Place Seffarine (Seffarine Square), Fes
The square was historically the main souq (market) of the city's coppersmiths, who gave the square its name. They are still present today. Their workshops have been established here since at least the 16th century, when Leo Africanus noted their presence. The Saffarin Madrasa, whose entrance is on this square, was built here in 1271 CE by the Marinid sultan Abu Yusuf Ya'qub and is the oldest purpose-built madrasa in Morocco.
It is still in use today and was most recently renovated in the late 2010s. The Qarawiyyin library on the northwest side of the square was first built here in the late 16th century by Sultan Ahmad al-Mansur, although the Qarawiyyin had an earlier library built further north in 1349 by Abu Inan. The Saffarin Hammam also dates to the 14th century during the Marinid era.
The square underwent a significant set of renovations in the 1930s and 1940s during the French protectorate period due to a request by the manager of the habous (endowments) of the Qarawiyyin, as well as on the initiatives of King Mohammed V. This program of restorations, which affected many of the surrounding buildings and boutiques, has given the square much of its present-day appearance.
In the process, the library of the Qarawiyyin was significantly expanded and was reopened in 1949 in its current form seen today. The Madrasa Mohammadia, an annex to the Saffarin Madrasa added in the 18th century, was also significantly renovated and expanded at this time. More recently, in the 2010s, several of the surrounding structures were again renovated, including the two madrasas (Saffarin and Mohammadia) and the Qarawiyyin library. The Saffarin Hammam was also recently undergoing restoration, under the supervision of architect Rachid Halaoui, as part of an Austrian-led project to restore various historic hammams across the Mediterranean region.
Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Fes. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.
Place Seffarine (Seffarine Square) on Map
Walking Tours in Fes, Morocco
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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.7 Km or 2.3 Miles
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Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 Km or 1.7 Miles