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The Medrassas of the Medina Tunis

Appeared in Tunisia during the Hafsid period, from the 13th century, the madrasah provides two essential functions: accommodation for students and teaching which takes place in a prayer room belonging to the building. Generally, the construction of madrasahs results from the generosity of sovereigns or pious patrons. The main components of the Madrasah are: a prayer room which is the most important element of the building because it is used both for worship and for teaching, a courtyard (very often framed by porticoes) which constitutes the space around which the arrangement of the various elements of the building is organized, cells or small rooms intended for student accommodation and finally an ablutions' room generally occupying a small space in the building.

In the Medina of Tunis, it is possible to distinguish two types of mederassas: those built under the Hafsid dynasty are characterized by the preeminence of their functionality over the architectural and decorative aspect; most of them are buildings of great simplicity, devoid of ornamentation except for the use of a few marble columns and the use of well-cut limestone for the frames of the doors and windows21. The El Mountaciriya Madrasah and the Ech Chamaiya Madrasah (Ech Chamaiya Impasse) are good examples.

In opposition to the austerity of the Hafsid madrasahs, those built in the Beylical period (mainly in the 17th and 18th centuries) are characterized by a greater extent in terms of architecture, resulting first in the treatment of the facade. Exterior carefully decorated: monumental doors and large windows framed with moldings. Added to this is the refinement of the central courtyard surrounded by porticoes and the importance given to the prayer room, which constitutes a hypostyle space covered with cross vaults resting on marble columns21. The medersas El Bachia (rue des Libraires), Mouradiyya (souk of Cloths) and Slimania are typical examples.

Medersa Al Khaldounia (souk El Attarine)

Medersa Al Husseiniya Al Kubra (rue Sidi Essourdou)

Medersa Al Husseiniya Al Sughra (rue Tourbet El Bey)

Medersa Andaloussiya (Errakah street)

Madrasa Bir Lahjar (El Bacha street)

Medersa El Achouria (corner of rue Haouanet Achour and rue Sidi Brahim)

Medersa of the Teinturiers (rue des Teinturiers)

Medersa Ennakhla (rue des Libraires)

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