Skip to main content



City in north central Tunisia.

Qairawan (also Kairouan, al-Qayrawan) is located some 100 miles (156 km) south of Tunis. Its population in 2002 was estimated at 162,130. Its economy is based on agriculture, arboriculture, carpets, and leatherwork. Like many North African cities, it has a walled older section and a modern quarter established during colonialism. It was initially a military camp set up by the Arab Muslim invaders spreading Islam during the late seventh century. Gradually a town emerged with the building of mosques, shops, and fortresses; its founding is often associated with Okba (Uqba ibn Nafi), a Muslim general (to whom a mosque is dedicated); others also played a role, however. The city boasts the oldest extant mosque in Africa.

Following upheaval brought on by Kharijite revolts, the town came under Aghlabid rule in the ninth century, and under their patronage it was transformed into an important regional intellectual and religious center, known for its schools and pilgrimage stops. Decline followed, however, as did the pillaging of the city by nomadic groups in the mid-eleventh century. In the early thirteenth century, the capital was moved to Tunis, which became the hub of political and intellectual life in Tunisia. Today, Qairawan is considered a Holy City of Islam, and it is the center of the governorate of the same name.

matthew s. gordon

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Qairawan." Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. . 17 Feb. 2019 <>.

"Qairawan." Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. . (February 17, 2019).

"Qairawan." Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. . Retrieved February 17, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.