The Mosque of Uqba, also known as the Great Mosque of Kairouan, is one of the most important mosques in Tunisia. It’s situated in the UNESCO World Heritage town of Kairouan.
The mosque was built around 670 AD (the year 50 according to the Islamic calendar) at the same time as the city of Kairouan. It’s spread over a surface area of 9,000 square metres (96,875 sq ft) and it is one of the oldest places of worship in the Islamic world, as well as one of the most impressive and largest Islamic monuments in North Africa. This vast space of the mosque contains a hypostyle (supported by columns) prayer hall, a huge marble-paved courtyard and a massive square minaret.
The fame of the Mosque of Uqba and of the other holy sites at Kairouan helped the city to develop and repopulate increasingly. The university, consisting of scholars who taught in the mosque, was a centre of education both in Islamic thought and in the secular sciences. With the decline of the city of Kairouan from the mid 11th century, the centre of intellectual thought moved to the University of Ez-Zitouna in Tunis.