Institut National du Patrimoine
The Arab Muslims conquerors founded the city of Kairouan in 670 under the orders of Uqba ibn Nafi, as a vital point d'appui in their campaign in North Africa. As the first Muslim city in the Maghreb it played a fundamental role in Islamic history, particularly towards the spread of Arab-Islamic civilisation. It remained the region's capital and one of its richest centres of Arab and Islamic culture for five centuries. The value and variety of its archaeological treasures aroused the interest of many European Orientalists in the 19th century. Many did not even hesitate in taking some of the so-called "oriental" aspects of the architecture they saw, and integrating it into their own creations. In fact, the study of Muslim Tunisian heritage saw a significant increase thanks to teh Orientalist architect Henri Saladin in the early 20th century.
Thanks to the value and authenticity of its monuments and the richness and variety of its archaeological treasures, Kairouan can be considered a living museum of Arab and Islamic arts and civilisation. The richness of its monuments' architecture and the variety of its decorations is evidence for the important role Kairouan played in the development of the Islamic arts. Among its most important monuments are the Great Mosque of Uqba ibn Nafi, a masterpiece of universal mosque architecture which was also the foundation of many North African mosques, as well as the Three Doors Mosque with its sculpted façade, the Mausoleum of Sidi Sahbi, and many more. The city was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site on the 7 November 1988.
Saloua Khadhar Zangar "Kairouan medina " in "Sharing History", Museum With No Frontiers, 2020. http://www.sharinghistory.org/database_item.php?id=monuments;AWE;tn;41;en
Prepared by: Saloua Khadhar Zangar
Translation by: Flaminia Baldwin
MWNF Working Number: TN 041