Doors in the Fez Medina often give little indication of what lies behind. For the last seven or eight years a much photographed door on a street in R'cif has been shut. Today, for the first time, our photographer found it open and stepped inside
The building is located just before Seffarine Square and is right on the banks of Oued Fez that have been undergoing reconstruction for the last year.
Inside, there is little evidence of the use of the building except for a few chairs and tables that appear to have been used as a restaurant. What is interesting about the building is that it has many rooms, similar to a medrassa and the woodwork, on the stairs, second level balconies and ceilings is in very good condition.
An internal wall fountain is in superb condition, while an outdoor courtyard has a fountain in a need of rescuing.
A local shopkeeper claimed the building was an artisan training centre, however there was no sign of that on the inside. So, for the moment, the building, it's history and future are something of a mystery.
|The reconstruction work on Oued Fez seen from the window of the building|
|Much of the spacious interior is in good condition|
|The outdoor space and wall fountain|
|Detail of one of the ceilings|
|Interior wall fountain|
|Signs of habitation - the tables had been cleaned recently|
|Fine woodwork on the second level|
The View from Fez welcomes any further information about the building.
According to one of our readers, it is the Medersa al Mohamedia built under Mohammed V to protect and shelter lonely women. It is not a restaurant. It is for women, so that they learn how to read and write, count etc. Its everything but not a mysterious unknown building !
David says: "According to this website the date is 1359 H or 1940 AD. But what I've always heard is that it was a Merinid medersa that was restored (or largely rebuilt) by Mohammed V. The beautiful monumental entrance looks Merinid to me, but it would be embarrassing if it was really from 1940! I will ask Hammad Berrada, who is finishing his book on medersas in Morocco.