Located at the entrance to Fez’s sprawling spice and perfume market, the exquisite Al-Attarine Madrasa (the ‘Madrasa of the Perfumers’) paints a striking picture against the ramshackle stalls and timeworn cobblestones of the surrounding souks.
Built by the Marinid Sultan Uthman II Abu Said in the early 14th century, the madrasa was once an important center for learning and spirituality. The show-stopping central courtyard is the main highlight of a visit - a sumptuous example of Islamic architecture, with ornate pillars, expertly carved stuccos and magnificent zellij fashioned from hand-cut glazed tiles. Visitors can also peek into the lavish prayer hall and the comparatively sparse student quarters that look out over the courtyard.
The Al-Attarine Madrasa is located in Fez Medina (Fez el-Bali), close to the Kairaouine Mosque and University, and is open daily from 8.30am-12.30pm, and 2.30-6.30pm. Admission at the time of writing is 10 dirham.