A city of Abaqah, with its history, fascinating with its beauty, its houses, mosques, shrines, markets and alleys, spread in its intimate and spiritual spaces.
In each of its corners there is a sanctity. It is the city of the three hundred mosques, and it is the fourth of the three, that is, after Mecca, Medina and Beit Al-Maqdis. It is the first Islamic city built in the Maghreb in the year 50 AH.
This documentary aired by Al Jazeera takes us to explore its alleys, stories and architectural heritage through stories told by characters from the city.
“You walk on water” – manifestations of Kairouanese
Its inhabitant, the poet and plastic artist Khaled Milad, says in praise, in a poem titled “The manifestations of Kairouanian”:
Look at the back of the paths
From Bab Al Qadah until Al Ansari
From Al-Qarmati alley to the Sahnoun retreat
Climbs from every morning night
From the book of history
He falls over the heads of creation
Eternal secrets and letters
Flirting corridors, do not brag
Other than old houses
The shrines are white like snow
It boasts the green of the banners
A world of glamor and seduction
And Zawaya, Takaya, and Saraya
He said: The cities for poetry and for poets
Fly..don’t be sad
You are walking on water
You come from Gafsa
From Carthage to Kairouan
Al-Ansari Mosque in Kairouan is over 1,400 years old
Al-Ansari Mosque … A Jihad for Islamic Civilization
The artist and poet Khaled Milad owns a house in Kairouan more than 1400 years old, and it is one of the first houses built in the city, and it is adjacent to the Ansari Mosque, which is considered the oldest building built by the Muslims in Tunisia, and includes a tomb for the first mujahideen in the Islamic conquest, and the custom of the women of Kairouan That the walls of the mosque be coated with henna for blessing, so it was called “the Mihniyeh” as well.
The mosque has Sufi dimensions, in it they perform tahajjud, and in it they shuffle, and the greatest reciters and the memoris of the Qur’an lead it, and families bring sweets and coffee to the worshipers, and this neighborhood has been called the Ansar neighborhood, and it is also called the Houmt al-Shurafaa, that is, the Ansar because of their proximity to the Messenger of God, may God’s prayers and peace be upon him.
Safwan bin Milad says that he used to recite the hymns of his grandfather before dawn mixed with the sound of spinning wool from his grandmother’s room, which were the beginning of his relationship with art.
And he adds: This is human life, a continuous struggle for an Islamic civilization and for the sake of Kairouan. The hand of the critic and plastic artist extends far beyond the paper.
In the morning Safwan goes out to the streets and squares to paint his paintings there, where the buildings of Kairouan are painted white and blue, as if the sky extends to the ground.
The Great Wall of Kairouan surrounds the old city
The Great Wall of Kairouan .. The historical landmarks of the city
One of the most important features of Kairouan is its huge wall, but some parts of it were demolished in the second war, when the Germans used bricks to build a runway for their military aircraft, as the wall was twice its current size, and the reason for its construction was that the city was often invaded, so the people of the city built it to defend themselves The wall separates the old city from its natural surroundings, and the city includes the cemetery and markets such as the copper market, which is the last forged copper market in the world.
Among the most famous landmarks of Kairouan is the fountain, which is the most important hydraulic landmark in the Islamic world. It was built during the Aghlabid era in the third century AH.
Tales and legends revolved around her, and one of those stories was narrated by artist and merchant Tariq al-Alani, according to which a girl wanted to extract the fusqia treasure, so she had to slaughter a sheep, spin its wool and prepare a plate of couscous, and she came in the middle of the night and the heart of the fusqah opened for her and the treasure came out.
Kairouan is the city of 300 mosques
The City of Three Hundred Mosques … The Eight Gates of Heaven
Kairouan has eight chapters, the most important of which is the door of the executioners in relation to the skins that were tanned there, and the Bab of Tunis, on which the spectacle shows were held, and here you find the storytellers and the snake-preachers, but the picture has changed today as the city retains a special and beautiful character, as it inspires many, and in it the intimacy of people coexisting in it. IPod, intimacy and security.
In the city there are many mosques, divided into three sections: the mosque in which the Friday prayer is held, the mosque in which the courtyard is located, and the prayer house does not have a courtyard, and it is a city with a spiritual character where the call to prayer is raised on all sides.
The old houses of Kairouan also have divisions, so when you enter the house you find the corral, then the shed, then the courtyard and the majlis, and under the boards are corridors and a place to store food of barley, wheat, olives and firewood, in addition to the well, meaning that the house is self-sufficient, indicating the originality and long-standing tradition.
Khaled Milad says: I am like the doctor Ahmed bin al-Jazzar al-Qayrawani, I am forgetting about the city and I do not leave it.