Kairouan is one of the most beautiful city in Morocco . This is also the first Muslim holy city of the Maghreb and the fourth in the world after Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem.
The Great Mosque of Kairouan, north-east of Medina, is one of the most important monuments of North Africa, who built the first on the African continent in 671 by the Arab general Oqba Ibn Nafaa.
In memory of its founder the Great Mosque of Kairouan is sometimes called
Mosque or Mosque of Sidi Okba Oqba Ibn Nafaa. But shortly after its construction the building was destroyed in 690 by the Berbers and rebuilt a second time in 703 by Hassan Ibn Numan.
Kairouan is translated into Arabic as “qarwane”, a term that is the origin of the word “caravan”. Kairouan was thus from its inception a very important relay in the Maghreb and the town grew rapidly. Work was therefore undertaken to enlarge the city and the mosque was destroyed to be rebuilt a third time in 772.
Great Mosque of Kairouan resembles a fortress with exterior walls of nearly 2 meters thick. Unlike most other mosques dimensions are not regular. It forms an irregular quadrilateral with two longer sides of 138 and 128 meters, while the shorter sides measure 77 and 71 meters.
the courtyard of the Grand Mosque is accessible by six lateral porticos. This courtyard paved with 60 x 40 meters is surrounded by magnificent galleries supported by columns made with different materials such as marble, granite and porphyry.
Access to the Hall of Prayer “Beit es Salat” by one of the nine gates on the south side of the court. The hall has more than 400 marble columns which were reported in several ancient sites like Carthage. The mihrab (niche indicating the qibla, the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca), is wearing a beautiful dome.
the minaret is a tower with a square base measuring 10.5 m square and consists of three levels decreasing, the latter being domed. The minaret of 31.5 m in height in the middle of the north face of the building. The stairs leading to the top of the minaret were built with headstones from cemeteries of ancient Roman cities. It is estimated that this is the oldest minaret in the world.