The Zaytouna Mosque (mosque of the olive tree) - also named the great mosque - is located at the center of the Medina. Arab chief Ibn el-Nouman chose its location, following the conquest of Carthage. Aside from its religious functions, the site was first used as a trade center and played a strategic role in defending the city from attacks by sea. The mosque was erected under the Umayyad dynasty's reign in 732, and was remodeled several times over the centuries by the dynasties reigning in the city. For example, the great dome on the entrance of the prayer hall was built in the 10th century under the Zirid dynasty. The cisterns were brought by the Hafsids in the 13th century. The three-column gallery in the courtyard dates from the 17th century (the Ottoman period). During the 19th century, the Minarest (the nosque's main tower) was raised to reach 144 feet (44 meters) and remained the highest point in this growing city. The prayer hall, ornamented with 185 marble and granite columns, can accommodate up to 2000 people. Once an Islamic university, the mosque was renowned across North Africa. The Arab sociologist and historian Ibn Khaldoun notably taught there in the 14th century. Admission: 2 DT. Non-Muslims are only allowed in the courtyard. -N.L.
- Open Hours: Saturday to Thursday from 08:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Attractions & Landmarks, Religious