Market, Kairwan, Tunisia
This photochrome print is part of “Views of Architecture and People in Tunisia” from the catalog of the Detroit Photographic Company. It shows a market in Kairwan (present-day al-Qayrawan or Kairouan), a city in central Tunisia located almost equidistant from the sea and the mountains. The town was described in the 1911 edition of Baedeker’s The Mediterranean, Seaports and Sea Routes: Handbook for Travellers as “a town of purely Arabian type, the most curious in Tunisia…the numerous mosques and zaouïas date mostly from the Turkish period. The town holds market for the extensive plain of Kairwan, and the souks are still important, though manufactures have declined.” It was during the Turkish era that “the sacred town, ‘one of the four gates of Paradise,’ which neither Christian nor Jew durst enter, again became the religious center of the land. To spend one’s last days within its walls, and to be buried in hallowed earth outside its gates, seemed to believers the height of bliss.” Souks in the old city featured “the sale of carpets, woolen rugs (margums), etc,” although this had “declined since the vegetable dyes have been superseded by the aniline.” Kairouan is considered by most Muslims the fourth holiest place in the world, and it is now inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The Detroit Photographic Company was launched as a photographic publishing firm in the late 1890s by Detroit businessman and publisher William A. Livingstone, Jr. and photographer and photo-publisher Edwin H. Husher. They obtained the exclusive rights to use the Swiss "Photochrom" process for converting black-and-white photographs into color images and printing them by photolithography. This innovative process was applied to the mass production of color postcards, prints, and albums for sale to the American market. The firm became the Detroit Publishing Company in 1905.
Detroit Photographic Company, Detroit, Michigan
Type of Item
1 photomechanical print : photochrom, color
- Karl Baedeker, The Mediterranean, Seaports and Sea Routes: Handbook for Travellers (London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1911).
- United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), World Heritage Centre, “Kairouan.” http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/499.
Last updated: January 30, 2017