Morocco: Tour of Medina (Fez), part 2
One of the highlights of the medina tour for me is the visit to Attarine Medersa. A medersa or madrasa is a school for Islamic studies. This is going to some sort of photographic post, because no amount of description would fit the exquisite beauty of this place.
The Medersa el-Attarine, in keeping with other Marinid madrasas of Fez, is richly decorated, with the focus being on the rectangular arcaded courtyard. Leading from the courtyard, the entry wall of the prayer room of Medersa el-Attarine has superlative examples of skilful tile cutting. A master tile cutter has cut out the word “Allah” in calligraphic script from a green tile less than two centimeters across and inlaid it in a white tile, with the curving edges of the word and the background fitting perfectly together. Using this work of art as the center, a pattern expands to cover the entire wall. (source)
Fortunately we were the only tour group at the medersa that time. I don't know if that is by design that only one tour group at a time goes in or we just got there really early, but it whatever it was, I was incredibly thankful for.
A specialized technique of tile cutting called “taqshir” or “peeled work” is beautifully displayed at Medersa el-Attarine. This technique involves scraping off the tile glaze in order to leave behind a shiny pattern. This technique is most often used on black glaze with the exposed terracotta base of the tile being allowed to weather naturally, contrasting with the glaze even more beautifully as time goes by.
Apart from the magnificent tile work displayed at Medersa el-Attarine, intricate carved stucco adorns the walls and carved and painted wooden arches frame the doorways with marble columns in strategic places. The courtyard of a medersa is the most public and most decorated area, with the accommodation for the students being almost ascetic in comparison.
The prayer room is just off the courtyard.
If you are like me and adore tiles and tilework, put this in your itinerary when you come to Fez. If you get a guide, I'm sure you'd be taken here. This is a source of pride for Fez.
OUR WORLD TUESDAY