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KAIROUAN

City northeastern Tunisia. A religious centre of Islam, it was founded in 670 by the Arab general Sidi 'Uqbah and became the first Arab city in the Maghrib. It was chosen as the Maghrib capital by the Aghlabid dynasty c. 800. It served as an administrative, commercial, religious, and intellectual centre under the Fatimid and Zirid dynasties. The rise of Tunis, the new capital, led to Kairouan's decline and its devastation by Bedouin in the 11th century. It is the site of the 9th-century Great Mosque of the Qayrawan, one of the city's 150 mosques.

Columbia Encyclopedia: Al Qayrawan
(äl kīräwän') or Kairouan (kīrwän', Fr. kĕrwäN') , city (1994 pop. 102,600), NE Tunisia. It is a sacred city of Islam. Founded in 670 by Uqbah bin Nafi, an Arab leader, it was the seat of Arab governors in W Africa until 800. Under the Aghlabid dynasty (800–909), it remained the chief center of commerce and learning. It was the first capital (909–21) of the Fatimids. When the city was ruined (1057) by invaders, it was supplanted by Tunis. Of Al Qayrawan's 150 mosques, the most celebrated is the Great Mosque, started by Uqbah bin Nafi and completed in the 9th cent. The city is noted for its carpet industry.

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Additional Photos by Armando Lourenco (aofl) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 60 W: 4 N: 70] (1088)
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