Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tunisia # 2 Great Mosque of Kairouan

We arrived in Tunis at dusk and the sun was just setting as we boarded the coach and left the airport to head to our hotel at Gammarth.

The following day we were up early to travel to Kairouan. Everywhere we went we had to pay to take photos, it was only 50 pence for each place but over a week this mounted up. The flag was on the top of one of the ticket offices, where we climbed up to look at the view.

First we visited the Great Mosque of Kairouan (Mosque of Uqba). Erected on the site of the first Islamic oratory built in the Maghreb by ‘Uqba ibn Nafi, the Great Mosque of Kairouan was later renovated by Hassan ibn Nu’man before being entirely rebuilt by the Aghlabid prince Ziyadat Allah I.
It is the oldest and most prestigious place of worship in the Muslim West, and was used as the architectural model for most of the mosques built in Ifriqiya before the arrival of the Ottomans. With its variety of forms and the wealth of its decorative repertoire, which combines Byzantine and Mesopotamian influences, it embodies most facets of the Kairouanese school.

These pictures show the massive minaret of the mosque (8th-9th century). You can just see the sundial in the courtyard.
Below the facade of the prayer hall.

Below The Prayer Hall.

Below you can see the magnificent Chandeliers in the central nave of the prayer hall (we were not allowed inside but could look from the door). Women have a separate entrance and have their own area at the rear of the mosque.

Colonnade abutting the prayer hall (not sure if you can see the bike that was parked by one of the pillars.

Arches in a gallery below.

Beautiful wooden doors at the entrance to the prayer hall.

Below the rainwater collector.

School children were visiting and they were very friendly and wanted their pictures taken.

2008: Postcard from Dublin-2
2007: Childhood Book
2006: Do you serve cocktails

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At 27/10/09 22:53, Blogger Sam said...

did you have to pay the children too?

At 27/10/09 23:06, Blogger ChrisB said...

Sam No, these children were not begging, but a lot of people do. They have baby camels they feed from a bottle, or have birds of prey, or are in traditional costumes and ask for money for photos.

At 27/10/09 23:08, Blogger Pamela said...

I would probably not take any photos then. I'm such a tightwad.

At 28/10/09 01:59, Blogger wendishness said...

Was it explained why they charge people to take photos? They are great pics though, very nice mosque isn't it.

At 28/10/09 03:21, Blogger Amrita said...

Arabic architecture is really unique.

I hav heard of photos on psayment. They must really want extra revenue.

In India all photography is free, but in certain areas you are forbidden to take photos because of security reasons.

At 28/10/09 06:46, Blogger Gattina said...

When I made a roundtrip through Tunesia, I didn't pay. But this was at least 15 years ago. Anyway I always try not to pay and take my pictures like a paparazzi, lol ! In Morocco they also wanted money only the Egyptians are very cool for that.

At 28/10/09 12:27, Blogger Anvilcloud said...

You do get around. Thanks for sharing.

At 28/10/09 14:33, Anonymous Janis said...

Beautiful Architecture and interesting customs. Thanks for the history lesson.

At 28/10/09 22:20, Blogger Jettie said...

there buildings are something...but wierd you have to pay.....


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