Africa

The holy city of Kairouan

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Kairouan It is considered one of the four holiest cities in Islam behind Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem. Almost all religious enclaves can only be visited in the morning and, as we arrived at noon, we dedicated that day to tour the medina or old town.

From Tunisia you can arrive by bus or by louage. Although the guide Lonely planet He states that a bus leaves every hour, in April 2012 in the morning there was only one bus at 7 leaving the Garé du Nord and buses at 7 am, 8 am, 10 am, 11 am and 12 am from the Garé du Sud. The price of the bus ticket costs 9.6 dinars.

Due to these schedules, we decided to go to Kairuán in louage. First you have to go to the Farhat Hached tram station on line 6 and go down eight streets on Rue du Turquie. At the end of the street there is a large warehouse that acts as a station. Tickets are purchased at the box office (9.11 dinars) in the background and once full, the louage It starts up. This time it took less time to fill up than to go to Dougga. In 15 minutes we were already underway and in two hours we planted ourselves in Kairouan.

At the north end of the medina is the old Kasbah or fortress, which is currently a very charming hotel where we were lucky enough to stay again thanks to Tourism in Tunisia). The Kasbah has been restored and the rooms are decorated with colored tiles and wooden details that give it an Arab-chic style. It was twelve noon and it showed that we were further south because it was quite hot, so we decided to go for a swim in the outdoor pool, good.

Kairuán's medina has nothing to do with that of Marrakech and is light years from that of Cairo. The medina of Kairuán is not touristy, because it barely has a few shops with typical souvenirs, so you can feel in a very authentic way the life of the ancient city, which runs calmly. In my opinion, this medina is great for getting lost in its streets. Do not worry if you always end up arriving at the same place, there lies the charm of visiting this small inhabited maze. The white streets with blue-blue doors and windows are the characteristic element of Kairuán and as you walk, you will see different homes and shops grouped by guilds.

At lunchtime we end up at the Marhaba restaurant, near the Bab Tunis door. We arrived at this restaurant because we were accompanied by a store clerk when we were unable to find one in the medina. This small restaurant is run by a couple and serves typical food from the area, something we had not had occasion to try so far, since in the hotels we had buffet dinner with something more continental food.

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