Zaouia of Sidi Sahab

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This is the burial place of Abou Djama el Balaoui, one of Mohammed’s companions. He always carried three hairs from Prophet’s beard and was called the ‘Barber’. It is to the north west of the Medina.

The original tomb was 7thC but most of building is 17thC, when accommodation for pilgrims, a medersa and mosque were added.

From the outside it is a very plain brick building with the top of the minaret peeping out above the walls and a white painted mausoleum at one end. A warehouse on the left of the entry was used to store gifts. Above are apartments of commander in charge of tax collection and guests.

A doorway leads into a large courtyard with decorative tiles, carved white stucco and minaret in one corner. Guest rooms were on the far walls. The other smaller rooms were student cells. A small doorway in the corner by the minaret leads into a passageway with a tiled vestibule and more carved stucco. At the far end is a small room with carved stucco and a small cupola with small pieces of coloured glass. In the sunlight these cast coloured patterns on the walls. This leads into a smaller courtyard with pillars, tiles and stucco. Round it are rooms where male children are brought to be circumcised.

The tomb is on the opposite wall and only muslims allowed in. We peered through doorway to see the tomb covered with green cloth. A wooden doorway leads into the Court of the Medersa which is lined with small study rooms and a Prayer Hall on one side. Next to it, the tiled entrance hall had niches below a tiled shelf for shoes.

Interesting and worthwhile visit.

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