© Ministère des Affaires religieuses © Ministère des Affaires religieuses

Name of Monument:

The Great Mosque and University of Zaytuna


Tunis medina , Tunisia

Responsible Institution (original language):

Ministère des Affaires Religieuses

Date of Monument:

7th century


Located in the heart of the Tunis medina, the great Zaytuna Mosque is the largest and most revered religious site in Tunis. City life revolved around this mosque, as it was not only an important place of worship, but also a great university, with a reputation matching that of the Qaraouyine University in Fez and the al-Azhar University in Cairo. Many theologians and scholars of literature, arts and sciences were trained here for generations. Although it was the subject of many reforms in the 19th century, the modern Zaytuna University still provides a religious education, and attracts many believers at prayer times.


An important place of worship, the Zaytuna mosque was subject to a great number of adjustments and expansions since its construction in the 7th century, most notably during the 17th and 18th centuries. The central courtyard is accessible through a suspended portico with horseshoe archways resting on beautiful columns topped with Hafsid capitals, through which the beautiful painted wooden ceilings can be seen. The paved courtyard is dominated by a square minaret, a beautiful sundial and a ribbed calotte which rests on an octagonal base above on a larger, square base. The décor is reminiscent of the Dome of the Rock in al-Quds (Jerusalem) in Palestine.

Citation of this web page:

Saloua Khadhar Zangar "The Great Mosque and University of Zaytuna " in "Sharing History", Museum With No Frontiers, 2020. http://www.sharinghistory.org/database_item.php?id=monument;awe;tn;7;en

Database entry origination:

Prepared by: Saloua Khadhar Zangar
Translation by: Flaminia Baldwin

MWNF Working Number: TN 007

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