Country: Morocco

City: Fez

Year of construction (AH): 857

Year of construction (AD): 242

GPS: 34.064910° -4.973497°


Original Qibla: Parallel


The Mosque of al-Qarawiyyin, near the Suq al-‘Attarin, or Spice Market of Fez al-Bali, is one of the world’s oldest universities, and among the largest mosques in Africa. Founded as a private oratory in 857/242 AH by Fatima al-Fahri, the daughter of a wealthy Qayrawani immigrant, in the tenth century the mosque became the congregational mosque of the quarter of al-Qarawiyyin. The mosque is surrounded by madrasas, and was a major intellectual center in the medieval Mediterranean. Its prestigious academic reputation may have transcended religious divisions, if, as a popular tradition suggests, Gerbert of Auvergne (930-1003), who would become Pope Sylvester II and who is credited with introducing the use of zero and Arabic numerals to Europe, was once a student at al-Qarawiyyin.

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