Attractions

Top Choice Medina in Kairouan

Medina

Kairouan’s medina feels like it ebbs and flows to a different rhythm to modern Tunisia. Long protected by its monumental walls and babs (gates), most of it is given over to quiet residential streets that have change…
Mosque in Kairouan

Great Mosque

Also known as Sidi Okba Mosque, after the founder of Kairouan who built the first mosque on this site in AD 670, this is North Africa’s holiest Islamic site. The original mosque was completely destroyed, and most of…
Tomb in Kairouan

Zaouia of Sidi Abid Al Ghariani

Dating from the 14th century, this two-storey complex features horseshoe arches painted in black and white, marble columns with carved capitals, a painted Moorish-style ceiling and plenty of fine woodcarving, tiles …
Bazaar in Kairouan

Makhroud Bazaar

Just off the medina's major pedestrian thoroughfare, this bazaar next to Restaurant Marhaba is dedicated to Kairouan's much-loved makhroud (date-filled semolina pastries soaked in honey). Expert pastry chefs produce…
Tomb in Kairouan

Zaouia of Sidi Sahab

This lavishly tiled 17th-century complex northwest of the medina comprises a mosque, madrassa (school for study of the Quran) and mausoleum. The last is the burial place of Abu Zama El Belaoui, one of the Prophet's …
Mosque in Kairouan

Mosque of the Three Doors

Founded in AD 866 by Mohammed Bin Kairoun El Maafri, a holy man from the Spanish city of Cordoba, this mosque has an elaborate facade exhibiting strong Andalusian influences. The mosque’s three arched doorways are t…
Tomb in Kairouan

Zaouia of Sidi Amor Abbada

Identifiable by its seven white cupolas, this zaouia (complex surrounding the tomb of a saint) was built in 1860 to commemorate Sidi Amor Abbada, a local blacksmith with a gift for prophecy. He specialised in the pr…
Museum in Kairouan

ONAT Museum

This museum in the Office National de L'Artisanat headquarters houses a collection of rugs. This is the organisation that accredits all carpets sold in Kairouan, so if you plan to buy one, it's useful to view the va…
Architecture in Kairouan

Aghlabid Basins

These cisterns, built by the Aghlabids in the 9th century, are more impressive because of their engineering sophistication than as sights in themselves. Water was delivered by aqueduct from the hills 36km west of Ka…
Historic Site in Kairouan

Bir Barouta

Here a blinkered camel walks in a circle, drawing water from a 17th-century holy well that legend says is connected to the Zamzam spring in Mecca. It's stagey, and keeping an animal in such close and dark quarters w…