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Sahara

Day 7: Fez

Fez, Morocco 
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Worshippers wash before prayer at the Kairouyine Mosque in Fez. Founded in 859, it is one of the largest and finest mosques in North Africa, accomodating 20,000 people. Alongside it is one of the oldest universities in the world (founded 850), and the incomparably rich Kairouyine Library.
Michael Palin - SaharaHis property has a floor space of 22,000 square feet, but it's by no means the largest private house in the medina. Many of them are in poor condition, and it is only over the last three years that there has been much interest in restoring them.

In London, such a mansion would be worth many millions. It cost Fettah £60,000. Abdelfettah is proud of his city. As the craftsman son of a craftsman father, he believes passionately in the preservation of the medina and the traditional styles and skills of the craftsmen within it. He does not see his enthusiasm as narrow or nationalist. Since he and his wife returned here after seven years in England they have welcomed people from twenty-eight different countries to a house which they see as a meeting place for musicians, writers, film-makers and, of course, artists from all over the world.

Off to one side of the property, through small rooms where lunch is being prepared by smiling relatives, is another spacious courtyard with workshops set around it. Among them is Fettah's studio, where he works on elaborate and complex plaster-work decorations.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Sahara
  • Day: 7
  • Country/sea: Morocco
  • Place: Fez
  • Book page no: 39

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