Kairouan Things to Do

  • THE GREAT MOSQUE
    THE GREAT MOSQUE
    by alyf1961
  • THE MINARET
    THE MINARET
    by alyf1961
  • THE MINARET
    THE MINARET
    by alyf1961

Most Recent Things to Do in Kairouan

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    THE PRAYER HALL

    by alyf1961 Written Jan 13, 2012

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    THE PRAYER HALL
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    The prayer hall has 17 aisles which are seperated from each other by rows of columns. The floor of the prayer hall is covered with hand made rugs. These rugs are usually made by women and can take up to 1 year to make each rug.

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    THE ARCADES

    by alyf1961 Written Jan 13, 2012

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    THE ARCADES
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    The arcades surround the courtyard, they form long aisles to protect people from the sun. If the Mosque is full people will pray in the courtyard and the aisles.
    The pillars of the arcades were taken from carthage where the Roman baths stood.

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    THE CISTERN

    by alyf1961 Written Jan 13, 2012

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    THE CISTERN

    The Cistern is in the centre of the courtyard which slopes slightly to allow water to filter into it. Water is important before prayers to cleanse the prayer. There are also cleansing facilities outside the courtyard.

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    THE MINARET

    by alyf1961 Written Jan 13, 2012

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    THE MINARET
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    The base of the minaret was built between 724 and 728. It is one of the oldest Minarets and it set a pattern for all Minarets in this part of the muslim world. It is 115 foot high and has 129 steps leading to the top.

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    THE GREAT MOSQUE

    by alyf1961 Written Jan 13, 2012

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    THE GREAT MOSQUE

    The Great Mosque is in the centre of the Medina. It is the fourth most important pilgrimage destination iun the Islamic world and one of the oldest and largest places of prayer. According to muslims seven visits here are equvilent to one visit to Mecca.

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    Wander the medina

    by leics Written Aug 13, 2010

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    Medina street and walls
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    I had little enough time to do this, but what I saw in twenty minutes or so made it very clear that a longer exploration would hold a great deal of interest.

    The doors, the narrow winding alleyways and streets, the shops, the souk.......all are worth exploring.

    The medina walls were first constructed in the mid-700s, but they have been destroyed and rebuilt several times since then. Those in the Place des Martyrs, at the southern end of Avenue 7 novembre, are apparently the most impressive......luckily, this was where I spent my limited wandering time.

    I hope you can find a bit more time than I did to explore Kairouan's medina and its walls. I 'm certain it will be worthwhile.

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    Zaouia of Sidi Sahab

    by leics Updated Aug 13, 2010

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    Dome and arches
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    This is a mausoleum as well as a mosque. Abou Zamma el Belaoui was a companion of Prophet Mohammad and always kept 3 of the latter's beard hairs on his person.

    It's still an important pilgrimage site, although the buildings you see now are not ancient. They date from the seventeenth century onward, and part of them are in the Andalusian style, with beautiful tiling and plaster work.

    Adjacent to the mosque, and part of the same complex, is the tomb of Sidi Serif Ben Hindu who designed the Great Mosque. This is a popular place for boys to be circumcised (aged around 6). When I visited, this was happening. The ululation of the boy's female relatives when he was restored to them (as a very sober little boy) was a magical and exhilarating experience, although it also made me feel as if I was intruding.

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    Bir Barouta

    by leics Written Aug 13, 2010

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    Lovely tiles around the noria
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    The story goes that a 13th-century holy man needed water; his dog scratched the gournd here and water appeared.

    Or, if you prefer, this is the spring found by Oqba Ibn Nafi in 660AD, the spring which connects directly with a holy well in Mecca.

    Whatever, climb the narrow stone steps to the top of this domed structure and you'll find a camel (I have no idea how it gets in and out, I assume it is trained to climb steps!). It will turn the ancient wheel whilst you watch. The wheel is noria, irrigation technology which probably originally came to Tunisia from Syria in Medieval times. Make sure you squish yourself against the wall, for the camel cares not upon whose toes it treads! The water will be available for you to drink, should you wish (I didn't).

    For the price of one dinar, it is a fascinating bit of history-in-action. Camels must have been doing the same thing on the same spot since 1690AD, when one Muhammed Ben Murad restored the building into what you can see today.

    The same chap also installed a fountain which flows into a marble basin out on the opposite side of the building.

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    The Great Mosque

    by leics Written Aug 13, 2010

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    Minaret and mosque wall
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    With massive walls surrounding it, the oldest mosque in Africa is unmissable.

    The present building (although much restored and somewhat changed over the centuries) was started in 836AD, but its minaret has lower layers dating from 730AD. the prayer hall and arches are stuffed full of Roman columns and capitals, and two inscribed Roman stones form part of the minarets lower courses.

    There's a courtyard with clever drains leading to huge underground cisterns to catch rainwater.and wellheads to draw it up again, and two sundials (one for morning, one for afternoon).

    Although you can't enter the prayer hall itself, you can peep through the intricate wooden doors at the wealth of columns inside, each with its wooden block to absorb the shock of earth tremors.

    You'll need to cover bare shoulders and knees. There are jallabas on offer if you have brought nothing suitable.

    A holy and historical place to visit. Open Mon > Thurs, Sat and Sun from 8am to 2pm, and on Fridays from 8am to 12 midday. Entrance fee.

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    The old cemetery

    by Elisabcn Updated Apr 22, 2009

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    the old cemetery
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    The cemetery of Ouled Farhane (the children of Farhane?) situated just outside the walls and near the Grande Mosquée, is a real city of deads as most of the tombs have the shape of little houses (picture 2). A little untidy, not very well kept, it is a good place to take nice pictures. Unlike most of cemeteries in Tunisia, this is not a peaceful place as one of the main roads of the city passes just behind it.

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    Streets of Kairouan

    by Elisabcn Updated Apr 22, 2009

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    nice square
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    The medina of Kairouan is one of the most beautiful medinas that I have visited in Tunisia. It is an ensemble of narrow and winding streets where everything is blue and white. I have to say that this time (December 2008) the medina looked better kept than during my first visit in Kairouan, in September 2007. Maybe they have done some restoration works to prepare the city for the great event in 2009. Take your time and get lost in the medina: it has nice squares, some little mosques and hidden beautiful palaces to be discovered. The strong lights and shadows (especially in summer time) will also delight the photographers.

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    Kairouan carpets

    by Elisabcn Updated Apr 20, 2009

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    maison de tapis ou tapis de maison?

    Kairouan carpets have an excellent reputation in Tunisia. You can recognize them by its kind of point and by their typical hexagonal designs in the center. In Kairouan you will find a lot of shops selling carpets, usually inside rich villas in the center of the medina, like the one on the picture. So if you want to buy a carpet from Tunisia, go to Kairouan.

    Updates: by the way . . . this picture is already an historical picture as the house still exists (and it is easy to find) but was transformed into a “everything for 1€” shop . . . nooooooo!!! :-((

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    The souq

    by Elisabcn Updated Apr 18, 2009

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    the souk
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    In the heart of the medina, this is not a tourist souq, it is very genuine! as you will find gift stalls for tourists but also clothes stalls or fruit stalls for local people. Immerse yourself in this world of smells, colors, traditions, Arabic music and all kind of stuff. It is also an excellent place to do some people watching.

    ps. have you found on these pictures my old "maison de tapis ou tapis de maison" now converted into a banal shop? what a pity :-((((

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    Zawiyya of Abu Zaba al-Belaoui

    by Elisabcn Updated Apr 18, 2009

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    main courtyard (detail)
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    This zawiyya houses the tomb of Abu Zaba al-Belaoui, one of prophet’s companions. You can see his richly decorated mausoleum inside, built during the VII th century, where there are always some people praying for his soul. The decoration is very beautiful, especially the colourful tiles and the floral designs made on the stone. The first time that I visited this zawiyya there was a kind of celebration and lots of Berber families wearing colourful dresses had come to the zawiyya from the mountains to do the circumcision of their newborn members. This ritual was practised in the small rooms that you can see around the main courtyard (picture 2).

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    City walls

    by Elisabcn Written Apr 18, 2009

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    the walls
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    Keeping its ancient appearance, (they were destroyed many times) these walls that protect the medina date from the XX th century, when they were rebuilt after the WW2. There are some nice exceptions like Bab al-Khoukha, which is the oldest gate built in 1706.

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