Detail of collection box for donations in a door of the Moulay Idriss II Mosque, 9th century, Fez, Morocco, pictured on February 21, 2009 in the afternoon. The Mosque of Moulay Idriss II (reigned  803-828), was built by the Idriss dynasty and restored in the 13th century by the Merenids. Containing the mausoleum of Moulay Idriss II, who is believed to aid women's fertility, it is an important pilgrimage destination and a  zaouia or sanctuary. Across the entrance a wooden beam excludes Jews, Christians, and donkeys from the horm, or sacred area around the shrine, where  Moroccans may historically claim sanctuary from arrest. The tomb, covered in brocade and surrounded by the faithful burning candles and incense, is visible through the doors, worn smooth by centuries of pilgrims kissing the wood for baraka or blessing. Fez, Morocco's second largest city, and one of the four imperial cities, was founded in 789 by Idris I on the banks of the River Fez. The oldest university in the world is here and the city is still the Moroccan cultural and spiritual centre. Fez has three sectors: the oldest part, the walled city of Fes-el-Bali, houses Morocco's largest medina and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site;  Fes-el-Jedid was founded in 1244 as a new capital by the Merenid dynasty, and contains the Mellah, or Jewish quarter; Ville Nouvelle was built by the French who took over most of Morocco in 1912 and transferred the capital to Rabat. Picture by Manuel Cohen.

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Detail of collection box for donations in a door of the Moulay Idriss II Mosque, 9th century, Fez, Morocco, pictured on February 21, 2009 in the afternoon. The Mosque of Moulay Idriss II (reigned 803-828), was built by the Idriss dynasty and restored in the 13th century by the Merenids. Containing the mausoleum of Moulay Idriss II, who is believed to aid women's fertility, it is an important pilgrimage destination and a zaouia or sanctuary. Across the entrance a wooden beam excludes Jews,...
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Copyright Manuel Cohen

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