This is one of the most venerated
places in Kairouan for it contains the remains
of one of the Prophet’s companions, Abou
Zamaa al-Balawi, who came to Ifriqiya in the year
34 of the Hegira (654 AD), i.e. only twenty or
so years after the Prophet’s death. It is
said that he kept three hairs from his beard and
asked to be buried with the relic after his death.
Abou Zamaa wad killed in battle with native Berbers
about thirty kilometres away from Kairouan, but
was buried on the site of the city before its
The mausoleum, situated on the edge of the old
city, is unlike the other monuments of Kairouan.
The essential of the building dates to the XVIIth
century and its decoration bears very clear Andalusian
and Turkish influences.
The monument is made up of three parts:
- the mausoleum strictly speaking consisting of
a room at the far end of a courtyard surrounded
by galleries and containing the remains of the
holy man in a catafalque surmounted by an ornate
- - the ancillary buildings reserved for guests;
- - the minaret and the madrasa (religious school)
as well as the oratory, the students rooms and
the ablutions room.
Access to the three components is through a square
courtyard, surrounded on three sides by galleries
supported by pillars.