Women continue to play a key role in the history of the library of Al Karaouine, in Fez, Morocco. Founded in 859 by Fatima El Fihriya, daughter of a wealthy merchant, Al Karaouine was recently entrusted to the restoration architect Aziza Chaouni who was born in the ancient Moroccan city. The works, started in 2012 at the behest of the Ministry of Culture, had to be completed within the summer 2016 : the authorities, ensure that before the end of the year the library, known to be the oldest in the world, will welcome back scholars and visitors. To access the library of Al Karaouine – which also houses a mosque and a university – you have go through a huge iron door with four big padlocks, each of which opens with a different key. Inside the library are kept precious manuscripts, whose integrity had been put at risk over the past centuries by dust and moisture, two true scourges for texts that have hundreds of years. Aziza Chaouni has proceeded to provide the structure of a new sewage system and a system of underground channels able to drain the moisture. The library is also now equipped with an advanced laboratory able to treat, preserve and digitize ancient texts. The oldest manuscripts are kept in a special room equipped with sensors to ensure tight control over the interior temperature; among these writings the oldest is a copy of the Koran dating back to the ninth century A.D. written on camel leather in ancient Kufic handwriting.
One of the many treasures to discover on your next trip to Morocco. Just visit our web site and check our Morocco brochure