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Great Mosque Of Kairouan

Kairouan, Tunisia

The Great Mosque of Kairouan, Tunisia


It is undoubtedly the oldest Islamic religious building erected in the Muslim West.

It was in 670, during the first campaign for the annexation of Ifriqiya to the nascent Muslim empire. After choosing, on the edge of the mountainous foothills of the north of the country, the location of the "cantonment" - al qayrawan - in which he installed his troops in the wake of a first victorious offensive, General Okba Ibn Nafaa hastened to erect there a seat for the government of the province of Ifriqiyenne and a oratory in raw bricks which, in the ninth century, after several reorganizations and with some details, will appear in the appearance that we know today to the Great Mosque.

Singular monument, that this Great Mosque of Kairouan whose perfect harmony hides to perfection a "syncretism" architectural unique in its kind.

The materials used in its construction all come from ancient sites belonging to various periods prior to the Islamic conquest, while the general appearance of the building, in particular the minaret, reflects a distant Eastern influence.

The whole forms an original set, with sober but not devoid of elegance.

In terms of interior decoration, we must speak of exuberance: a real explosion of geometric and floral motifs carved in the fine marble  decorating the facade of the mihrab, the niche that indicates the direction of Mecca, or engraved in the panels precious woods that make up the minbar, pulpit for preaching.

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