Republic of Tunisia
Ministry of Cultural Affairs



The Mausoleum of Abu Zamaa al-Balawi

This zawiya (oratory) was erected in memory of the great companion of the Prophet of Islam Muhammad, Abu Zamaa al-Balawi, who died in battle in the year 34 AH / 654 CE, while fighting the Byzantine armies near Ain Jallula. Abu Zamaa was buried at the site of Kairouan before its foundation. It is reported that this companion was carrying a few hair of the Messenger of God, which was buried with him in the same tomb. It seems that the construction of the sanctuary dates back to the Hafsid period. Hammuda Pasha, the second bey of the Mouradite dynasty, added the madrasa (Koranic school) in 1072 AH / 1661 AD. In AH 1092 / AD 1681, his grandson Muhammad bin Murad renovated the building.

The mausoleum consists of the following elements:

1- A warehouse where materials and products collected from  waqfs ( religious endowments) and donations were kept.

2- The flat above the warehouse, which was reserved for the pasha and was used by the person in charge of collecting taxes; 

3- The madrasa, adjoining the warehouse and notable by its deep rectangular prayer hall, which consists of three naves and six bays with the mihrab at the centre, topped by a dome on fluted trumpets. The madrasa features two courtyards, one of which is surrounded by galleries on all four sides, around which are arranged the rooms formerly intended for students and nowadays for visitors. At the northeast corner rises a minaret with Hispanic- Moorish influences. Its upper storey is occupied by a twin horseshoe apertures framed with earthenware facing. The top of the minaret is crowned with   stepped merlons, reminiscent those of the minaret of the Kasbah mosque in Tunis; in contrast to the typical Kairouani minarets featuring rounded merlons

4 - The mausoleum, is accessed through an elbowed entrance clad with Tunisian ceramic tiles, leading to a vestibule which opens onto a room surmounted by a dome decorated with sculpted stucco in the Andalusian style, which precedes the large courtyard used for holding various rituals. This courtyard is surrounded by porticoes; its walls are paneled with polychrome ceramic tiles, topped with sculpted stuco panels. As for the funerary chamber of Abu Zamaa, it  a square room surmounted by a dome painted with modern plant and geometric motifs (13th  century AH- 20th  century AD). The sanctuary of the Prophet's companion, Abu Zamaa al-Balawi, highlights the great harmony between its different architectural components and the splendor of the ornamentation and reflects the new influences on Tunisian architecture, i.e., on the one hand, the Turkish influence, and on the other, Byzantine and Andalusian influences . The latest were brought here through the forced migration of the Andalusian human element. These influences are mixed with the local heritage left by the Kairouani school of architecture. Abu Zamaa al-Balawi is considered the most venerated and visited holy figure by Tunisians, who flock to the shrine from all over the country. His shrine hosts marriage contract and circumcision ceremonies, and receives the first carpet woven by the young Kairouani girl.



To see

- Sidi Amor Abada Mausoleum

- Aghlabid Basins

- Sidi Sahbi Mausoleum

- Sidi Abid Mausoleum

- Raqqada Museum


Winter timing: 08:00 - 15:00

Summer timing: 07:30 - 14:00

Ramadan timing: 08:00 -14:00

Visit Cost

Resident: Free

Non-resident: 12 Dt


Grouped ticket

Friday until 13:00


- Sanitary Facilities

- Shop



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