Posted by: travelrat | September 22, 2008

The Holy City

Desert Safari, Day 2

Kairouan, 13th June 2008.


On the way back to Port el Kantaoui, we stopped at Kairouan. When the Arabs came to Tunisia, they set up their capital in Kairouan, abandoning the ruined city of Carthage. They built mosques here, nowadays, numbering more than fifty and the city is recognised as the holiest place in Tunis.

The biggest of these is, not surprisingly, called the Great Mosque, started in the 9th Century, and noted for its minaret, marble-tiled courtyard and its massive prayer room, supported by 400 pillars. But, we couldn’t go in; it’s only open to visitors in the mornings, and some of the party weren’t appropriately dressed, anyway.

However, it’s possible to admire the architecture from the roof of a three-storey souvenir shop nearby. Actually, ‘souvenir shop’ is a pretty poor description. Kairouan is also a major centre for crafts such as saddle-making, metalwork and carpet weaving. All were on sale here.

Sadly, though, we have no use for a carpet, and don’t own a horse. And, we’d already bought the plate for the kitchen wall and the obligatory fridge magnet. So, I hope the soft drinks and ice-creams we bought were recompense enough for allowing us to use the shop as an excellent viewpoint.


  1. Fabulous shots. I once mentioned to a few friends that I liked fridge magnets from different countries and now whenever they travel they bring me back a magnet. My fridge is groaning with magnets. I think I have set up a separate magnetic field in the kitchen. LOL.

  2. I segregate my fridge magnets into two groups. The ones I bought myself go on the ‘food fridge’, and the ones I’ve been given go on the ‘beer fridge’.

    Funniest one to date is my daughter’s: ‘Anyone who doesn’t like cats was probably a mouse in a previous life’

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