The Great Mosque of Kairouan, Tunisia, contains the world’s oldest complete minaret. It was largely built in the ninth century AD and completed by 836. It is 31.5 m (103.35 ft) high and rests on a square base measuring 10.7 x 10.7 m (35.1 x 35.1 ft).
This mosque is also known as the Mosque of Uqba.Established by the Arab general Uqba ibn Nafi in the year 50 AH (670AD/CE) at the founding of the city of Kairouan, the mosque occupies an area of over 9,000 square metres (97,000 sq ft). It is one of the oldest places of worship in the Islamic world, and is a model for all later mosques in the Maghreb. Its perimeter, of about 405 metres (1,329 ft), contains a hypostyle prayer hall, a marble-paved courtyard and a square minaret.
In addition to its spiritual prestige, the Mosque of Uqba is one of the masterpieces of Islamic architecture, notable among other things for the first Islamic use of the horseshoe arch.
Extensive works under the Aghlabids two centuries later (9th Cent.AD/CE) gave the mosque its present aspect. The university, consisting of scholars who taught in the mosque, was a centre of education both in Islamic thought and in the secular sciences. Its role at the time can be compared to that of the University of Paris in the Middle Ages.