Kairouan, Tunisia

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Kairouan, Tunisia

Region: Kairouan

Geographic Coordinates: 35.677200, 10.100800
Temperature Range: 10.0°C to 35.0°C (50°F to 95°F)
Climate: Dry and hot summers, mild winters with occasional rainfall.
Population: 186653
Language: Arabic

Kairouan is a city located in the central region of Tunisia, About 160 kilometers southwest of Tunis. It is considered one of the holiest cities in Islam and is often referred to as the fourth holy city after Mecca, Medina, And Jerusalem. Kairouan was founded in 670 AD by Arab conquerors and quickly became an important center for Islamic scholarship and culture. One of the most notable landmarks in Kairouan is the Great Mosque, Also known as the Mosque of Uqba. This mosque was built in 670 AD by Uqba ibn Nafi, A Muslim general who conquered North Africa.

The mosque has been expanded over time but still retains many original features such as its distinctive minaret. Visitors can explore the mosque’s beautiful courtyard with its rows of palm trees and intricate tilework. Another important religious site in Kairouan is the mausoleum of Sidi Sahab. This shrine honors Abu Zama al-Balawi, A companion of Prophet Muhammad who died during his travels to North Africa. The mausoleum features an impressive dome decorated with blue tiles and intricate calligraphy. In addition to its religious sites, Kairouan also has a rich cultural heritage that can be seen throughout its medina (old town).

The medina is surrounded by walls dating back to medieval times and contains numerous narrow streets lined with shops selling traditional crafts such as carpets, Ceramics, And leather goods. One particularly interesting aspect of Kairouan’s cultural heritage is its tradition of carpet weaving. The city has been producing high-quality carpets for centuries using techniques that have been passed down through generations. Visitors can watch weavers at work in some shops or visit one of several carpet museums to learn more about this art form.

Kairouan also has several other historical sites worth visiting such as the Aghlabid Basins which are a series of large reservoirs that were built in the 9th century to provide water for the city. The Dar Hassine Allani Museum is another must-see attraction, Featuring a collection of ceramics, Textiles, And other artifacts from Kairouan’s history. Overall, Kairouan is a fascinating destination for anyone interested in Islamic culture and history. Its rich heritage can be seen throughout the city’s religious sites, Medina, And museums making it an excellent place to explore Tunisia’s past and present.

Important Landmarks

  1. The Great Mosque of Kairouan
  2. The Aghlabid Basins
  3. The Medina of Kairouan
  4. The Sidi Sahbi Mausoleum
  5. The Bir Barouta Water Reservoir
  6. The Museum of Islamic Art and History in Kairouan
  7. The Zaouia of Sidi Amor Abbada
  8. Dar Hassine Allani Museum
  9. El Boustane Park
  10. Al-Qayrawani Mosque

Primary Industries

  1. Textile Industry: Kairouan has a thriving textile industry that produces high-quality carpets, blankets, and other woven goods.
  2. Agriculture: The fertile land surrounding Kairouan is ideal for growing crops such as olive oil, dates, citrus fruits, and cereals.
  3. Handicrafts: The city has a rich tradition of handicrafts including pottery, leatherwork, embroidery, and woodworking.
  4. Tourism: The Great Mosque of Kairouan attracts many tourists each year making tourism an important sector for the city’s economy.
  5. Services Sector: Kairouan also has a growing services sector that includes banking services, transportation services like taxis and buses as well as restaurants and cafes catering to tourists.

Noteable History

  1. The establishment of Kairouan: Kairouan was founded in 670 AD by Arab general Uqba ibn Nafi.
  2. The Great Mosque of Kairouan: This mosque is one of the oldest and most significant Islamic structures in North Africa, tracing back to the 7th century.
  3. Ibn Khaldun: A well-known historian, philosopher, and politician who was born in Tunis but spent much of his life in Kairouan.
  4. Battle of Heliopolis: In 1016 AD, forces from Kairouan defeated an invading army from Egypt at the Battle of Heliopolis.
  5. Al-Qayrawani: A famous scholar who lived in Kairouan during the 9th century and wrote many influential works on Islamic law.
  6. Fatimid Caliphate: In the 10th century, Kairouan became an important center for the Fatimid Caliphate which governed over much of North Africa and parts of Egypt.
  7. Ziadet el-Mekki Mosque: This mosque was built in the 9th century and is considered one of Tunisia’s most stunning examples of Islamic architecture.
  8. Aghlabid dynasty: The Aghlabid dynasty ruled over Ifriqiya (modern-day Tunisia) from their capital city at Kairouan throughout much of the 9th century.
  9. Sidi Sahab Mausoleum: This mausoleum contains Abu Zama al-Balawi’s tomb (also known as Sidi Sahab), a companion to Prophet Muhammad who died while on a mission to spread Islam to North Africa.
  10. UNESCO World Heritage Site designation: In 1988, the Great Mosque of Kairouan was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its cultural and historical significance.

Museums and Things To See

  1. The Great Mosque of Kairouan is one of the oldest and most significant mosques in North Africa.
  2. The Medina of Kairouan is a UNESCO World Heritage site that features narrow streets, traditional architecture, and bustling markets.
  3. The Museum of Islamic Art displays a collection of Islamic art from across the centuries.
  4. The Dar Hassine Allani Museum is a beautifully restored 18th-century mansion showcasing traditional Tunisian life and culture.
  5. The Sidi Sahbi Mausoleum is a pilgrimage site for Muslims that contains the tomb of a companion of Prophet Muhammad.
  6. Bir Barouta Park is a peaceful oasis with gardens, fountains, and a small zoo.
  7. The Aghlabid Basins are ancient water reservoirs that once supplied the city with water during times of drought or siege.
  8. Mosque Okba Ibn Nafaa is another mosque in Kairouan considered one among Tunisia’s famous landmarks due to its design and history behind it.
  9. Bardo National Museum located in Tunis but worth visiting as it houses some fascinating exhibits including Roman mosaics.
  10. Carpet Weaving Workshops Visitors can see how carpets are woven by hand using traditional methods at these workshops located throughout the medina area.

Cultural Events

  1. Mawlid al-Nabi is a celebration of the birth of Prophet Muhammad, observed by Muslims worldwide, including Kairouan.
  2. The Sidi Sahbi Festival honors the famous Muslim saint Sidi Sahbi, who lived in Kairouan during the 8th century.
  3. The International Festival of Arab Music celebrates Arab music and attracts musicians from around the globe.
  4. The Kairouan Carpet Festival showcases traditional Tunisian carpets and textiles that are vital to Kairouan’s cultural heritage.
  5. The Olive Tree Festival celebrates Tunisia’s high-quality olive oil with music, food, and other cultural activities.
  6. During Ramadan, a night market is set up in Kairouan where people can purchase traditional foods and crafts.
  7. On March 20th each year, Tunisia celebrates its independence from France with parades and festivities throughout the country including Kairouan.


  • Couscous: A traditional North African dish made of semolina grains and served with vegetables, meat or fish.
  • Brik: A crispy pastry filled with egg, tuna or meat and spices.
  • Merguez: Spicy lamb sausage that is grilled and served as a street food.

Some popular restaurants in Kairouan, Tunisia are:

  • Restaurant El Firdaous: A traditional Tunisian restaurant serving couscous and other local dishes.
  • Restaurant Dar Hassine Allani: A historic restaurant that serves Tunisian cuisine in a beautiful setting.
  • Cafe des Delices: A popular cafe located in the heart of the medina that serves coffee, tea and snacks like brik and merguez.

  • Parks and Recreation

    1. The Medina of Kairouan – a UNESCO World Heritage Site
    2. The Great Mosque of Kairouan – one of the most significant Islamic monuments in North Africa
    3. Aghlabid Basins – an ancient water reservoir system built in the 9th century
    4. Sidi Sahbi Mausoleum – one of the holiest sites in Tunisia
    5. Dar Hassine Allani Museum – showcasing traditional Tunisian arts and crafts
    6. Al-Qayrawan Archaeological Museum – showcasing traditional Tunisian arts and crafts
    7. Boukornine National Park – offers hiking trails with scenic views
    8. Golf de la Soukra – an 18-hole golf course located on the outskirts of Kairouan
    9. Camel riding tours through desert dunes around Kairoun
    10. Horseback riding tours through olive groves and countryside outside Kairoaun


    Enjoy The Journey.

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