Kairouan is the fourth most holy city of the Muslim faith and as such a major destination for pilgrimage, The history and Mosques in the city and the long history of Kairouan have seen it become a UNESCO World Heritage site. Funded by Arabs in around 670 AD the city quickly became a centre of religious teaching attracting muslims from around the world for Quranic and Islamic learning.
People still come from around the muslim world on pilgrimage to Kairouan and visit its Mosques as well as Islamic schools that are open to visitors. A pilgrimage to Kairouan is meant to be equivalent to a seventh of a pilgrimage to Mecca.
If you are a muslim or have an interest is Islamic studies and history then Kairouan will be a fascinating place for you to visit in every way. If you have a general interest in history, culture or Architecture though thereis still an awful lot to take in here.
There is no train to Kairouan and no International airport, you can though easily get here by Bus or Louage, shared long distance taxis, both will run from major cities but from some smaller towns and cities a Louage may be a better option.
What to See
Kairouan is best explored on foot and as with many Tunisian cities it is the Medina, the old city, that is where almost all sites of interest to tourists can be found though the Medina itself is beautiful with white washed walls and a myriad of alleys and arches to explore, as featured in Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. Bus and Louage stations are just to the North West of the Medina meaning you can start exploring straight away.
The Great Mosque
You must visit the Great Mosque which makes the visit to Kairouan worthwhile on its own, non muslims are not admitted to the prayer hall but you can still take in the architecture on the outside and through the doors to the prayer hall that are left open.
The Great mosue is surrounded by the Medina and many small stores, some of these actually have the best views and you may be invited in with the hope you will buy something on the way out: if you do buy something small it may still be good value.
The Mosque of the Three Doors
The Mosque of the Three Doors is Kairouan’s other famous mosque though the interior is inaccessible to tourists the facae is well worth viewing for its classic Arabian design.