It is the navel of the city of Tunis, the nucleus around which the city as we know it today has developed.
It is said that originally there was the retreat of a Christian monk and that near this retreat there was an olive tree, hence the name of the sanctuary: jemaâ ez Zitouna or mosque of the Olivier. The foundation of it is very exactly dated: the year 732 of the Christian era; but the mosque was rebuilt in the middle of the 9th century. Since then, it has undergone several redevelopments, each dynasty seeking to improve the aesthetics or the functioning of what some consider to be the first Islamic university, and the last intervention dates back to the 19th century with the remodeling of the high minaret. 44 meters.
As a result, this monument reflects in its own way the evolution of the art of building in this country since the early Middle Ages, and even higher if we consider the ancient re-use materials integrated into the building, such as a few carved marble lintels or the forest of columns and capitals which support the ceiling of the prayer hall where the courtyards of the exterior galleries, for the most part, from the Roman and Byzantine period.
In addition to the prayer hall, the courtyard and the courtyards that surround it and give access to the monument – which constitutes the central body of the building – the Zitouna mosque has been equipped with annexes and outbuildings, such as the mîdha, for ablutions, or the library, founded in 1450.