Bir Tkefa: A Historical Treasure of Kairouan – History and Culture

Bir Tkefa: A Historical Treasure of Kairouan - History and Culture

There Bir Tkefaalso known as Bir Am Ayyad, is a historic well located in the town of Kairouan, Tunisia. Its origin dates back to the time of the first century AH (corresponding to the seventh century A.D.), shortly after the Islamic conquest.

History and Significance

  1. Foundation and Name
    • The Bir Tkefa is believed to have been dug by the Muslim conquerors shortly after their victory at Kairouan. At the time it was known as “Bir Am Ayyad”.
    • This property played a crucial role in the water supply of the emerging city.
  2. Legends and Popular Imagination
    • Bir Tkefa occupies a special place in the collective imagination of the inhabitants of Kairouan.
    • According to tradition, the founders of the city used water from this well for the construction of the Great Mosque of Oqba Ibn Nafi (also called “Jamaa Al-Qaraouiyine”).
    • Every time a quantity of water gushed out of the well, they cried: “Tkefa!”literally meaning ” That’s enough ! » in Arabic.
    • So the name “Bir Tkefa” was born from this custom.
  3. Cultural Heritage
    • Bir Tkefa is a silent witness to the history of Kairouan and the Islamization of the region.
    • Its preservation is essential to preserve the collective memory and cultural identity of the city.

Kairouan: Cradle of Arab-Muslim Civilization

Kairouan, founded in 670flourished under the dynasty of Aghlabids At 9th century. Despite the transfer of the political capital to Tunis in 12th century, Kairouan the main holy city of the Maghreb is preserved. Its rich architectural heritage includes:

  1. The Great Mosque :
    • Rebuild at 9th centuryit is not only one of the major monuments of Islam, but also a universal architectural masterpiece.
    • Its hypostyle prayer room, with 17 naves Supported by a “forest” of marble and porphyry columns, forms a quadrilateral of 135 meters by 80 meters.
    • Its vast paved square, lined with porticos, is interrupted in the middle of the northern end by the massive three-story minaret.
  2. The Three Doors Mosque :
    • Built in 866it is the oldest known Islamic mosque with a sculpted facade.
    • Its unique decorative motifs have inspired several other mosques in the Maghreb.
  3. The Aghlabid Basins :
    • These open-air tanks, made up of two communicating tanks dating from the 9th centuryconstituting one of the most beautiful hydraulic complexes designed to supply the city with water.


Kairouan, an exceptional witness to the first centuries of Arab-Muslim civilization, deserves to be celebrated and protected. It reminds current generations of the rich and complex heritage of Tunisia and its role in the spread of Islam in North Africa.

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