History of the Kairaouine Mosque in Fes, Morocco

Kairaouine Mosque in Fes

The Kairaouine Mosque in Fes has a fascinating history. Built in 859 by the daughter of a wealthy merchant originating from Tunisia, this religious site has been the gathering point of the Muslim community over centuries.

History of the Kairaouine Mosque

In the early 9th century, the family of Fatima Al-Fihri decided to move from the Tunisian town of Kairouan to Fes. She and her sister Mariam were well-educated and religiously devoted. After the death of their father, they were left with considerable wealth which Fatima vowed to use for the construction of a mosque in the dedication of her home city and dedicated to serving the Tunisian community in the region. Fatima is said to have been an extraordinary woman with a strong spirit and remarkable determination. Under her guidance, in the Fes medina, they built the Kairaouine Mosque also known as Al-Qarawiyyin Mosque.

Kairaouine Mosque in Fes
Kairaouine Mosque in Fes

Construction of the Kairaouine MosqueAn intriguing fact is that the Mosque was under reconstruction in the 10th century during the rule of Abd Er Rahman III, the Caliph of Cordoba, and under the Almoravids during the 12th century. The long years of construction, reconstructions, and developments have left a specific architectural trace that is visible in every detail. There are various types of Moroccan woodcarvings, plasterwork, and paintings.

The Kairaouine Mosque has two minarets – the original and the Burj an-Naffara. The original minaret is considered the oldest Islamic monument in Fes, dating from 956, and is one of the Islamic heritage sites. In the middle of the courtyard are a large fountain and two smaller ones which construction was inspired by the Alhambra at Granada, Spain.
The Karaouine Mosque is the second largest mosque in Morocco after the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca.

Visit the Kairaouine Mosque in Fes

If you are interested in a guided tour of the Al-Qarawiyyin Mosque in Fes, our travel experts are happy to assist you to plan an unforgettable Morocco tour.

About the author

Kevin Dyck is the founder of Mosaic North Africa and has over 11 years experience living in North African countries. He is an Arabic speaker with a passion for travelers to encounter the diverse cultures and natural beauty found throughout the North Africa region. He currently lives in and works for MNA from Tunis, Tunisia.

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