inside the home office.;*;Because the deposed leader was removed in January, several Christmas knickknacks were intermingled with expensive art and antiquities from all over the world.;*;A close up Ben Ali(***)s portrait on a 1-metre tall ceramic vase that proclaimed his presidential title.;*;Nearly every room in the palace featured chandeliers and gold-plated ceilings. ;*;During the ousting of Ben Ali, some of his homes were looted and belongings stolen or destroyed. While the majority of cars are being refurbished for sale, this Bentley, with broken windows and a shredded interior, is beyond repair. Daylife ID:
1355728951510
Photographer:
Paul Rosenfeld;*;Paul Rosenfeld;*;Paul Rosenfeld;*;Paul Rosenfeld;*;Paul Rosenfeld;*;Paul Rosenfeld;*;Paul Rosenfeld;*;Paul Rosenfeld;*;Paul Rosenfeld
Image Source:
Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera
Gallery Source:
Daylife
Daylife Raw Data:
Ben Ali's Last Possessions http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Ben-Ali%27s-Last-Possessions-en-usAl Jazeerafeedback@daylife.com10Mon, 17 Dec 2012 07:22:32 GMTMon, 17 Dec 2012 08:39:34 GMT http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Ben-Ali%27s-Last-Possessions-?image_id=0fN20y34cB1z3The view off the back porch of Ben Ali's Sidi Bou Said Palace. The winding road leads to a helicopter landing pad on the waterfront.
Mon, 17 Dec 2012 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Ben-Ali%27s-Last-Possessions-?image_id=0fN20y34cB1z3Paul RosenfeldAl JazeeraAl Jazeera Upload ImagesThe view off the back porch of Ben Ali's Sidi Bou Said Palace. The winding road leads to a helicopter landing pad on the waterfront.
http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Ben-Ali%27s-Last-Possessions-?image_id=03DZ9JkeVreoX

Ben Ali’s personal Maybach, estimated to be worth over 2m dinars (1.2m USD). In the background, the airport from which the deposed leader fled to Saudi Arabia.

Mon, 17 Dec 2012 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Ben-Ali%27s-Last-Possessions-?image_id=03DZ9JkeVreoXPaul RosenfeldAl JazeeraAl Jazeera Upload Images

Ben Ali’s personal Maybach, estimated to be worth over 2m dinars (1.2m USD). In the background, the airport from which the deposed leader fled to Saudi Arabia.

http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Ben-Ali%27s-Last-Possessions-?image_id=04Jp6EYfSiddd

The army impound lot featured dozens of Ben Ali family cars representing luxury brands like Rolls Royce, Bentley, BMW, Mercedes, Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Porsche. This personalised Aston Martin a gift from Ben Ali to his son-in-law Sakher el-Materi.

Mon, 17 Dec 2012 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Ben-Ali%27s-Last-Possessions-?image_id=04Jp6EYfSidddPaul RosenfeldAl JazeeraAl Jazeera Upload Images

The army impound lot featured dozens of Ben Ali family cars representing luxury brands like Rolls Royce, Bentley, BMW, Mercedes, Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Porsche. This personalised Aston Martin a gift from Ben Ali to his son-in-law Sakher el-Materi.

http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Ben-Ali%27s-Last-Possessions-?image_id=08yD1vIb1e4kT

Ben Ali's dining room sat 28 people.

Mon, 17 Dec 2012 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Ben-Ali%27s-Last-Possessions-?image_id=08yD1vIb1e4kTPaul RosenfeldAl JazeeraAl Jazeera Upload Images

Ben Ali's dining room sat 28 people.

http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Ben-Ali%27s-Last-Possessions-?image_id=0eQ77a17ku4w8The seat of power inside the home office.Mon, 17 Dec 2012 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Ben-Ali%27s-Last-Possessions-?image_id=0eQ77a17ku4w8Paul RosenfeldAl JazeeraAl Jazeera Upload ImagesThe seat of power inside the home office. http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Ben-Ali%27s-Last-Possessions-?image_id=0bp328adC7aKPBecause the deposed leader was removed in January, several Christmas knickknacks were intermingled with expensive art and antiquities from all over the world.Mon, 17 Dec 2012 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Ben-Ali%27s-Last-Possessions-?image_id=0bp328adC7aKPPaul RosenfeldAl JazeeraAl Jazeera Upload ImagesBecause the deposed leader was removed in January, several Christmas knickknacks were intermingled with expensive art and antiquities from all over the world. http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Ben-Ali%27s-Last-Possessions-?image_id=0ewSgshbvs1Aa

A close up Ben Ali's portrait on a three-foot tall ceramic vase that proclaimed his presidential title.

Mon, 17 Dec 2012 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Ben-Ali%27s-Last-Possessions-?image_id=0ewSgshbvs1AaPaul RosenfeldAl JazeeraAl Jazeera Upload Images

A close up Ben Ali's portrait on a three-foot tall ceramic vase that proclaimed his presidential title.

http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Ben-Ali%27s-Last-Possessions-?image_id=0c9Jc6U6Xr1poNearly every room in the palace featured chandeliers and gold-plated ceiling reliefs. Mon, 17 Dec 2012 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Ben-Ali%27s-Last-Possessions-?image_id=0c9Jc6U6Xr1poPaul RosenfeldAl JazeeraAl Jazeera Upload ImagesNearly every room in the palace featured chandeliers and gold-plated ceiling reliefs. http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Ben-Ali%27s-Last-Possessions-?image_id=02t3a7c45Scej

During the ousting of Ben Ali, some of his homes were looted and several of his belongings were stolen or destroyed. While the majority of cars are being refurbished for sale, this Bentley, with broken windows and a shredded interior, is beyond repair.

Mon, 17 Dec 2012 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Ben-Ali%27s-Last-Possessions-?image_id=02t3a7c45ScejPaul RosenfeldAl JazeeraAl Jazeera Upload Images

During the ousting of Ben Ali, some of his homes were looted and several of his belongings were stolen or destroyed. While the majority of cars are being refurbished for sale, this Bentley, with broken windows and a shredded interior, is beyond repair.



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