Rome Journal

Andrew moves to Italy. Hilarity ensues.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Kairouan

Kairouan is, according to the Tunisians, the fourth holiest city in Islam. That's maybe a debatable point- while everybody agrees on the top three cities, there are evidently a bunch of places competing for the #4 spot. Still, it's been a pilgrimage center for a long time, and I figured I'd pay it a visit.

It's okay. The Great Mosque is very interesting: its courtyard is filled with hundreds of mismatched columns taken from various Roman places around Tunisia. There's even one incongruous column whose capital has a big ol' cross on it: presumably taken from a church somewhere.

The medina is on the UNESCO World Heritage list. It's actually quite nice: it's walled, and filled with twisty little streets. It's also, unfortunately, a good place to get hustled. Kairouan is the center of the Tunisian carpet industry, and everybody will try to get you into their store to buy a carpet. They have all kinds of ways of doing this: letting you know of a very very special exhibition of Berber carpets, which is ending (surprise!) today! Or you'll be invited to the roof of a building to get a view of the Great Mosque or the medina or whatever... the roof, of course, belongs to a carpet store, and as long as you're there anyway... This last one worked on me. I didn't buy a carpet, though, which didn't endear me to anybody.

Anyway, here's a less hustling-and-bustling shot of the medina. This is the street of the leather workers:



Just one other picture from Kairouan today. This one is a little odd:



I saw these signs in a few different places in Tunisia. I presume it means that cars can overheat and explode? But I'm not really sure.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Com4Myst said...

www.kairouan.org has a wide collection of photos, it's in french but easy to find them

7:43 PM  
Blogger Andrew said...

Great site, thanks. (Though I have to say, given the hassle I went through to find a decent web connection in Kairouan, I'm a little shocked to see a site with so much Flash, etc...)

8:09 PM  

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