Located in the center of the country, 150 km away from the capital Tunis, Kairouan is the fourth holiest city in Islam, a city that has a rich historic heritage and religious buildings that marked Tunisia’s architectural history. Upon completion of their first conquests, the Arabs settled in Kairouan, making it the first political capital of Muslim Ifriqiya since the 1st century Hegira / 7th century A.D. The construction of the city started with the first conquerors and continued with the Aghlabids, the Fatimids, the Zirids, the Hafsids and the Ottomans. Every dynasty left its print in the city, making it bigger and adding new buildings. Kairouan is rich with its religious monuments (Mosque, Zaouia and Medressa). The Great Mosque of Kairouan is considered the most important one, known as the Okba Ibn Nafii Al Fehri Mosque, an architectural work that reflects the know-how of that era’s local and Arab craftsmen. The mosque was built in several steps under the Aghlabids. Sidi Abid El Ghariani’s zaouia, bir (water well) Barrouta, the souks, the Mosque of the Three Gates (Ibn Khayroun Al Maafiri Al Andaloussi Mosque), Aghlabids’ basins, Abou Zamaa El-Balaoui’s mausoleum and the old city walls are recommended for every Islamic north African architecture enthusiast. Every monument reflects the Arab-Muslim craftsmen’s finesse and refinement. During your stay, you will of course be discovering the first architectural work of the Arab-Muslim Ifriqiya, but you will also get the chance to find out about one of the most important product of the Tunisian crafts: the Kairouani carpet. Your taste buds will enjoy the delicious makroudh, a specialty made of semolina stuffed with date pastry. A real delight!
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