We have to go back to Spain in the early 17th century. With the Reconquesta Spain should once and for all get rid of its past of Muslim dominance. All people that were Muslims, or who belonged to a family that had been Jewish or Muslim some generations ago,- and you could never know if they still practiced their old religion in secrecy,- well they had all to leave holy Spain.

New communities popped up in North Africa following this. The land of Testour was granted the unwilling immigrants, those who could not afford to resettle in chic Tunis, in 1609.

The people started immediately to reshape the styles and shapes they were used to. Testour has not lost its old touch, and few places in Tunisia even comes close, in reminding you of the best of Andalucian Spain.

The Great Mosque was put up with all that should demonstrate the pride of the refugees. But Testour was not only a Muslim town, and was deep into the 20th century a town with a sizeable Jewish community and had a pilgrimage at the tomb of Rabbi Fraji Chawat attended by Jews from all over Tunisia.

Great mosque 

The minaret of the Great Mosque is really quite interesting, holding a number of details that tell each their story. The most noteworthy detail is the two David stars on the eastern side. I assume that these were an expression of the unity between Muslims and Jews after their expulsion from Andalucia.

The minaret is also said to be the only one in the world with a clock. That is not really true, as the holiest Shi’a mosques of Iraq have clocks on all sides of their secondary minarets.

The clock has its numbers symbolically placed backward, expressing the wish of the locals to turn back the clock, to the times when they lived in Andalucia. It is right below the two windows and has no longer any hands (top photo).

Also note the technique of using rubble stone in parts of the facade, surrounded by rectangular bricks. This is a style originating from Toledo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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