Mosque of Uqba aka the Great Mosque of Kairouan, with more than 8000 square meters of area is one of the biggest mosques of Tunisia and north of Africa. It is the first mosque built by Muslims in Maghreb and it’s certainly a masterpiece of Islamic art and architecture.
The mosque was built by the great Muslim general, Uqba ibn Nafi’ at 670 AD (the year 50 according to the Islamic calendar) when he founded the city of Kairouan. During Aghlabid era it has been maintained and restored at 836 AD and after that it hasn’t had a great change till now. Its unique architecture had been an example for mosques that have been constructed after, in Maghrebi countries (Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria and Mauritania). The minaret of this mosque is one of the oldest in Islamic architecture and its Minbar definitely is the oldest one in Islamic world!
From this mosque Malikism triumphed in Tunisia and Maghreb and it has been considered as most important center for theology science in north of Africa. Some Muslims believe that this mosque is 4th important mosque in Islam and seven pilgrims of this mosque equal to one pilgrim of Masjid al-Haram in Mecca.
In addition to studies of theological and religious science, the mosque also hosts various courses of science such as mathematics, astronomy, medicine and etc and many of great Muslim scientists have been studied there. We can compare its role in Islamic civilization with University of Paris in middle ages.