Fez : The imperial City


We propose to our conference participants a cultural trip over 1000 years human history

The imperial city is the capital of traditional Moroccan culture. Cradle of knowledge, for which its superb medersas are a flamboyant symbol. A medersa is a school where the Koran is taught along with all the classic subject of learning: mathematics, grammar, history, astronomy, medicine. In Morocco, and especially in Fez, medersas have the important role of integrating students from other regions. Generally they are built around a central courtyard with a fountain. Classes are held under the sumptuous arcades bordering it. The Karaouiyine mosque is one of the most imposing in Morocco. It houses a university which is thought to be the oldest in the world and which was founded in the middle of the 9th century at a time when theology, grammar and Koranic law were the basic subjects taught. The El-Attarine medersa, situated opposite it, is considered to be the most beautiful in the medina.

Karaouine Mosque

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For well over twelve hundred years Al-Qarawiyyin has been one of the leading spiritual and educational centres of the Muslim World, a typical institution, of many, underlining how learning constituted the heart of the religion of Islam and its civilisation. The story of its foundation is also revealing. It was founded in 859 C.E., by a young princess named Fatima Al-Fihri who migrated with her father Mohammed Al-Fihri form Qayrawan (Tunisia) to Fes. The family joined a community of other migrants from Qayrawan "Qayrawaniyyins", who settled in a western district of Fes. Fatima and her sister Mariam, who were well educated and brought up with religious devotion, inherited a large amount from their father who was a successful businessman. Fatima vowed to spend her entire inheritance on building a mosque suitable for her community. This remarkable story is a typical example shedding some light on the role and contribution of women in Muslim civilisation. Such a role is the subject of widely held misconceptions about Islam.


Bou Inania

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The Madrasa Bou Inania is a madrasa in Fes, Morocco, founded by Abu Inan Faris.It is widely acknowledged as an excellent example of Marinid architecture. The name Bou Inania comes from the first part of the sultan's name Abou Inan. The madrasa functioned both as an educational institute and as a congregational mosque. This is the only madrasa in Fes with a minaret. Opposite the main doorway of the madrasa is the entrance to the ablutions house for washing limbs and face before prayers. Left and right of the central court there are classrooms. According to history, religious leaders of the Karaouine Mosque advised Abu Inan Faris to build this madrasa. It was the last madrasa to be built by the Marinids. The madrasa became one of the most important religious institutions of Fes and Morocco, and gained the status of Grand Mosque. The madrasa was renovated in the 18 th century. During the reign of Sultan Mulay Sliman, entire sections were reconstructed. In the 20th century, major restoration work was performed on the load-bearing structure, the plaster, wood and tiled decorations with Islamic geometric patterns. The madrasa is one of the few religious places in Morocco that is accessible for non-Islamic visitors. Opposite the Madrasa Bou Inania is the Dar al-Magana, a wall with a hydraulic clock that was built in conjunction to the madrasa.


The museum Nejjarine

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Opened in 1998, this museum is in a wonderfully restored funduq for travelling merchants who stored and sold their goods below and took lodgings on the floors above. Centred on a courtyard, the rooms are given over to displays of traditional artefacts of its craftsmen tools, chunky prayer beads and Berber locks, chests and musical instruments (compare the traditional wedding furniture with the modern glitzy chairs outside in Pl an-Nejjarine). Everything is beautifully presented, although the stunning building gives the exhibits a run for their money. The rooftop cafe has great views over the medina. Photography is forbidden.


The Museum of Arms - Borj Nord

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This old XVIth century fortress close to the ramparts remains true to its military tradition since it has been transformed into the Weapons Museum. The collections have been built up mainly as a result of royal donations and include a number of rare pieces. Weapons specialists will appreciate the development of techniques while art lovers will be impressed by the splendour of the objects. Live the golden age of weaponry: everyhting is on display here, from the pre-historic axe to the modern rifle. And every civilisation is represented: Indian, European or Asiatic. However, the finest exhibits are undoubtedly Moroccan: the daggers encrusted with stones or the rifles with their inlaid butts - and there can be no question as to the most imposing piece of all - its size and weight speak volumes! A canon 5 metres long and weighing 12 tons, used during the Battle of the Three Kings.


Riad Palais Ommeyad Hotel *****

Adress : Zekkak Er Roumane, Fez, Morocco

Phone :+212 5356-38718


Merinides Hotel *****

Adress : Douar El Magta, Fez, Morocco

Phone :+212 5356-45226


Ibis Hotel ***

Adress : Avenue des Almohades, Place de la Gare, Fez, Morocco

Phone :+212 532-110282


Mounia Hotel ***

Adress : Ville Nouvelle, Fez, Morocco

Phone :+212 5356-50773


Pickalbatros Royal Mirage Fes Hotel ****

Adress : Avenue Des Far, 30000 , Fez, Morocco

Phone :+212 5359-30909


Ramada Hotel ***

Adress : Avenue des Forces Armées Royales , Fez, Morocco

Phone :+212 5359-48000


Zahrat Al Jabal Hotel ***

Adress : Avenue des Forces Armèes Royales , Fez, Morocco

Phone :+212 5359-44646