Monday, October 27, 2008

at 1:43 PM Posted by chaker

Kairouan is defined as the holiest city of Tunisia, being the oldest Islamic settlement, having the oldest mosque in North Africa and the world's oldest minaret.kairouan is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and North Africa's most holy city. It has earned the name "City of 100 Mosques". Kairouan is 160 km south of Tunis, 60 km west of Sousse, and south-east of the Tell Mountains, on the Low Steppes, a fairly dry alluvial plain. The plain of Kairouan forms a vast basin, 100 km long (axis North - South) and 40 km wide (axis East - West).
Latitude: 35.66 Longitude: 10.1 Altitude: 60

The region proffers a semi-arid type of climate, characterized by important irregularities in rainfall, big thermal variations, dry summers and humid winters. The average annual rainfall is of the order of 290 mm. Winter rains are weak in intensity compared to autumnal rains. Violent storms principally burst in September and October, with precipitations that can attain 100 to 200 mm within 24 hours, often inducing floods.
Social data - demographic Accommodating one fifth of the total population of the ‘gouvernorate’ / Province (532,709 inhabitants in 1994) and close to 85% of the urban population, the city of Kairouan (102,634 inhabitants in 1994) received the bulk of the rural exodus, particularly after the floods of 1969. Since 1966 its rate of annual increase has continued to progress from 2.3% for the period 1966/1975, to 2.9% for the period 1975/1984 and to 4.3% for the period 1984/1994 (the average national rate in urban environment being 3.2%). In May 2004, new statistics are in the process of being drafted by the INS (National Census Bureau), and we await the results, which will appear soon, to communicate them to you.
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Religion There are many mosques in the city, among which the great mosque. After its establishment, Kairouan became an Islamic and Qur'anic learning center in North Africa. An article titled Towards a Strategic Geopolitic Vision of Afro-Arab Relations by Professor Kwesi Prah states "By 670, the Arabs had taken Tunisia, and by 675, they had completed construction of Kairouan, the city that would become the premier Arab base in North Africa. Kairouan was later to become the third holiest city in Islam in the medieval period, after Mecca and Medina, because of its importance as the centre of the Islamic faith in the Maghrib".Judaism, no longer prevalent in the city, has an illustrious history in Kairouan, particularly in the early Middle Ages. Rabbeinu Chananel was from Kairouan and many other important rabbis, including Rabbi Isaac Alfasi studied there with him.