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Decorative arched yard, Kairouan

Zaouia Sidi Sahab (Barber's Mosque)

The Zaouia of Sidi Sahab also known as the Barber's Mosque, a complex including a mausoleum and a medersa which was built between 1629 and 1692 over the tomb of one of Mohammed's companions who died in AD 685. According to legend Sidi Sahab, out of reverence for the Prophet, always carried a few hairs from his beard: hence the name of the Barber's Mosque.
The zaouia is notable for its magnificent decoration, much of which dates only from the 19th century. It is entered through a forecourt, on the left of which are the imam's lodgings, guest- rooms and ablution fountains. Opposite the entrance is the minaret. The forecourt also gives access to the medersa, laid out round a small courtyard, the prayer hall beyond it and (by way of a passage adjoining the minaret) another colonnaded courtyard, off which opens the tomb of Sidi Sahab.

Kairouan

The spiritual home of all Tunisians, the city itself rises like a dream of ocher and tawny beige, serene in its 13 centuries of Islamic culture, authentic and proud of the wondrous beauty of its mosques, the symphony of its columns and arches, the exquisite delicacy of the stone work.
Kairouan, it was founded by the Arabs in around 670 in the period of Amir Muavia and the original name was derived from Arabic kairuwân, meaning "military/civilian camp" (from Kâr, "war/military," and van/wan, "outpost"), "caravan", or "resting place.
After its establishment in the 7th century, it became an important center for Islamic and Quranic learning, and thus attracted a large number of Muslims from various parts of the world, next only to Mecca and Medina. The holy Mosque of Uqba is situated in the city. In 2003 the city had about 150,000 inhabitants. In 2009 Kairouan was the Islamic Cultural Capital.
The most important mosque in the city is the Great Mosque of Sidi-Uqba. Seven pilgrimages to this mosque is considered the equivalent of one pilgrimage to Mecca. After its establishment, Kairouan became an Islamic and Qur'anic learning center in North Africa. An article by Professor Kwesi Prah describes how during the medieval period, Kairouan was considered the third holiest city in Islam after Mecca and Medina.
The souk (market place) of Kairouan is in the Medina quarter, which is surrounded by walls, from which the entrance gates can be seen in the distance. Products that are sold in the souk include carpets, vases and goods made of leather. As with merchants in most major Tunisian cities, Kairouan merchants rely on tourism for much of their income.
During World War II a major military airfield was located near Kairouan, used first by the German Luftwaffe. It was attacked on numerous occasions and later used by the United States Army Air Force Twelfth Air Force as a transport field. (Source:Wikipedia& tourismtunisia & virtualtourist)

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Additional Photos by George Rumpler (Budapestman) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 8900 W: 3 N: 20435] (82620)
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