Kairouan (Arabic: القيروان) and sometimes spelled Kairwan, Kayrawan or Al Qayrawan is a city in Tunisia. It's a holy city in Islam, ranking fourth after Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem as a place of pilgrimage. Reputedly seven visits here are the equivalent of one to Mecca. With it's large mosques and rich cultural history it has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Get in

Minaret of the Great Mosque

The stations for both busses and Louages are to the North West of the Medina. Though they may well drop you off at a Medina Gate if requested.

Get around

The Medina is best explored on foot, partially to absorb the atmosphere and partially because some areas are inaccessible to anything bigger. Many of the shops near the main mosque will tempt you in with views over the complex, expect to have a look around the shop on the way out, if you don't buy anything a small donation would be polite.


Ancient Roman columns in the Great Mosque of Kairouan

The old Medina with it's narrow passageways and streets is in general a nice place to just wander around aimlessly. If it looks familiar it may well be as it was used in Raiders of the Lost Ark to double as Cairo. For those interested in Islamic teachings there are several madrasas, or Islamic schools, in the centre of town that are open for visitors.



Kairouan is particularly famous for its carpets and visiting a shop is an integral and sometimes unexpected part of experiencing the city. Carpets are graded by their fineness, the number of knots in a square metre, with a normal weave from 10,000 to 40,000, fine weave from 65,000-90,000 and extra fine from 160,000 - 500,000. Silk carpets may be over 500,000 knots per square metre.



There are a few nice Tea Houses on the road from the Main Gate into the centre of the city




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