Bou Inania Madrasa

The Medersa Bou Inania in Fez is one of the two Koranic schools to be seen in Fez, the religious capital of Morocco (the other is the Medersa Attarine which we have already mentioned). Along with the Ben Yousef medersa in Marrakech are the three most beautiful in Morocco. And the truth is that although they are very similar between them, it is worth visiting them all.

Bou Inania Madrasa

The Medersa Bou Inania in Fez is located in the old city of the city. That is, in the medina, which is the most interesting place in the city and where it is worth having the accommodation (for example, in some of the best riad of Fez, authentic palaces converted into hotels with charm and very good price).

The Medersa Bou Inania in Fes was inaugurated in 1350. That is to say, it is contemporary with the Attarine Medersa. It was a moment of religious boom in the city, where several Koranic schools and mosques were built. This medersa was built by order of Sultan Abu Inan Faris, who had risen to the throne in 1348 and was part of the dynasty of the Benimerines or Marinids.

The construction materials are very similar to those of other buildings of this type, with wood, glazed tiles and plasterwork of the most worked. The different rooms of the madrasa open up around the porticoed patios. The lower part of the columns are decorated with tiles, while the upper part, stucco was used, which was given geometrical forms. The whole iconographic program is quite reminiscent of that used by the different Andalusian dynasties in the south of the Iberian Peninsula, so that at times we will think we have been transported to Granada.

The minaret of the Bou Inania mosque is also decorated with glazed tiles, making it one of the brightest lighthouses in the Fez sky. Right in the center of the central courtyard of the Bou Inania mosque in Fez is an ablution fountain. Today, this fountain is still in use, as the mosque of the medersa is still a place of worship where the faithful come to pray. In fact, this area of the Bou Inania cannot be visited because it is reserved for Muslims. However, it is possible to visit the rest of the medersa which is open to the general public, as one more monument.

Where is the Bou Inania Medersa in Fez and how to visit it.

The Bou Inania de Fes Medersa is located in the old city. That is, in the medina. Specifically, in Talaa Kebira Street, just 2 minutes walk from one of the gates to the medina: the Bab Boujloud or Blue Gate of Fez. In fact, one of the most typical pictures of Fez is the one that allows to frame the Bab Boujloud door in such a way that the minaret of the Bou Inania medersa can be seen through its arch.

The general schedule to visit the Bou Inania Medersa is from Saturday to Thursday, from 9:00 to 18:00 (Friday, the sacred day for Muslims, is closed). In addition, it is not possible to visit the Bou Inania Medersa in Fez during prayer hours, although as they usually last a few minutes, waiting a little is usually enough.

The price to visit the Medersa Bou Inania is 10 dirham.

The truth is that if you are going to visit Fez it is worth visiting the two Koranic schools, both the Medersa Attarine, which we have already talked about, and this Medersa Bou Inania, which is very similar, but with its particularities.

More History

The Medersa Bou Inania, inaugurated in 1350, is one of the Koranic schools of higher studies that also served as residences.

Once inside the courtyard of the Medersa of Bou Inania, the walls carved by hand with great precision on stucco and wood are striking. The lower part of the walls is covered with small tiles that compose an infinity of geometric motifs.

Unlike the other medersas, the ablutions fountain in the courtyard is still in use by the hundreds of faithful who continue to come for prayer.

From the outside, one of the most striking features is its tower which, like the rest of the roof, is covered with bright green tiles that reflect the sunlight during sunlight hours.

The Medersa Bou Inania was renovated in the eighteenth century and later in the twentieth century, so that today is one of the best preserved of the medina, able to testify to the wealth of the ancient city of Fez.

Some parts of Bou Inania can not be visited as it still continues to exercise its functions as a mosque but, despite this, it is one of the best that can be seen in the city, along with the Medersa Attarine.

The Bou Inania Madrasa is characterized by its minaret, its faience mosaics and its fabulous carved cedar wood ceiling.

Legend has it that when Sultan Abou Inan was given the bill for the very high bill of the madrasa, he replied that he was satisfied with the result, that beauty is never expensive and threw the bill into the Fez River.

Next to the Bou Inania Madrasa in a building called “Dar al-Magana” is a clepsydra or water clock built in 1357.

It consists of 13 wooden beams coming out from under 13 windows, behind the facade are hidden cylinders filled with water, drainage valves and wooden floats. Unfortunately, it has not been working for centuries.

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