The city of Fez is located in northern Morocco at the axes of two main communication routes that connected the Atlantic to the central Magrib and the Straights of Gibraltar to the Africa. Fez was probably founded in the late eighth-century by the Idrisids, eventually developing through the merging of two separate cities on opposite banks of the Wadi Fez river. The two cities spent almost a century under the rule of the Umayyads of al-Andalus, before a succession of Berber dynasties conquered it. The Almoravid conquest of the city in the late eleventh-century was a pivotal moment, when the previously autonomous cities were united into one, spurring new development in the form of a fortress, new urban quarters, and water infrastructure. Upon the Almohad conquest of the city in 1145 the form of the city was changed again - the Almohads razed much of the Almoravid fortifications before constructing new walls and gates in the thirteenth-century, which to a large degree have survived.
Conquered again in the thirteenth-century by the Marinids, Fez became the capital city of the dynasty. Always second in importance to Marrakech, which had been the capital of both the Almoravids and Almohads, Fez developed into a major intellectual and commercial center under the Marinids. Beginning in 674/1276 the Marinids constructed Fes al-Jadid ("New Fes"), a new administrative citadel surrounded by a double wall, west of the old walled city, which then was known as Fes al-Bali ("Ancient Fes"). The Marinids embellished their populous capital with the numerous madrasas for which it is famous and constructed estates in the countryside around the city.
Fez remained under Marinid rule until it was conquered by the Sa'di dynasty in the sixteenth-century, and then again by the 'Alawi dynasty in 1666. In the late nineteenth-century Fes al-Jadid and Fes al-Bali were united with new walls.
"Fas." In Encyclopedia of Islam. 2nd ed. Leiden: Brill.
Le Tourneau, Roger. Fez in the age of the Marinides. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. c. 1961.
Le Tourneau, Roger. Fes avant le protectorat : etude economique et sociale d'une ville de l'occident musulman. Rabat : Editions La Porte. 1987
Revault, J., L. Golvin and A. Amahane. 1985-89. Les Palais et demeures de Fes. 2 vols Paris. 1985-1989.
The Najjarin Funduq was built in 1711/1122 AH by Amin Adiyil during the reign of the 'Alawid Sultan Isma'il b. Muhammad I al-Sharif, al-Samin (1672-1727/1082-1139 AH). Located in the old city of Fez, or Fez al-Bali, the funduq opens onto the square of the Najjarin, or carpenters. It provided lodging and storage space for visiting merchants in three floors of rooms arranged around the central courtyard.
The funduq's monumental portal and the adjacent fountain are focal points of the small square of the carpenters, and are decorated with carved cedar wood, colourful mosaic tile revetment, and intricately carved stucco. Their decoration and forms create visual connections between the exterior space of the square and the interior space of the funduq's central courtyard, which is decorated with carved stucco and carved wooden balustrades.
The structure was completely restored between 1990/1410 AH and 1996/1416 AH. In 1998/1418 AH, as a result of a partnership between the Mohammed Karim Lamrani Foundation and Nejjarine Ensemble, the building now houses La Musée Nejjarine des Arts et Métiers du Bois, a private museum of Wood Arts and Crafts.
Hillenbrand, Robert. Islamic Architecture. NY: Columbia UP, 1994. 240-251.
Pickens et al. Maroc: Les Cites Imperiales. Paris: ACR Edition. 1995.