Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Kairouan


By Abigail Lewis

Welcome to Kairouan, a city steeped in rich history and cultural heritage. Located in central Tunisia, Kairouan is known as the Islamic Cultural Capital of the country. The city is renowned for its impressive architectural wonders and religious significance, attracting visitors from around the world.

One of the must-visit attractions in Kairouan is the Great Mosque, also known as the Mosque of Uqba. This magnificent mosque, dating back to the 7th century, is one of the oldest and most important Islamic buildings in the world. Its impressive courtyard and minaret are iconic symbols of Kairouan.

Another notable attraction in Kairouan is the Medina, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Stroll through the narrow, winding streets of the Medina and immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere. Admire the traditional architecture, visit the various mosques and madrasas, and explore the bustling markets filled with vibrant colors and scents.

For history enthusiasts, a visit to the Aghlabid Basins is a must. These ancient water reservoirs were built in the 9th century to provide water for the city. Today, they stand as a testament to the advanced engineering skills of the Aghlabid dynasty and offer a peaceful retreat from the bustling city.

No visit to Kairouan is complete without experiencing the art of carpet weaving. The city is famous for its intricate handmade carpets, and visitors have the opportunity to witness the skill and craftsmanship of local weavers. Explore the carpet shops, watch the weaving process, and even purchase a beautiful handmade carpet as a souvenir.

From its historical landmarks to its vibrant culture, Kairouan offers a unique and immersive experience for travelers. Whether you’re interested in architecture, history, or local traditions, this city has something to offer for everyone. So, come and discover the top-rated tourist attractions in Kairouan and embark on a journey through time and culture.

The Great Mosque of Kairouan

The Great Mosque of Kairouan, also known as the Mosque of Uqba, is one of the most important and well-preserved Islamic monuments in North Africa. It is located in the historic city of Kairouan, Tunisia, and is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The mosque was built in 670 AD by Uqba ibn Nafi, the Arab general who founded the city of Kairouan. It has undergone several renovations and expansions throughout the centuries but has managed to retain its original architectural and cultural significance.

The Great Mosque of Kairouan features a large courtyard surrounded by a colonnaded arcade, with intricate geometric designs and ornate arches. The minaret, standing at 31 meters tall, is one of the oldest surviving minarets in the Islamic world and offers panoramic views of the city.

Inside the mosque, visitors can admire the beautiful prayer hall, which is adorned with intricately carved wooden ceilings, colorful tilework, and ornamental calligraphy. The mihrab, a semicircular niche indicating the direction of Mecca, is also a notable feature of the mosque.

The Great Mosque of Kairouan is not only a place of worship but also a center for Islamic education and culture. It has served as a hub for Islamic scholars and has played a significant role in the development of Islamic art and architecture.

Visiting the Great Mosque of Kairouan is an opportunity to explore the rich cultural heritage of Tunisia and learn about the important role Islam has played in shaping the history of the region. The mosque’s architectural beauty and historical significance make it a must-visit attraction for travelers interested in Islamic art and culture.

Aghlabid Basin

The Aghlabid Basin in Kairouan, Tunisia, is one of the city’s most important historic monuments. It was built in the 9th century by the Aghlabid dynasty, who ruled the region at the time. The basin was designed to serve as a reservoir for storing water for the city’s residents and for irrigation purposes.

The Aghlabid Basin is a large rectangular structure with a central pool surrounded by a colonnade of arches. The pool is lined with beautiful mosaics that depict scenes from everyday life, as well as intricate geometric patterns. The colonnade provides shade and creates a tranquil atmosphere, making it a popular spot for locals and tourists alike to relax and enjoy the surroundings.

Visitors to the Aghlabid Basin can explore the intricate details of the mosaics and admire the architecture of the surrounding colonnade. The site offers a glimpse into the rich history and cultural heritage of Kairouan and is an important testament to the skills and craftsmanship of the Aghlabid dynasty.

In addition to its historical significance, the Aghlabid Basin also offers stunning views of the surrounding area. Visitors can climb to the top of the colonnade and take in panoramic vistas of the city and the nearby Great Mosque of Kairouan, which is another must-see attraction in the area.

Overall, the Aghlabid Basin is a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts and anyone interested in experiencing the cultural heritage of Kairouan. Its stunning architecture, beautiful mosaics, and picturesque surroundings make it one of the top-rated tourist attractions in the city.

Sidi Sahbi Mausoleum

The Sidi Sahbi Mausoleum, also known as the Mosque of the Barber, is one of the most important and revered religious sites in Kairouan, Tunisia. It is dedicated to Sidi Sahbi, a companion of the Prophet Muhammad, who is believed to have brought a hair from the Prophet’s beard to Kairouan.

Located just outside the walls of the Great Mosque of Kairouan, the Sidi Sahbi Mausoleum is a beautiful structure with a inrior adorned with intricate tilework and calligraphy. The mausoleum also features a peaceful courtyard filled with palm trees and flowers, creating a serene atmosphere for visitors.

Inside the mausoleum, visitors can find the tomb of Sidi Sahbi, which is covered in a green cloth and is considered highly sacred. Many pilgrims and locals come to pay their respects and seek blessings at the tomb.

As visitors explore the mausoleum, they can also see the Barber Chair, which is believed to have belonged to Sidi Sahbi. Legend has it that placing a hand on the chair can cure headaches and migraines.

Aside from its religious significance, the Sidi Sahbi Mausoleum is also known for its stunning architecture and peaceful ambiance. Visitors can take a moment to relax in the courtyard or explore the intricately designed interior, which showcases the rich artistic heritage of the region.

Overall, the Sidi Sahbi Mausoleum is a must-visit attraction for those interested in the religious and cultural history of Kairouan. Its sacred tomb and beautiful surroundings make it a place of reverence and tranquility.

Medina of Kairouan

The Medina of Kairouan, also known as the Old City, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the most important cultural and historical attractions in Kairouan, Tunisia. This ancient walled town dates back to the 7th century and is considered one of the holiest sites in Islam outside of Mecca and Medina.

The Medina is characterized by its labyrinthine streets, stunning architecture, and rich history. The main entrance to the Medina is through the imposing Bab Chouhada gate, which leads visitors into a world of narrow alleys, bustling markets, and beautiful mosques.

One of the most significant landmarks in the Medina is the Great Mosque of Kairouan, also known as the Mosque of Uqba. This mosque, founded in 670 AD, is one of the oldest and most important Islamic buildings in the world. Its impressive minaret towers over the Medina, offering panoramic views of the city and surrounding areas.

Other notable sites within the Medina include the Mosque of the Three Gates, the Zaouia of Sidi Sahab, and the Aghlabid Basins. The Medina is also home to numerous traditional craft workshops, where visitors can observe artisans practicing traditional techniques and purchase unique handmade items.

Exploring the Medina of Kairouan is like stepping back in time and experiencing centuries of history and culture. Whether you’re interested in Islamic architecture, history, or simply want to immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of a traditional Arab market, the Medina of Kairouan is a must-visit destination.

Bab Chouhada

Bab Chouhada, also known as the Martyrs’ Gate, is one of the main gateways to the old medina of Kairouan. This historic gate is located on the southern side of the medina and is a significant landmark in the city.

Built during the Aghlabid period in the 9th century, Bab Chouhada has a distinctive architectural style that reflects the rich history of Kairouan. The gate is characterized by its massive walls, horseshoe-shaped arch, and decorative stucco work.

As you enter through Bab Chouhada, you will be greeted by a bustling street filled with shops, cafes, and traditional artisans. Here, you can explore the vibrant atmosphere of the medina, where locals and tourists alike gather to shop for handicrafts, textiles, and spices.

At the heart of the medina, you will find the Great Mosque of Kairouan, one of the oldest and most important Islamic sites in North Africa. This magnificent mosque is a must-visit attraction and is easily accessible from Bab Chouhada.

Visiting Bab Chouhada is like stepping back in time and experiencing the rich history and culture of Kairouan. Whether you’re interested in architecture, shopping, or simply soaking up the atmosphere, this historic gate is a must-see when exploring the city.

Location Southern side of the medina
Architectural Style Aghlabid
Year Built 9th century
Attractions Nearby Great Mosque of Kairouan

The Potters’ Quarter

Located in the heart of Kairouan, The Potters’ Quarter is a must-visit destination for those interested in traditional pottery. This historic neighborhood is famous for its centuries-old tradition of pottery making, and it offers visitors an immersive experience into the art and craft of ceramics.

When exploring The Potters’ Quarter, visitors can wander through winding streets lined with workshops and studios, where they can observe artisans at work. The sounds of clinking tools and the smell of wet clay fill the air, creating a vibrant and sensory experience.

The Potters’ Quarter is known for its wide range of pottery styles and techniques. From intricate hand-painted designs to simple yet elegant forms, there is something to suit every taste. Visitors can browse through the numerous shops and galleries, where they can find unique and beautifully crafted pieces to take home as souvenirs.

For those looking to learn more about the craft, The Potters’ Quarter also offers workshops and classes. Visitors can try their hand at shaping clay and create their own unique pottery under the guidance of skilled artisans.

Aside from pottery, The Potters’ Quarter also boasts charming cafes and restaurants where visitors can relax and enjoy a delicious meal or a cup of traditional mint tea. It’s a perfect place to take a break and absorb the vibrant atmosphere of this historic neighborhood.

Overall, The Potters’ Quarter is a rich and immersive destination that showcases the rich pottery tradition of Kairouan. Whether you’re a pottery enthusiast or simply want to explore the cultural heritage of the city, a visit to The Potters’ Quarter is a must when in Kairouan.

The Tourist Office of Kairouan

The Tourist Office of Kairouan is an essential resource for visitors to the city. Located in the heart of the medina, the office provides a wealth of information about Kairouan’s top attractions, as well as helpful tips for exploring the city.

Staffed with knowledgeable and friendly professionals, the office offers maps, brochures, and other materials to help tourists navigate the city and plan their itineraries. Whether you are interested in historical sites, cultural experiences, or local cuisine, the Tourist Office can point you in the right direction.

One of the highlights of the Tourist Office is the guided tours they offer. Led by expert guides, these tours allow visitors to delve deeper into the history and culture of Kairouan. From the Great Mosque to the Medina’s winding streets, these tours offer an immersive experience that is not to be missed.

The Tourist Office also arranges visits to other attractions outside of Kairouan, such as the nearby Aghlabid Basins. These excursions provide an opportunity to explore the region and discover more of its hidden gems.

In addition to their services for tourists, the Tourist Office of Kairouan also plays a vital role in promoting the city and its attractions. They work closely with travel agencies and tour operators to showcase the best of Kairouan and attract visitors from around the world.

Contact Information:
Address: Rue Ibn Khaldoun, Kairouan, Tunisia
Phone: +216 77 231 977

Museum of Islamic Art

The Museum of Islamic Art in Kairouan is a must-visit attraction for art and history enthusiasts. Located in the heart of the city, this museum is home to a stunning collection of Islamic art and artifacts.

The museum showcases a wide range of exhibits, from intricate calligraphy and illuminated manuscripts to delicate ceramics and beautifully woven carpets. Visitors can admire the exquisite craftsmanship and learn about the rich cultural heritage of the Islamic world.

One of the highlights of the museum is its collection of ancient Quran manuscripts. These beautifully decorated manuscripts provide a fascinating insight into the history of Arabic calligraphy and the development of Islamic art.

The museum also features a collection of Islamic ceramics, including delicate vases, bowls, and tiles. These pieces showcase the intricate designs and vibrant colors that are characteristic of Islamic pottery.

In addition to the permanent collection, the museum hosts temporary exhibitions that explore various themes related to Islamic art and culture. These exhibitions offer visitors a chance to learn about different aspects of Islamic art and its influence on other artistic traditions.

Visitors can take a leisurely stroll through the museum’s spacious galleries and admire the stunning displays. The museum also offers guided tours and educational programs for visitors of all ages.

If you’re passionate about art and history, a visit to the Museum of Islamic Art in Kairouan is a must. Immerse yourself in the world of Islamic art and discover the beauty and intricacy of this ancient tradition.

Medina Walls

The ancient city of Kairouan is encompassed by impressive Medina Walls, which are an integral part of its historical and cultural heritage. Built during the 9th century, these walls served as a defensive fortification for the city. Constructed using locally sourced brick and limestone, the walls feature imposing gates and towers that highlight Kairouan’s strategic significance.

The Medina Walls are a testament to the city’s strategic importance in the past and are a visual representation of its rich history. Exploring the walls offers visitors a chance to appreciate the architectural brilliance of the medieval era. The intricately carved decorations on the walls showcase the artistic skills of the craftsmen who worked on them.

Walking along the walls provides spectacular views of Kairouan and its surroundings, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the city’s charm. The peaceful ambience and the sense of history evoked by the walls create a unique experience for those who venture here.

While the walls have undergone some restoration over the centuries, they still retain their original essence and serve as a window into the past. They also provide a glimpse into the daily life of Kairouan and how its inhabitants interacted with their environment.

A visit to Kairouan is incomplete without exploring the Medina Walls. They not only offer a fascinating glimpse into the city’s history but also provide breathtaking panoramic views. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Medina Walls are a must-see attraction for anyone visiting Kairouan.

Bab el-Ghoul

Bab el-Ghoul, also known as the Gate of the Jinn, is one of the most fascinating historical sites in the city of Kairouan. Dating back to the 9th century, this gate is not only a significant architectural landmark but also holds a mysterious tale.

Legend has it that Bab el-Ghoul was built by a local architect who made a pact with the jinn (supernatural beings in Islamic mythology) to complete the construction in just one night. As the story goes, the jinn agreed to help the architect under the condition that they would claim a human sacrifice. In order to protect the people of Kairouan, the architect sacrificed his own son, leading to the gate being named after these mysterious creatures.

Bab el-Ghoul features impressive Moorish design elements, with intricate carvings and decorative motifs adorning its walls. The gate itself is made of stone and stands as a testament to the city’s rich history and cultural heritage.

Today, Bab el-Ghoul serves as a gateway into the medina of Kairouan, allowing visitors to step back in time and explore the city’s ancient streets and vibrant markets. As you pass through the gate, you can feel the weight of centuries of history, immersing yourself in the unique atmosphere of Kairouan.

Exploring Bab el-Ghoul is like taking a journey into the past, where you can imagine the bustling trade that once took place within its walls. As you walk through the gate, let your imagination run wild and envision the merchants, travelers, and locals who traversed these ancient streets.

Whether you’re a history enthusiast, an architecture lover, or simply curious about the stories and legends of Kairouan, a visit to Bab el-Ghoul is a must. Take your time to soak in the atmosphere, admire the intricate details, and marvel at the timeless beauty of this historic gate.

Don’t miss the opportunity to explore Bab el-Ghoul, a true gem of Kairouan that captures the essence of its rich past and vibrant present.


What are some of the top tourist attractions in Kairouan?

Some of the top tourist attractions in Kairouan include the Great Mosque of Kairouan, the Aghlabid Basins, the Medina of Kairouan, the Bir Barouta Park, and the Sidi Sahbi Mosque.

Is the Great Mosque of Kairouan worth visiting?

Yes, the Great Mosque of Kairouan is definitely worth visiting. It is one of the oldest and most important Islamic buildings in the world and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The mosque features stunning architecture and intricate details. Visitors can also explore the courtyard, the prayer hall, and the minaret.

What can I see at the Aghlabid Basins in Kairouan?

The Aghlabid Basins in Kairouan are a set of large water reservoirs that were built in the 9th century. Visitors can see the remains of the basins, as well as the surrounding gardens and palm trees. The basins are an important historical site and offer a peaceful and scenic atmosphere.

Is it possible to visit the Medina of Kairouan?

Yes, it is possible to visit the Medina of Kairouan. The Medina is the old town of Kairouan and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is known for its narrow streets, traditional houses, and historic buildings. Visitors can explore the Medina’s markets, mosques, and the famous Zaouia of Sidi Sahbi.

What is unique about the Sidi Sahbi Mosque?

Sidi Sahbi Mosque is unique because it contains the mausoleum of Sidi Sahbi, a companion of the Prophet Muhammad. The mosque is an important pilgrimage site for Muslims and is known for its beautiful architecture and intricate details. Visitors can also see the tomb of Sidi Sahbi and explore the peaceful courtyard.

What are some popular tourist attractions in Kairouan?

Some popular tourist attractions in Kairouan include the Great Mosque of Kairouan, the Aghlabid Basins, the Medina of Kairouan, and the Museum of Islamic Art.


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Abigail Lewis

Abigail Lewis, a valued Cancun resident since 2008, skillfully combines her extensive knowledge of the region with her travels across Mexico in her engaging TravelAsker pieces. An experienced traveler and dedicated mother, she brings the lively spirit of Mexico to her articles, featuring top family-friendly destinations, dining, resorts, and activities. Fluent in two languages, Abigail unveils Mexico's hidden gems, becoming your trustworthy travel companion in exploring the country.

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