Madrasa of Fes el-Jdid

Fès, Morocco

Madrasa of Fes el-Jdid

The Madrasa of Fes el-Jdid, also known as the Madrasa of Dar al-Makhzen, was a 14th-century madrasa built by the Marinid dynasty in the Fes el-Jdid quarter of Fez, Morocco. The madrasa was later converted into a mosque and integrated into the expanded Dar al-Makhzen (Royal Palace) of Fez, where it is still standing today.

In 1320 the Marinid sultan Abu Sa'id built a madrasa located a short distance south of the Great Mosque of Fes el-Jdid. It became known as the Madrasa Fes Jdid or Madrasa Dar al-Makhzen. It was only the second madrasa built by the Marinids in Fes, the first one having been the Seffarine Madrasa founded in 1271 near the Qarawiyyin Mosque. Shortly after, in 1321, also under Abu Sa'id's reign, the Sahrij Madrasa was built near the al-Andalus Mosque. Accordingly, it is likely that Abu Sa'id desired to create centers of learning around each of Fes's great mosques. However, it does not appear that the Fes el-Jdid madrasa developed into a major center of learning, and instead the most prestigious madrasas remained the al-Qarawiyyin and the other Marinid madrasas later built in Fes el-Bali. It was later absorbed by the Royal Palace complex when Sultan Moulay Hassan (ruled 1873-1894) expanded the mechouar area of the palace to the northeast, which resulted in the madrasa being cut off from the mosque and integrated into the inner mechouar. The madrasa, likely derelict before then, was renovated and given a minaret, before being renovated again under the French Protectorate some time after 1924.

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