Kairouan, also known as Kirwan or al-Qayrawan, is the oldest city in Tunisia, after Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem. It is the fourth holy city for Muslims. Its location is in the central part of the country. Transportation is convenient for visitors, it has daily buses. Those who wish can rent a car from Tunis, Susa, and Maktar Sbeitan. The area of Kairouan is 6712 km ², and its population is about 546 000 people.
Kairouan was founded in 670 by Arabs and was selected by Okba Prom Nafi, after having received divine providence.
Since its founding in the 7th century, it became an important center of Islamic religion, which attracted a large number of Muslims from different parts of the world as pilgrims.
Evidence of this is the big and impressive mosque Uqba ibn Nafi. A significant part of the building was erected on the original building materials of the temple.
Other parts such as pillars and steps have been taken from other buildings around. Some 414 columns feature in the composition of the mosque, but almost all were taken from the ruins of Carthage. In earlier times it was forbidden for them to be counted because it is considered that this leads to blindness. Another legend even says that he who manages to fit in between two adjacent columns, will never go to heaven.
The vast importance of the mosque has even born belief that seven pilgrimages here are equivalent to one going to Mecca .
Sukat, or the main market of Kairouan is surrounded by walls. On it, tourists can buy all sorts of items such as vases and goods made of leather.
Especially popular in the city is the construction of incredibly beautiful and colorful carpets. As in most major cities in Tunisia, merchants rely on tourism for much of their income.
In Kairouan foreigners can enjoy the unique local sweets, which are popular.
There are many world renowned and photographed films like "Raiders of the Lost Ark" whose street scenes depicting Cairo are filmed on the streets of Kairouan .
This city has frequent change of street names, with the result that most of them are known by their old and the new names.