Fez, City of Islam

Fez, City of Islam



Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780946621170
Publisher: Islamic Texts Society
Publication date: 12/31/1992
Pages: 176
Product dimensions: 7.50(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Titus Burckhardt (d. 1984) was the son of the Swiss sculptor, Carl Burckhardt, and great-nephew of the famous art historian Jacob Burckhardt. After his long experience in the Maghrib, Burckhardt was made special consultant to UNESCO advising on the preservation of the unique architectural heritage of Fez.

Read an Excerpt

A GEODE of amethyst, brimful of thousands of tightly packed crystals and surrounded by a silver-green rim: this was Fez, the Old City of Fez, in the twilight. As we came downhill towards it, the hollow in which it lies grew visibly larger; the countless crystals, uniform in themselves, but irregularly grown into one another, now came more clearly into view; one side of them was light, while the other side, the one facing the prevailing wind, had become darkened and weather-beaten. Between them and the silver-green girdle of olive trees, the wall of the Old City with its towers could be seen. Towards the city gate now facing us—Bab al-Gissa—the small donkey caravans made their way as of old, and from out of the gate into the evening wind and towards the expanse of green, came men and children in Moroccan dress; for it was spring, and the hills round about were covered with yellow and blue flowers.
In the heart of the city, in the lowest point of the hollow, one could make out the tent-shaped roof of green glazed tiles that covers the dome of the tomb of the holy Idris, the founder of Fez; nearby was a minaret. Not far away were the equally green roofs of the old Koranic college of al-Qarawiyyin. The nearer we came to the city, the more minarets rose to Heaven, clear-cut, square, flat-topped towers, similar to the Romanesque city towers of Italy. There must have been hundreds of them. These reveal the position of the larger mosques; even more smaller mosques are hidden from sight in the confusion of the high, grey-white and, at this moment, reddish cubes of houses. A city full of sanctuaries: the European travellers who first visited it at the beginning of the century spoke either of a 'citadel of fanaticism', or marvelled at it as a place of perpetual prayer.

Table of Contents

1 Fez
2 City and Desert
3 The Caliphate
4 A City founded by a Saint
5 The House
6 Traditional Science
7 The Golden Chain
8 The Irruption of the Modern World
List of Sources Quoted

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Martin Lings

"Titus Burckhardt is an authority whose works are a constant source of inspiration...the publication of this book in English is like the unearthing of a great treasure."

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