EL palace MOKRI

Fès, Morocco

EL palace MOKRI

8.4

Dar Moqri (also spelled Dar al-Moqri or Dar Mokri) is a historic palace or group of mansions in Fes el-Bali, the old medina of Fes, Morocco. It dates from the late 19th and early 20th centuries and was built by the wealthy and powerful Moqri family. The site is occupied by two grand residences built separately by members of the same family but physically adjoining each other. The older palace was begun by Abdelsalam al-Moqri and probably further modified by his son Muhammad. In addition to its rich interior, it is notable for its large terraced garden. The second palace belonged to his grandson Si Tayb and is notable for its long courtyard which mixes Italianate details with traditional Moroccan decoration. A completely separate palace, known as Riad Driss Moqri, was also built further north by Abdelsalam's son, Si Dris.

The Moqri family was a wealthy family of merchant origin which rose to prominence within the royal government (or makhzen). They originated from Tlemcen, Algeria, and immigrated to Morocco at the beginning of the 19th century under their patriarch Abu Abdallah Muhammad al-Akhal, settling in Fez in 1805. He had three sons who each led a major branch of the family afterwards. One of them, Haj Abdesalam al-Moqri, rose to prominent positions under Sultan Moulay Hassan. He first worked as an amin (magistrate or secretary) working at the Funduq el-Jild under the direction of the secretary of the treasury at the time, Haj Bel-Madani Bennis. It was around this time that he started building his palace, Dar Moqri. Historical documents of the house's floor plan indicate that it existed or was being built in 1880.: 130–132  He later became the secretary of finance (amin al-mustafad) in Dar Adiyil (the state treasury at the time) and then the secretary of royal constructions (amin bina' malaki). As secretary of royal constructions, he was charged by Moulay Hassan to oversee the construction of the Dar al-Makina and of the Dar Batha and Dar al-Baida Palaces. He was also charged in 1889 with resolving issues with the water supply of the Oued Fes. These responsibilities gave him considerable prestige and importance which afforded him the ability to build a great mansion for himself. The size and richness of the residence reflects his family's wealth at the time. An inscription in the house records the date 1901-02, which probably indicates a major renovation at this time.: 130 

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