Tuesday, April 16, 2019

King Mohammed VI Visits Fez

King Mohammed VI visited, on April 15, several projects carried out as part of the rehabilitation and enhancement programs of the old medina of Fes, and proceeded to the launch of the restoration work of the museum "Al Batha" and of construction of a museum of Jewish culture
Crowds gathering in Rcif for the King's visit

The area around Rcif was under lock-down yesterday in preparation for the visit of Morocco's King. Crowds began to assemble three to four hours before the scheduled visit. Bus loads of soldiers, security police and Royal Gendarmes arrived and took up positions along the route.

Sadly, for those who waited so long there was only the briefest of glimpses as the King's motorcade drove by.

Security was tight as the King's motorcade approached

His Majesty went on to visit or launch projects intended to preserve the national heritage and to promote the influence of the thousand year old city of Fez.

The projects aim to ensure sustainable and responsible development of quality tourism with high human and cultural value, to improve the quality of life of residents, to preserve the urban and architectural character and enhance the heritage, tangible and intangible, of the spiritual capital of the Kingdom.

The sovereign visited Hammam Seffarine, restored by the Ministry of Habous and Islamic Affairs for a total budget of 9.6 million dirhams, and Fondouk Staouniyine, whose rehabilitation work required investments of 50 million dirhams. dirhams (financed as part of a partnership between Morocco and the United States through the Millennium Challenge Account (MCC) with a contribution of about 50 pc of the budget) and enabled the conversion of Fondouk into an Innovation Centre and site for the exchange of ideas dedicated to weaving trades.

King Mohammed VI

Mohammed VI also visited the development project of the handicraft and entertainment complex Place Lalla Yeddouna, at a cost of 333 million dirhams financed under the same partnership, to which the MCC contributed 105 million dirhams.

This project involved the rehabilitation of 11 traditional buildings, the construction of 7 new ones, the development of the Oued El Jawahir River and outdoor spaces, and the restoration of the historic Bin Lamdoune Bridge. Of the 18 buildings in this complex, only one is still unfinished and should be ready by the end of the current month. The delay recorded is due to archaeological finds.

The king also visited the Lalla Yeddouna Heritage and Information Centre "Fes: Heritage Centre" (500,000 DH), a space for communication and public awareness of the importance and the heritage value of the Medina of Fez, as well as on the various actions and initiatives undertaken for the safeguarding of this Cité musée.

Subsequently, the king proceeded to the launch of the restoration work of the museum "Al Batha" (15.6 million dirhams) and construction in Fez Jdid of a museum of the Jewish culture (10 million dirhams).

These two projects are part of the complementary program to develop the Medina of Fez 2018-2023 which mobilises investments in the order of 583 million dirhams and whose agreement was signed in front of the King on May 14 2018 at the Royal Palace in Rabat. This program provides for the restoration of 11 historic monuments and emblematic sites, 10 places of worship (mosques and Koranic schools), 37 places of well-being (hammams, fountains and sanitary facilities), the rehabilitation of 39 craft sites and traditional trade, improving the urban landscape and the built environment (15 sites), as well as the rehabilitation of Dar Al Makina.

The motorcade sails past Cinema Amal in Rcif

Also in the context of strengthening the tourist attractiveness of the medina of Fes and improving the living conditions of its inhabitants, a program of development of car parks, rehabilitation of public spaces, and installation of an information device is being produced.

This program, with an overall budget of 400 million dirhams, aims to improve accessibility to the old medina through the development of eight car parks (Bab El Hamra, Bab Jdid, Bin Lamdoune, Oued Ezzhoun , Bab El Kissa, Ain Azelitine, Bab Boujloud, Sidi Bounafaâ) with a capacity of nearly 3,200 places, paving roads (23 km), addressing streets, alleys, squares and plots in the Medina of Fez and installation of information kiosks serving residents, visitors and tourists.

The work on the Bab El Kissa and Bin Lamdoune car parks has already begun, while the development projects for the Bab Boujloud, Sidi Bounafa, Bab Jdid and Ain Azelitine car parks are in the award phase. The bidding documents for the award of the contracts for the parking of Bab El Hamra and Oued Ezzhoun are in the preparation phase.


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