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The Mausoleum Of Abu Zamaa Al Balawi

Kairouan, Tunisia

The mausoleum of Abu Zamaâ al-Balawi

It is one of the most revered places in Kairouan, because it houses the remains of one of the Companions of the Prophet, Abu Zamaâ al-Balawi, who came to Ifriqiya in year 34 of the Hegira (654 AD) , only about twenty years after the death of the Prophet, of whom he said he had kept three hairs of his beard, a relic with which he asked to be buried after his death.
Abu Zamaâ was killed during a confrontation with the Berber natives about thirty kilometers from Kairouan, but he was buried on the site of the city before its foundation.
The mausoleum, located on the edge of the old town, contrasts with the other monuments of Kairouan by its freshness and the pleasant atmosphere. This is because, for the most part, the present work dates from the seventeenth century and its decoration betrays very clear Andalusian and Turkish influences.
The monument is presented as a set grouping three parts:
- the mausoleum proper, a room, at the end of a courtyard, surrounded by galleries and which welcomes the remains of the holy person under a catafalque surmounted by an ornate cupola;
- ancillary buildings reserved for the reception of guests;
- the minaret and the madrassah (religious school), as well as the oratory, the student's rooms and the ablution room.
These three ensembles are accessed through a large square courtyard, surrounded on three sides by galleries supported by pillars.

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