The Mosque of Kairouan

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Kairouan, Tunisia

The Mosque of Kairouan Reviews

RobertPenna RobertPe…
117 reviews
Mosque of Sidi OkbaOkba Sep 09, 2010
An interesting mosque to visit in the city of Kairouan, Tunisia. It is the oldest mosque in North Africa and worth the visit. Note the columns used throughout the mosque have been taken from other sites including Carthage and Sbeitla. Some of the columns are from Roman ruins and even a few bear crosses from Christian Byzantine ruins.
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
alwateen says:
lol and people still want to burn places like that
don't forget to try handful of arabic dishes - specially in tunisia Couscous - i would still be missing my shuarma and laban - and in Ramadan - omg - don't ever mention it in front of me in day time

anyhow eid saeed - enjoy the festivities of eid

Posted on: Sep 09, 2010
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tj1777 tj1777
379 reviews
The mosque of Kairouan Dec 31, 2009
The main sight of Kairouan is the main mosque. It is considered one of the holiest sites in all of Islam second only to Mecca, Medina and the mosque in Jerusalem. Some claim that seven visit to this mosque is equal to a pilgrimage to Mecca itself. Hence people will come to the city from far away to visit the mosque. Even if you are not a Muslim it is well worth going to the mosque.

According to legend the city of Kairouan were founded in 670 because the horse of an Arab general stumbled upon a golden goblet which had disappear years before from Mecca. When he picked up the goblet water suddenly appeared by a miracle. The source of the water was thought to be the same which were supplying a holy well in Mecca. Just after the foundation of the city the first mosque were erected at the site of the present big mosque - but the original mosque was destroyed.

The current mosque dates back from the 9th century. It is designed to be suited to a desert climate with limited water supply. Hence the courtyard is designed in such a way that the water will run to the middle of the courtyard where it is collected and used for the worshippers when they must do their ritual washing before going inside to join the prayers.

In the middle of the courtyard is a solar clock which previously was used to determine the times of the prayers. Today the solar clock has been replaced by a clock using electricity. Surrounding the courtyard is a colonnade with 414 pillars. The pillars are collected from ancient sites like Carthage and Hadrumètum in present day Sousse. The columns look a bit strange because they all seem to be different. If you like to look at columns from different eras this is the perfect place to go. There are Corinthian, Dorian, Byzantium and several other kinds of columns - including a few I never seen before.

Unfortunately tourist will not have full access to the whole area - non-Muslims will not be able to go inside the mosque itself. You will have to settle on looking inside through the open doors in the mosque. You can see the main part of the inside of the mosque but it is not quite the same as walking inside the mosque. Furthermore you will need to wear appropriate dress - which translate into long trousers and probably covered shoulders for women. The dress code wasn’t really much of a problem for me visiting in late December.
The minerat of the mosque
Inside the mosque
The columns around the courtyard
The courtyard
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
alwateen says:
oh sorry - you were there for like a year back - anyhow eid saeed anyway - lolz
Posted on: Sep 09, 2010
alwateen says:
thanks for sharing these great images
eid saeed if you are still in tunisia
don't forget to grab some Couscous on your way back!
Posted on: Sep 09, 2010

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photo by: EmEm