This is certainly one of the
most unusual places in Kairouan and even in Tunisia.
The museum was established in a zawiya –
mausoleum – built in 1872 and containing
the tomb of a very unusual figure : Amor Abada,
better known under the respectful name of Sidi
First the building: it consists of a vast architectural
complex crowned with seven ribbed cupolas in a
style, known to Kairouan for a thousand years
although, cupolas were never used in such great
numbers. This explains the monument’s singular
aspect, and gives it an appearance of great solemnity.
Now the content: a large room in the building
contains objects that belonged to Sidi Abada or
that he made himself. The guide says : “These
objects were completely dysfunctional, they are
giant sized…giant anchors intended, it is
said, to protect Kairouan and keep it anchored
to the country, very heavy swords, a colossal
pipe, very heave bronze pestles… All these
items bear engraved inscriptions.. they tell the
life story of the man himself”.
It must be said that the man was equally strange
“out of the ordinary, enigmatic, a surprising
strength of character and faith, excessive in
power and grandeur…both venerated and feared”.
Sidi Amor Abada was a master blacksmith, possessed
by a mystic drive and troubled by the state of
decay in which the country had fallen just before
the French colonial expedition (April-May 1881).
He expressed his anguish and fantasies through
his extravagant creations.