The imperial city is the capital of traditional Moroccan culture. Cradle of knowledge, for which its superb medersas are a flamboyant symbol. Fès, handicraft capital, can be proud of possessing a genuine artistic know-how for ceramic, woodworking and copperware crafts.
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 Fès, 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 oldest university
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.
The Merenids built this masterpiece between 1323 and 1325. Its central courtyard is magnificently decorated. Its walls are covered with sura engraved in wood or plaster. The fountain and marble columns are embellished with zellige (tiled mosaic).
This medersa, built between 1350 and 1357, is the biggest in Fès . Pass through the magnificent entrance with its heavy copper work doors, and then be impressed by the abundance of earthenware, the refinement of the sculptured wood and plaster and the chiselled stalactites called mukarnas, the hallmark of Merenid architecture. A canopy of typical Fès green tiles surmounts the onyx and marble courtyard.