|The Magnificent city of Fez|
Twin cities or Sister cities have always been a cute idea, but does it produce any real benefits? The Mayor of Fez seems to thinks so. Last Thursday he wrapped up a visit to Kairouan in Tunisia, by saying that he was determined to revive the sister city relations ship with Kairouan
In his remarks Hamid Chabat said he wanted to revive the relationship between the two cities by concluding a cooperation agreement. The agreement would focus on the preservation of heritage architecture and culture as well as music and liturgical singing.
|Kairouan in Tunisia|
Fez has had a twin city relationship with Kairouan since 1965, but it has lapsed over the years into a symbolic rather than dynamic relationship.
|Al-Karaouine in Fez|
The relationship is far older. The medieval university Al-Karaouine is part of the mosque, founded in 859 by Fatima al-Fihria, the daughter of a wealthy merchant named Mohammed Al-Fihri. The Al-Fihri family had migrated from Kairouan (hence the name of the mosque), Tunisia to Fes in the early 9th century, joining a community of other migrants from Kairouan who had settled in a western district of the city. Fatima and her sister Mariam, both of whom were well educated, inherited a large amount of money from their father.
Fatima vowed to spend her entire inheritance on the construction of a mosque suitable for her community. In addition to a place for worship, the mosque soon developed into a place for religious instruction and political discussion, gradually extending its education to a broad range of subjects, particularly the natural sciences.
Given the history between the two cities it is to be hoped the modern relationship can be revived and based on something more mainstream than liturgical singing.
Just for the record Fez is twinned with:
- Montpellier, France, since 1961
- Strasbourg, France, since 1961
- Florence, Italy, since 1961
- Kairouan, Tunisia, since 1965
- Saint Louis, Senegal, since 1979
- Córdoba, Andalusia, Spain, since 1982
- Jerusalem, since 1982. (The twinning was signed with the Palestinian Authority)
- İzmir, Turkey, since 1995
- Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso, since 2003
- Suwon, South Korea, since 2003
- Coimbra, Portugal
- Lahore, Pakistan
- Puebla, Mexico