Qayrawan, Al

Qayrawan, Al

(äl kīräwän`) or

Kairouan

(kīrwän`, Fr. kĕrwäN`), city (1994 pop. 102,600), NE Tunisia. It is a sacred city of Islam. Founded in 670 by Uqbah bin Nafi, an Arab leader, it was the seat of Arab governors in W Africa until 800. Under the Aghlabid dynasty (800–909), it remained the chief center of commerce and learning. It was the first capital (909–21) of the FatimidsFatimid
or Fatimite
, dynasty claiming to hold the caliphate on the basis of descent from Fatima, a daughter of Muhammad the Prophet. In doctrine the Fatimids were related to other Shiite sects.
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. When the city was ruined (1057) by invaders, it was supplanted by Tunis. Of Al Qayrawan's 150 mosques, the most celebrated is the Great Mosque, started by Uqbah bin Nafi and completed in the 9th cent. The city is noted for its carpet industry.
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