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Kairouan Travel Blog

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The courtyard and the mineret

In a small city in the midst of Tunisia is one of the holiest places in Islam. Kairouan is considered the forth holiest place in the world for Muslims - just after Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem. The city was founded because a horse of an Arab general stumbled on a golden goblet buried in the sand. The goblet had disappeared from Mecca a couple of years earlier - when the goblet were picked up a spring appeared at the spot and the city were founded in 670. Shortly afterwards the first mosque were established in Kairouan.

 

The original were destroyed but a new and bigger mosque was created in the ninth century. According to some the 7 pilgrimages’ to this mosque will equal one to Mecca - some claim this is nonsense and no pilgrimage to here or anywhere else can replace the pilgrimage to Mecca. Just in case I have now put one down.

 

The mosque is really impressive.

Roof in one of the rooms of the maosuleum.
The courtyard is surrounded by hundreds of columns on three sides - though the columns show sign of being reused because there are all sort of different styles of columns heads. One column with one head is located next to a column with a complete different style of column head. I would have liked to go in and have a closer look of the mosque itself but apparently none Muslims are not allowed into the interior of the mosque - hence I can only get to glance into the inside of the huge hall.

 

After the big mosque I head to one of the other famous sights of the city - The mausoleum of Abu Zama el-Belaoui who was a companion of the prophet Mohamed. He used to carry three hairs of the prophet and hence he was known as the barber. When you see the riches of this place you can’t help but wonder if you should have chosen a different profession as a barber instead of what you are currently doing. Maybe the wealth of Abu Zama is part of the reason why so many people seem to work as barbers around Tunisia.

 

The oldest parts of the mausoleum are from the 7th century but most of it is a thousand year younger. Today it is a huge complex with many big rooms with beautiful decorations on the walls and the roof. The walls are all covered by tiles which are put up in different patterns - the roof is detailed made up of by plaster.

 

The centre pieces of the mausoleum are naturally the tomb but this is holy ground and there is no way they will let an infidel like me into this area - so I will have to glance inside with the other infidels’.

sylviandavid says:
nice write up.... even if you are an infidel.... LOL... I enjoyed the history you researched and wrote.... Great photos too.... sylvia
Posted on: Jan 23, 2010
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The courtyard and the mineret
The courtyard and the mineret
The cisterns of Kairouan
The cisterns of Kairouan
Roof in one of the rooms of the ma…
Roof in one of the rooms of the m…
The cisterns of Kairouan
The cisterns of Kairouan
The cisterns of Kairouan
The cisterns of Kairouan
The mosque from the outside
The mosque from the outside
The mosque from the outside
The mosque from the outside
The side of the courtyard
The side of the courtyard
The side of the courtyard
The side of the courtyard
Door to the mosque
Door to the mosque
The courtyard and the mineret
The courtyard and the mineret
Inside the mosque
Inside the mosque
The main isle
The main isle
The lights of the mosque
The lights of the mosque
Leading the prayer from here
Leading the prayer from here
The lights of the mosque
The lights of the mosque
Top of columns
Top of columns
Lights of the mosque
Lights of the mosque
Lights of the mosque
Lights of the mosque
Rows of columns surrounding the co…
Rows of columns surrounding the c…
More columns in the courtyard
More columns in the courtyard
The courtyard
The courtyard
The courtyard
The courtyard
Inside the great mosque
Inside the great mosque
The minaret of the great mosque
The minaret of the great mosque
The inner courtyard of the great m…
The inner courtyard of the great …
The inner courtyard of the great m…
The inner courtyard of the great …
The courtyard
The courtyard
Lots of columns all over
Lots of columns all over
Lots of columns all over
Lots of columns all over
Lots of columns all over
Lots of columns all over
Decoration above the door
Decoration above the door
Decoration above the door
Decoration above the door
Bird pulling straws inside the gre…
Bird pulling straws inside the gr…
Random and different column heads
Random and different column heads
Random and different column heads
Random and different column heads
Random and different column heads
Random and different column heads
Random and different column heads
Random and different column heads
Random and different column heads
Random and different column heads
Random and different column heads
Random and different column heads
Random and different column heads
Random and different column heads
Top of the mineret
Top of the mineret
The mineret
The mineret
Solar clock in the courtyard
Solar clock in the courtyard
The sides of the courtyard
The sides of the courtyard
The sides of the courtyard
The sides of the courtyard
The sides of the courtyard
The sides of the courtyard
Double columns
Double columns
Double columns
Double columns
Collecting water for the purificat…
Collecting water for the purifica…
The courtyard
The courtyard
Kairouan Sights & Attractions review
The mosque of Kairouan
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 i… read entire review
Kairouan Hotels & Accommodations review
Amina Hotel
The hotel is pretty cheap considering the quality of the hotel in general. But the location is a bit of a problem because it is far from the center of… read entire review
Kairouan
photo by: maycek