Khizanat al Qarawiyyin in Fes, is the oldest library in the world. It was founded by a woman and is being renovated by a woman. Al Quaraouiyine was built in 859 AD by Fatima al Fihri, and is believed to be one of the oldest universities in the world. It now operates as a mosque and cannot be entered by non-Muslims.
It was recently renovated, in 2016, and over 4000 books were released to the public, including a 9th-century Quran and a 10th-century account of Prophet Muhammad’s life. In charge of the restoration is Aziza Chaouniand her dream team. The tasks they had were incredibly hard, such as rebuilding the library’s foundations, installing a new sewage system, and re-tiling the spectacular green roof.
High-profile scholars traveled from all over the world to be able to study at this university, which is tucked away within the narrow walls of the Fez medina.
In ancient times, Al-Qarawiyyin University played a crucial role in the exchange of culture and knowledge between Muslims and Europeans.
Today, it is no longer a working university but a holy mosque instead, where many Muslims traveling to Morocco choose to stop at. It features beautiful Andalusian carved wood-as it was inspired by La Mezquita de Córdoba stunning marble fountains in the center, and an open rooftop that lets the sun shine in.
It has been over 1200 years since Al-Qarawiyyin was first built, and it is definitely a must-see when visiting Fez, due to the impressive handmade artwork and endless history this university holds.
You can also get a perfect view of the mosque courtyard from the rooftops of nearby restaurants in the Medina.