The Great Mosque at Kairouan was built in the 800s AD,
in the time of the Abbasid Empire.
This was the same time as the reign of Charlemagne.
But the mosque at Kairouan was much grander than anything being built
in Europe at this time. It was more on the same scale as the Chola temples in South India.
These are some more pictures of the mosque at Kairouan. Here you can see the columns of the peristyle that goes around the big courtyard. A lot of the columns were taken from old Roman buildings, to show that the Islamic rulers had defeated the Romans. Can you see that the arches come in again at the bottom a little like a keyhole? The Visigoths in Spain invented this kind of arch, and then when the Umayyads conquered Spain, the use of this keyhole arch spread all around the Mediterranean Sea.
This is the entrance to the prayer hall of the Kairouan mosque. All the men go inside this hall to pray kneeling on prayer rugs on the floor, and to hear sermons given by the imam. When men are not praying, sometimes this room is used for a school. Women, and men who are not Muslims, are not allowed inside the prayer hall.