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Qayrawan

(2,303 words)

Author(s): Menahem Ben-Sasson
Qayrawan (Kairouan; Ar. al-Qayrawān) is a town in central Tunisia, 156 kilometers (97 miles) from Tunis and 57 kilometers (35 miles) from Sousse. It was traditionally believed to have been founded as a military base (Ar. miṣr) by ʿUqba ibn Nāfiʿ, but was actually built on the ruins of an ancient town named Qūniya or Qamūniya. Three dynasties controlled the town: the Aghlabids (810–912), the Fatimids (912–972), and their vassals the Zirids (972–1057). Throughout its history the town was a battleground for rebel activity by local Berber tribes, particularly the Kutama Berbers. According …