Sunday, November 16, 2008

at 10:03 AM Posted by chaker

The word "medina" (or Médina) itself simply means "city" or "town" in modern day Arabic.
Medinas often contain historical fountains, palaces, and mosques. The monuments are preserved for their cultural significance (and are also a draw for tourists).
Because of the very narrow streets, medinas are free from car traffic, and in some cases even motorcycle and bicycle traffic. The streets can be less than a metre wide. This makes them unique among highly populated urban centres.

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Kairouan's Medina (old town) is the best preserved in Tunisia. Some 1,000m/1,100yds long by 500m/550yds across, it is surrounded by a 3.5km/2mi long circuit of brick walls 10m/33ft high, reinforced by numerous towers. The present walls were built by the Husseinites between 1706-12 on the foundations of earlier walls dating from 1052, and have been frequently restored since then. The Medina here is a pleasant experience to walk around without being hasselled so much by souvenir sellers which can plague you in Medina's in Tunis and Sousse.
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The Medina is the main place for shopping in Kairouan. You can buy all sorts of stuff such as brass plates, clothes, shoes, porcelain plates and bowls, leather goods etc. Most of it is pretty tacky but there are some nice items. All of the shops and stalls are located near enough on one street - Ave & Novembre which runs from Bab Tunis in the north of the Medina to Bab ech Chouhada in the south.

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