Morocco’s strategy to Enhance and Rehabilitate the Kingdom’s Ancient Medinas, Fez at the Forefront

Berlin, Germany. – In the Framework of Morocco’s strategy to enhance the Kingdom’s ancient medinas (older parts) of various cities, the King of Morocco is launching a new mega program that aims at rehabilitating cities, preserving traditional trades and improving the living conditions of citizens. Last week, The King launched a program to preserve the architectural and historical character of the Medina of Fez and to promote the influence of this millennial city. This new program concerns the restoration and rehabilitation of the historical assets of the medina of Fez (4 sites), the redevelopment and upgrading of urban areas (9 sites), the strengthening of the tourist and economic attractiveness of this Museum City (33 sites), the development of local social facilities (171 sites) and the treatment of buildings at risk of ruin (980 sites).

While in Fez, the King visited the restoration site of Khrachfiyine Foundouq (an inn situated in the heart of the old city), a project that is part of the development program of the Medina of Fez (2018-2023). This restoration project should, at the end of the work, participate in the preservation and development of the historical heritage and the promotion of crafts in the foundouqs as well as improving the working conditions for artisans. In addition to the restoration of the Foundouq, 11 other historic monuments and emblematic sites, 10 places of worship (mosques and Koranic schools), 40 places of well-being (hammams, fountains and health centers), 39 traditional crafts and commercial sites will be restored. Dar Al Makina which receives each year thousands of guests from around the world attending festivals in Fes will also get restored. The aim is to improve the urban landscape and the architectural environment of the Fez Medina.

Always in the context of strengthening the tourist attractiveness of the medina of Fez, a program has been implemented to develop car parks, rehabilitate public spaces and install an information system (2017-2022). This program aims at improving accessibility to the old medina through the development of eight car parks. In addition, the program also consists of the paving the streets and alleys, squares of the Medina as well as the installation of information kiosks for the service of locals and tourists. The rate of progress of the projects for paving streets, alleys, squares is at 44%, squares of the Medina at 74%, and installation of information terminals at 75%.

The City of Fez is 1,200-year-old. It was founded in 789 and is a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1981. Once in Fez, visitors’ senses are stimulated with aromas through its 9,500 alleyways. At the heart of the old city is the Kairaouine university which may be the world’s oldest university—it was established in 859. Given the fact that the medina of Fez has no structure for cars or cranes to access buildings at risk of collapsing, Morocco has been working tirelessly to rehabilitate this architectural jewel. In fact, more than 2,200 buildings at risk have already rehabilitated already. Fez has over 60 seqqâya (public fountains), which testify to the Almoravid dynasty’s clever civil engineers. They diverted rivers, made dams and built an intricate canal network to distribute the water throughout Morocco. The fountains in the medina feature brilliant zellij (tilework).

To Conclude, the Fez medina development program will cost approximately $9.2 million to enhance the touristic appeal of 33 museums and heritage sites in the city.

Friends of Morocco is a nonprofit organization with branches around the world. The main objective is to promote Morocco and to build bridges and connect people who have fallen in Love with this country, adopted its culture and made it their 2nd home.

Elle P. Wolfgang
Friends of Morocco
Berlin, Germany