Kairouan stands as a main cultural and religious metropolis in the Tunisian Republic. It still preserves its original blend of Arab-Islamic architecture with its souks (market places), alleys, and old streets. In 1988 the city was inscribed on UNESCO world heritage list.
Kairouan is located some 100 miles (156 km) south of Tunis. Its founding is associated with Uqba Ibn Nafi, a celebrated Muslim Arab general, who said at the moment when he reached the Atlantic coast, “Oh God, if the sea had not prevented me, I would have galloped on for ever upholding your faith and fighting the unbelievers!”
The original name was derived from Persian Kâravân, meaning “camp”, “caravan”, or “resting place”. The term appears in the work of Imru’ al-Qais, a celebrated Arabian poet.
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