Kairouan was founded in the year 670 CE, during the great arab conquests, and it has been the capital of Tunisia for a long time, until Tunis became its capital. Owing to its location far from the sea, the city was safe from raids from the sea.
Kairouan is a holy city for many muslims, and many sunni muslims consider it the fourth holiest city of Islam, after Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem, and the holiest city of the Maghreb. There are very many mosques in the city, among which the great mosque. For a long time, non-muslims were not allowed to enter the city, in more recent times this is allowed. Pilgrimages are made to this holy city.
The souk (market place) of Kairouan is very famous, it is in the medina, which is surrounded by walls, and of which the entrance gates can be seen from far. Products that are sold here are carpets, vases and goods made of leather. Contrary to many other places in the country, merchands and merchandise are not much geared toward tourists, but rather towards the local population.