Fes is the first Stage Caravane Route

Leo notes

Caravan notes

Cristel notes

In his description of Fes, Leo highlights the city's cultural and intellectual heritage. In some ways, his attachment to the city's education and governemnt facilities is puzzling, given the city's slow demise, since its powerful heights in the XIVth century. Perhaps this nostaliga is testimony of his affection for a community he not only grew up in, but that welcomed his family amongst the many refugees fleeing Christian Granada.

As a Fassi student, Leo probably spent his days between the medersa- where he lived and studied-, the Quaraouiyine university-where he listened to world famous 'oulamas'-and the Sidi Frej Maristane-where he worked. Here are a few locations Leo could have led you to, on his tour of the medina

1. The medersa
    Most of Fes' medersas were built during the Merinide dynasty. These were educational institutions teaching the religious and legal principles embraced by the Merinide sultans, thus forming employees for the Fassi state.
    In Leo's days, the Merinides had recently been replaced by the Wattasides, a dynasty whose intellectual legacy was quite poor. By then, the medersas has lost some of their political clout and prestige, though they continued to form government officials.
    As a student in one of the Fes medersas, Leo would have studied both religious and 'profane' sciences: theology and mathematics. He may have lived in one of the building's tiny student rooms. Students traveled from everywhere in the Maghreb and beyond to find a place in one of these medersas, hoping to study their way into the Quaraouiyine University: only the most gifted were given free room and board in one of the medersas.

The Attarine Medersa in the Fes medina

2. The Quaraouiyine University:
World renown, this university is probably the oldest in the Arab world. Attached to the Mosque by the same name, it drew scholars from around to world (Muslim and non Muslim) and is still synonymous with knowledge and wisdom.

3. The Maristane Sidi Frej
    A "Maristane" is a hospital for mental patients. This Fassi institution claims to be one of the oldest in the world, and was still in operation until the mid 1940s. Leo worked h
ere, as a secretary, for two years.
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