Ancient library in Fez to reopen after restoration

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courtyard part of the building complex of al-Qarawiyyin©Lietmotiv  CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

FEZ - The oldest working library in the world, the ancient al-Qarawiyyin Library in Fez re-opened its doors to the public after a restoration project led by Aziza Chaouni.
Founded by Fatima El-Fihriya, the daughter of a rich immigrant from modern-day Tunisia in 859, the complex includes a mosque, a library and a university. The library holds ancient manuscripts that date as far back as the 7th century.
The buildings were falling into disrepair when in 2012, the Moroccan Ministry of Culture asked Chaouni to take on the task of rehabilitating the library so that it could reopen to the general public.
Chaouni said: “When I first visited, I was shocked at the state of the place, in rooms containing precious manuscripts dating back to the 7th century, the temperature and moisture were uncontrolled, and there were cracks in the ceiling”.
Funds for the project were provided by a grant from Kuwait’s Arab Bank.