"Kairouan, the Holy City" Top 5 Page for this destination Kairouan by Elisabcn

Kairouan Travel Guide: 140 reviews and 493 photos

Welcome to Africa!

Some people in Tunis get offended if you say that Tunisia is Africa. . .
Oh, no! They say . . . this is "the Méditeranée". But when you visit places like Kairouan and you find yourself in the middle of crowded souks, that mix up of smells, colors, local people in traditional dresses, Arabic music, animals then there is no doubt. . . this is also Africa.

I visited Kairouan for the second time in December 2008. It was a warm Sunday (about 23 degrees) and that day the city was particularly busy because it was the day before la Fête du Mouton, during the second Aid. So apart from some interesting spots to visit and all the city's religious and cultural heritage we found ourselves in the middle of that people's joy, preparations, last shopping, greetings and of course. . . lots of lambs!

That day Kairouan warmed my heart

Some words about Kairouan. . .

Kairouan is the holiest city of Tunisia and one of the fourth holy cities of the Islam, being the oldest Islamic settlement, having the oldest mosque in North Africa and the world's oldest minaret.
Founded by Arabs by the year 670, the most important period for this city was around 800, when it became the capital of the Aghlabid dynasty. This would last a little bit more than a century, before the Fatimids made Mahdia their capital.
French people did not touch Kairouan a lot during the Protectorate as they respected its religious importance (and people's feelings) and for a long time Kairouan stayed inside the city walls and no Ville Nouvelle was constructed.

Kairouan is maybe the best place to know about Islam in Tunisia. Apart from the Great Mosque there are other interesting religious buildings like the Three Doors Mosque or some saints' zawyias. In 2009 Kairouan will be the Capital of the Islamic Culture with lots of cultural events.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:its cultural and religious heritage
  • Cons:i don't see important cons
  • In a nutshell:this is also Africa!
  • Last visit to Kairouan: Dec 2008
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (15)

Comments (6)

  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo
    Jan 31, 2015 at 10:45 AM

    Nice page

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Jan 16, 2010 at 11:53 AM

    Interesting tips on the cultural and religious heritage of Kairouan.

  • JLBG's Profile Photo
    May 31, 2009 at 1:15 PM

    Excellent page, well documented, on this superb city that has not been too much spoilt by tourism. I love your photos of children and lambs for the Aid.

  • Elisabcn's Profile Photo
    Apr 23, 2009 at 6:55 AM

    I would find other adjectives to describe Tunisia but "exotic" is not among them :-))) Oops! Again I am cherrira . . .

  • Jefie's Profile Photo
    Apr 23, 2009 at 6:02 AM

    Tunisia looks so beautiful and exotic :o) Thanks for sharing those tips (and how's your eyesight after counting all these columns?!)

  • Redang's Profile Photo
    Jan 25, 2009 at 6:38 AM

    Awesome mosque!


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