Rugs souks of Kairouan

Rugs souks of Kairouan

The souks of Kairouan located in the Medina of Kairouan, are streets dedicated to trade, distributed by activity, rustle with constant animation. Nearby, in the silent alleys, between the long white walls interspersed with pale blue doors, feminine silhouettes intersect with bands of children with cheerful cries. All around these historic districts, the ramparts of blond brick, crenellated and punctuated by towers and bastions, complete giving the old town a venerable and timeless appearance.

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Kairouan Capet during manufacture with alloucha design

The first who organized the Souk in the center of the old Medina of Kairouan (trade and craft corporations) is Yazid Ibn Hatem El Mehallibi (773 AD). He built a Souk for each trade and designated a “Amin” manager by selecting him from among the most qualified traders. The style of management and organization of the Souk is quickly imitated by foreign cities.

The souks of Kairouan are very old and keep their authentic character, despite successive improvements. The souk El Attarine and the souk El Sarrajine date from the 17th century. The Souk des Cordonniers and the Souk des Citernes are from the 18th century. The different souks in Medina Kairouan are:

Souk El Birka (Jewelry)
Souk El Attarine (Perfumes)
Souk El Warrakine (Papers and booksellers)
Souk El Zazzajine (Glass)
Souk El Sarrajine (Horse mounts)
Souk El Nahassine (Copper)
Souk El Zarbia (Carpet)
Souk El Blaghjia (leather)

rugs exposed on handicrafts tunisian international fair

There are a large number of objects produced by very old and very creative crafts. But what has made Kairouan world famous in this area is the knotted stitch carpet. Knotted carpets fall into two main categories: the allouchas are neutral shades: white, brown, black, beige; these are generally the natural colors of wool; polychromes use a varied range of colors. The allouchas are made of high wool; polychromes have a shorter pile.

In the “Zarbia” souk (carpet) held every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday from noon onwards, the sale is made by auction via public “dallal” criers paid by commission (3%) whose prices are auctioned by traders or even users.