Al-Qarauin University
Morocco, Fez

The oldest permanent university in the world (according to UNESCO and the Guinness Book of Records) - Al-Karaouin University is located in the Moroccan city of Fes. Al-Karauin dates back to 859, since the construction of a mosque called Al-Karauin on this site. The mosque was erected at the expense of Fatima al-Fihri, the daughter and heiress of a wealthy merchant who moved with his family from Kairouan (Tunisia) to Morocco and settled in Fez. A mosque was founded at the mosque - a Muslim educational institution and a theological seminary, which, using the patronage of the Moroccan sultans, began to develop rapidly. Already in the XII century, Al-Karaouin became the most important religious, social and spiritual-educational center in the Arab West. In the years 1135-1142, the Al-Karaouin mosque was significantly rebuilt - arcade galleries were completed, the prayer hall was expanded, a transept passage leading to the mihrab was built in the center of the mosque. The domes, arches and upper parts of the walls were decorated with decorative patterns in the style of Moorish art of the Almoravid era. Sultan Ali presented the mosque with a luxurious minbar (pulpit) - one of the best examples of wood carving and inlay in the Arab world. With the advent of the Almohad dynasty, many decorations and decorative elements were painted over (the Almohads, ardent opponents of the Almoravids, considered the magnificent decoration of the building a manifestation of unnecessary luxury). In the 14th century, during the Marinid dynasty, dormitories in the Moorish style (a synthesis of Moroccan and Andalusian architectural styles) were built around the mosque. In the XV-XVI centuries, according to eyewitnesses, Al-Karauin impressed with its size and magnificent lighting - 900 lamps were lit every night in the mosque (one in each arch), the transept was illuminated with large bronze chandeliers, each with 1,500 candles. At the end of the 16th - beginning of the 17th centuries, during the reign of the Saadid dynasty, two graceful pavilions, covered with emerald green tiles, decorated with carved cornices from Lebanese cedar and delicate plaster, were erected on the ends of the courtyard, fountains with drinking water were installed inside the pavilions. At the same time, an ablution fountain with a large marble bowl appeared in the center of the courtyard; an aivan (arched gallery) was added to the prayer hall. The prayer hall of the mosque can simultaneously accommodate more than 20,000 people; on the outside, a memorial mosque is attached to it, connected to the prayer hall by three aisles. Next to the memorial mosque is the university library, founded in 1349. In the Middle Ages, Al-Qarauin University became one of the most important spiritual and educational centers of the Islamic world, played a huge role in the development of cultural ties between Christian Europe and the Muslim East. The university is associated with the names of many prominent Arab scholars and philosophers - Abu Imran al-Farsi, Ibn Arabi, Ibn Khaldun, Al-Idrisi, Maimonides, Leo African and others. In Al-Karaouine, not only Muslims studied, Pope Sylvester II, the Dutch orientalist and mathematician Jacob Vann Gol, the Flemish philologist and traveler Nicolas Klenard studied in its walls. In addition to theology, al-Karaouine studied grammar, rhetoric, logic, medicine, mathematics, astronomy, chemistry, history, geography, foreign languages and music. Al-Karaouin was integrated into the public education system in 1947, and in 1963 the madrasah was officially renamed Al-Karaouine University.

Tourist Objects nearby
Bordy Nord Weapon Museum
Bordy Nord Weapon Museum
Bath Museum
Bath Museum
Related Tour Objects
Buildings
Educational institutions
House - Museum of Yeghishe Charents
House - Museum of Yeghishe Charents
Buildings