Monday, March 12, 2012

Fez And Her Sister Cities

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:



Anonymous said...

Are there not ruined rooftops in Fez and attractive views in Kairouna? Very one-sided photographically, and a bit of a put-down to the twin city.

Fatima Zohra said...

Well! Surprise! Here is anonymous again with snide comments! The photographs look fine to my sister and me. Twin cities are usually a joke, but good if they can turn this into something practical! wa barakallahu fik!