KAIROUAN (القيروان)

We hit the road in the early afternoon and as usual, we refilled our diesel at Shell (V-Power sans soufre – 2 TND), some people told us better not to use the other cheaper ones (Gasoil or Gasoil sans soufre). Before the evening we have stopped for an overnight at Total gasoline station on the highway from Sfax to El Jem (highway fee 2,2 TND). And finally early morning, we have arrived in the holy city of Kairouan. It’s considered the fourth-holiest site in Islam because of the presence of the Great Mosque (the oldest in North Africa). The city was founded by the Umayyads around 670. In the period of Caliph Mu’awiya (reigned 661–680), it became an important center for Sunni Islamic scholarship and Quranic learning, and thus attracting many Muslims from various parts of the world. Also, Jews were among the original settlers of Kairouan, and the community played an important role in Jewish history, has been a world center of Talmudic and Halakhic scholarship for at least three generations. We have wandered around UNESCO listed medina (entrance 12 TND), filled with shops, traditional courtyard houses, mosques, and zaouias (complexes surrounding the tomb of a saint). Its rich architectural heritage includes the Mosque of the Three Gates and the holy Sidi Okba Mosque, with the oldest minaret in the Maghreb, and its magnificent prayer hall has 414 pillars supporting horseshoe arches.

Parking location – Total Gasoline Station: 35.258018N 10.652287E (💦, 🚻)
Parking location – Kairouan: 35.670663N 10.100795E