Favorite thing: The local currency is the Dinar. American Express, Visa and travellers cheques are widely accepted, and the US dollar is a good currency to carry them in. ATMs are found in almost every town large enough to support a bank and certainly in all the tourist areas. Credit cards are accepted in souvenir shops and upmarket hotels and restaurants.
- School Holidays
- Business Travel
- Family Travel
Favorite thing: The Syndicat d'Initiative is located to the north of the town beside the Aghlabid Basins and is where you can obtain a single ticket which allows you admission into the main tourist attractions in Kairouan. The ticket, which costs TD7 plus TD1 for camera charge, includes entry into the Great Mosque, Aghlabid Basins, Zaouia of Sidi Sahab, Zaouia of Sidi Amor Abbada, Bir Barouta, Raqqada Islamic Art Museum and Zaouia of Sidi Abid el-Ghariani. If you're visiting the Aghlabid Basins, then stop off on the rooftop of the Syndicat d'Initiative for a good view of them.
Favorite thing: All ancient sites, mosques, museums and antiquities charge a photographic fee. The ticket for this has to be purchased when one buys the entrance ticket. For each camera a separate fee has to be paid. During my visit the fee was 1 Dinar.
- Historical Travel
- Museum Visits
- Arts and Culture
Birthday in Kairouan
Favorite thing: It was my 28th biithday when we visited Kairouan so what better way to start the day than wake up at 6.30 am and go for an early morning hamman.
A hamman is very popular in North African and Arab countries. It's similar to a Turkish bath and consists of a series of rooms, which get gradually hotter. As it's very much a local custom and not aimed at tourists it costs very little to go to a hamman. The basic bath costs about 1 Dinar while a massage & bath is about 3 Dinar.
As this was my very first time I went for the bath. Having read Michael Palin's account of a hamman massage when he visited Morocco I decided the massage could wait until my next visit. I was the only non-local there though I guess that made it all the better.
It's a little confusing trying to work out how everything works but in the end I figured it out and didn't make too many embarrassing mistakes! There was an entrance room where you get changed and pay for using the baths. You can also leave valuables here. Then you enter the hamman and massage area. When I finished there were a few guys back in the changing area relaxing with a pot of mint tea and newspaper. It's all very relaxing.
Tunisia's holiest city
Favorite thing: This is Tunisia's Holy City - and one of the Islam's four Holy Cities - the other three being Mecca, Medina, Jerusalem. Kairouan's local name, Al Qayrawn, in Arabic means "fortified town" and it is also known as "the city of 50 mosques" or the "Carpets' Capital". It's old and charming - some areasate back to the 13th century, although the city is much older.
Fondest memory: My fondest memory are Kairouans' highlights: the old city walls, the courtyard of the Great Mosque, the Mausoleum of the Barber, the vibrant Medina. Another fond memory is walking arounf the souk and enjoying the different smells.