It was founded by the Arabs about 45 After Hegira (670 AD) in the Caliphate of Mu'awiya—the first Caliph in the Ummayad Dynasty. During the 9th century it was the center of the emirate of Ifriqya, whose ruler was appointed in Baghdad by the legendary Caliph Harun al-Rashid, of Sinbad the Sailor fame. From Ifriqya Sicily was conquered, before falling eventually to the Normans.
The Great Mosque of Kairouan dates to the founding of the city. The university, consisting of scholars who met in the mosque, became a center of Islamic thought and education in the secular sciences. Today it is an island of holy space in the midst of an almost perfectly preserved medieval Arab environment. The columns and chapters are derived from Roman architecture of previous centuries.
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|Kairouan - 1984|