Madrasa and Zawiya of Sidi Abid al-Ghariani
Kairouan, Tunisia

When Mohamed al-Jedidi, a prominent Kairouanese jurist, died in Mecca (1384/786 AH), his disciple, Abou Samir Abid el Ghariani, continued to teach there until his death in 1402/805 AH. He was entombed in the complex, which now bears his name. While sources confirm its construction in the 14th c./8th c. AH, it was substantially altered and expanded in the 17th c./11th c. AH, which may account for its irregular layout consisting of 3 courtyards, each surrounded by porticoes. There is also a second story that contained student lodgings. 

The entry to the complex is through an L-shaped vestibule that opens onto a courtyard paved with black and white marble arranged in geometric patterns. It is surrounded by three porticoes each consisting of three horseshoe arches crowned with ablaq brick. The prayer hall is on the southwest side. It consists of three naves running parallel to the qibla wall. The mihrab at the center is marble, topped with an elaborately decorated arch supported by two contrasting marble columns. The elaborate vegetal and geometric stucco decoration of the arch is topped with alternating black and white voussoirs. 

The tomb chamber is accessed through the northeast gallery. Plaster panels sit atop the tiled ceramic walls, and the ceiling is painted wood. The room contains the tombs of Sidi Abid and the Hafsid Sultan Mulay Hassan.  

Two smaller courtyards can be accessed from the main courtyard. The contain ablution facilities and student lodging. 

Kairouan, Tunisia
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Associated Names
14th c./second half of the 8th c. AH
17th c./11th c. AH, restored and modified
Style Periods
Variant Names
Sidi Abid al-Ghariani Zawiya
زاوية سيدي عبيد الغرياني
Building Usages