Batha Museum

Fès, Morocco

Built in 1885, the original building was an audience palace and a summer residence of the Alawite Sultan Moulay Hassan I, before being re-established as a museum in 1915.

The museum brings together archaeological collections, architectural elements and ethnographic objects that relate to the city of Fez and its hinterland. Following redevelopment work in 2006, the museum’s theme revolves around the spiritual life and the art of living.

Through the large rooms overlooking the patio and the garden, the museum space begins with a section on the Islamic origins of the city represented through manuscripts, gold leaf illuminations, liturgical wooden objects, brass astrolabes — and a rare specimen of a leather astrolabe dial. Another section is devoted to architectural elements. Wooden architectural elements are represented through friezes, panels, lintels and other corbels dating from several dynasties that illustrate Moroccan and Fezi craftsmanship. In addition to their artistic value, several pieces have important historical and archaeological value, such as a beam dated to 877 CE and is considered the oldest wooden object from the Moroccan Islamic period, testifying to the artistic influences of the Islamic city of Kairouan.

Moroccan tile work, known as zelliges, are also one of the specificities of Islamic era Moroccan-Andalusian architecture, of which the Batha Museum contains extant collections — some dating as far back as the 14th century.

Another strong focus of the collection is the traditional art of Fez, whose richness and variety are manifested through a collection of embroidery pieces “in counted thread” — whose delicate monochrome aesthetic and variety of ornaments highlight marital clothing for the city’s dwellers.

Lastly, the museum consists of a rich collection of regional enamel ceramics highlighted by a blue-grey monochrome decoration.

Beyond the city of Fez, the visitor can discover exhibited rural crafts and objects such as pottery and jewellery.

Ksar El Batha
Place du 11 janvier
Fès, Morocco
T +212 53 563 41 16

Mohamed Zaïm

Museum on Google Maps