Grande Mosquée de Sidi Oqba ( The Great Mosque)

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Kairouan, Tunisia

Grande Mosquée de Sidi Oqba ( The Great Mosque) Kairouan Reviews

EmEm EmEm
159 reviews
The Most Important Tunisian Mosque Jul 04, 2016
Grande Mosquée de Sidi Oqba( The Great Mosque) in Kairouan is the star attraction in Tunisia. The existing building was constructed by the Aghlabides in 863. This 9th-century mosque, with its buttressed walls, has a typically unadorned Aghlabid design.

This is undoubtedly the most ancient Islamic religious building in the Muslim West. It was built in 670 during the first campaign to annex Ifriqiya to the emerging Muslim empire. General Okba Ibn Nafaa chose the location of the military camp, al qayrawan, on the edge of the northern foothills, where he established his troupes after the first victorious offensive. He proceeded to build a seat for the government of the province of Ifriqiya and an oratory of mud-bricks. In the 9th century, after being remodelled several times, it took on more or less the aspect the Great Mosque has retained to this day. The building materials used for its construction all came from ancient sites dating to different periods predating the Islamic conquest. The general aspect of the building, in particular the minaret, reflects distant oriental influences.

Impressions change once you step into the huge marble-paved courtyard, surrounded by an arched colonnade. Geometric and floral motifs, carved in fine marble, decorate the mihrab façade, or carved on the precious wooden panels compose the minbar, the preacher’s pulpit.

Non-Muslims cannot cross into the richly decorated prayer hall with its 400 marble pillars. The doors are left open to allow a glimpse. The visitors may be allowed to take a look through one of the 17 world’s oldest pulpits decorated with 250 carved wood panels. Entry may also be permitted to the 128-step staircase to the top of the square minaret for a superb panorama of the city.

Kairouan is the fourth most important city in the islamic world after Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem. Seven visits to this place is equal one visit to Mecca.
5 / 5 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
vicIII says:
Your story is a discovery for me...Thanks for your presentation...
Posted on: Feb 22, 2017
EmEm says:
Non-muslims can visit all mosques in the world, like the famous Blue Mosque in Istanbul, but not those in the Holy Cities.
Posted on: Oct 17, 2016
Cho says:
I've seen many mosques in different countries but never been inside because as you say, non-Muslims are not allowed access. Thanks for sharing the photos.
Posted on: Oct 16, 2016
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photo by: EmEm