We bought a global ticket at the Grand Mosque which covered entry to the mosque, a number of medersas, marabouts and Bir Babouta, a bizzare sight in the middle of the medina.
Bir Barouta is supposedly the spot where the chalice associated with the foundation of Kairouan was found. As the story goes the chalice fell to the ground and water sprung forth from that spot and the guy on the horse decided to found a town which became Kairouan.
Nowadays at Bir Babouta you can drink water from that very same source (hmmm). Though Lonely Planet reported that it gave one of their authors a stomach upset. You climb a staircase in a building that looks like a marabout from the outside.
Why we had to give the guy running the place a Dinar I don't know. He didn't explain much to us and all he did really was make a camel walk around in a circle to fill the cups. Quite why the camel has to be there I don't know either. The poor animal looked so forlorn and dejected and it seemed rather cruel to keep him there just so tourists can see this site. The camels we saw in the wild looked much more content.
Don't go to the sacred well with the camel
In Kairouan they use a camel to walk around and pump water out of the sacred well, this is so sad! Don't go there, don't give money, the camel walks in a small place, unbelievable how he got there, we only took the picture to show how sad it is!
The scene: at the Medina a stranger coming to you and offering to show you an old mosque or house. The old mosque and house exist, are just around the corner, are beautful inside but... well it now houses a carpet shop. Once you go in they'll try everything to make you buy one - sometimes going as far as standing the entrance trying not to let you leave.
Unique Suggestions: If you decide to buy a carpet at least make sure it's not a fake. A friend of mine showed interest in one and the said carpet was descirbed as hand-made and priced accordingly. Of course it wan't. A simple trick is to turn around the carpet: if the designs at the back match the designs at the front than it's hand-made, otherwise just forget about it.
The camel in the Medina
There is also something really bad that runs in this little city is in the Medina.
Here they have a blind camel that is like an entarteinment for turist. It works like this.
Every one in Kairuoan will offer you to bring you to visit this “particular” camel.
This poor animal is almoust complete blind, leaded with a lot of neckets and so on, and as far as some tourist is getting in this building, the man is making some sounds and the camel walk, with the energy of his movements, the owner is able to pick up water for the bottom!!! And that is the show offered! Then, you gotta pay!!!!
Pls. do not visit it!!!!!!
At first is so bad for the animal, then is also a trap!
Bargain while shopping!
As I menthioned on my shopping tip, to shop in the Medina, could be consider a tourist trap, as some stuff they are offering are very low in quality, and moreover, the prices they are asking for, are somehitng crazy!
So, if you wanna take home some stuff remember to bargain and check the quality first!
As in most of the Arab countries a visit to a carpet store is expected, some tea and a show of carpets is offered, at the beginning everybody is so friendly, later all change (specially when there is no sale), they even get rude. At least you will see beautiful carpets (an also lost a lot of time if you´re not interested in buying).
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