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Regards sur la culture: La culture au Maroc
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In your textbook, you learned about the old medina of Casablanca, the medieval part of the city. Each Moroccan city has, at its heart, a medina.

The traditional structure of the medina is consistent and reflects ancient society: in the middle is the mosque. Around it are the medersas, or theological colleges, and bookstores. Crafstman workshops are at the next level out with first the most prestigious, such as the fabric makers, and further from the center, the less prestigious, such as the leather tanners.

Each quartier of the medina has its own center with a fountain and hammam (public bathhouse). Casablanca actually has two medinas: the new medina, only 65 years old, is primarily a tourist destination.

The medina of Fès, the first capital of Morocco, is one of the most spectacular. Covering 600 acres, its center is the Karaouine Mosque. Founded in 859, this mosque became a center of learning and gave Fès its intellectual and artistic reputation. The medina is filled with stalls selling cheese, mint, cinnamon bark, and other delicacies, as well as workshops for tanners, engravers, weavers, and tailors. The old fondouks, or inns, now function as warehouses or bazaars. The Fès medina has barely changed since the Middle Ages: goods are still carried through the narrow streets on mules. The smell of spices and baking bread and the sound of the muezzin calling the faithful to prayer hang in the air.

A new organization, called the Agency for the De-densification and Rehabilitation of the Medina, has been formed to restore the great art and architecture, as well as to preserve the working character of the medina by giving loans for restoration projects and backing a school to train craftsmen in Islamic building techniques.



Pensez à une ville près de chez vous. Est-ce qu’il y a un quartier ancien dans la ville? Décrivez-le.

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