Great Mosque
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Location Kairawan, Tunisia   map
Date 820 to 836   timeline
Building Type mosque
 Construction System bearing masonry
Climate hot, dry
Context urban
Style Islamic
Notes location also spelled Qairawan, Kairouan.


Photo, historical

More Images
Aerial view of Great Mosque

More images available on The GBC CD-ROM.   Contributions appreciated



Plan Drawing



Available on The GBC CD-ROM.

3D Model
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Discussion Great Mosque Commentary

"The Great Mosque at Qairouan, Tunisia, is the principal building of the Aghlabids and has an important relationship to the mosques of the Umayyad and Abbasid capitals. Its square minaret stands on the centre line of the building. The original structure of the early eighth century was swallowed up in the reconstruction of the ninth century. More bays were added to the courtyard face of the prayer-hall, and a central dome (since rebuilt) was constructed over it. Also at this stage a superb lustre mihrab was constructed— probably the earliest examples of its kind in Islamic architecture. The lustre-tiles appear to have been imported from Iraq. The building has slightly pointed horseshoe arches carried on Corinthianesque columns. The gored dome is carried on cusped squinches. The prayer-chamber has a T-shaped plan in which a central nave intersects the principal transverse aisle against the kibla wall. The giant, tapering minaret with its recessed stages as well as the incorrect southward orientation of the building itself reflect its eighth-century Syrian origins."

—Sir Banister Fletcher. A History of Architecture. p564, 567.

Sources on Great Mosque

Sir Banister Fletcher. A History of Architecture. Boston: Butterworths, 1987. ISBN 0-408-01587-X. NA200.F63 1987. discussion p564, 567.

Ernst J. Grube and George Michell. Architecture of the Islamic World. New York: Thames and Hudson, 1984. LC 84-50341. NA380.A78 1984. plan drawing, p220.

John D. Hoag. Islamic Architecture. New York: Electra/Rizzoli, 1975. color photo of exterior, plate VI, between p52 and p53.

Spiro Kostof. A History of Architecture. New York: Oxford University Press, 1985. ISBN 0-19-503472-4. LC 84-25375. NA200.K65 1985. aerial photo, f12.27, p291. interior photo (mihrab niche and pulpit) f12.28, p292.

Kevin Matthews. The Great Buildings Collection on CD-ROM. Artifice, 2001. ISBN 0-9667098-4-5.— Available at  Find books about Great Mosque


Web Resources
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