Batha Museum

Fès, Morocco

Built in 1885, the original building was a courthouse and summer residence of the Alaouite sultan Moulay Hassan I before being renovated as a museum in 1915. The Batha Museum brings together archaeological collections, architectural elements and ethnographic objects relating to the city of Fez and its surrounding area. Since a reorganisation in 2006, the museum’s theme has revolved around spiritual life and the art of living.

Through large rooms overlooking the patio and garden, the tour begins with the city’s Islamic origins: manuscripts illuminated with gold leaf, liturgical wooden objects, planispheric brass astrolabes – and a rare example of a leather astrolabe dial. One section is dedicated to architectural elements. Wood is featured: friezes, panels, lintels and other corbels from different dynasties display Moroccan craftsmanship. Besides their artistic value, some pieces are historical and archaeological treasures, such as the beam dating from AD 877, the oldest wood in Islamic Morocco, evidence of the city of Kairouan’s artistic influences.

Zelliges (handmade terracotta tiles) are a distinctive feature of Moroccan-Andalusian Islamic architecture, with excellent collections here in the Batha Museum, with some dating back to the 14th century.

Also on exhibit are traditional arts from Fez, whose richness and variety are manifested in a collection of delicate embroidery in a single thread colour, and a variety of ornaments and wedding dresses for brides typically from the cities. There is also a rich collection of tin-based ceramics enamelled in a monochrome blue-grey.

Visitors can discover rural crafts and museum-quality objects like jewellery and pottery outside the city of Fez.

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

Mohamed Zaïm

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