Fes, Morocco

Commander Larribe Photos of Fez Medina

Introduction for Commander Larribe Photos of Fez Medina

Published in 1917 by Editions G. Bertrand in Paris. Three portfolios include 119 photogravures averaging 163 mm x 103 mm. Foreword and notes by Alfred Bel.

These small photogravures were scanned into Photoshop where a professional conservator restorer did his best to improve these fading images; they were then enlarged. This is an ongoing project and there are many more images, both from the Larribe albums and other sources awaiting restoration and printing. Below are more detailed descriptions of the photographs you see above. These descriptions have been arranged in chronological order:

1) Agricultural Show in the House of the Great Mechouar Where Some of the Kaids of the Competition are Gathered

This courtyard is situated north of the Sultan’s Palace, but it is separated by the wall fortifications and serrated bastion dating from the time of the Merinides. A ‘Menzah’ or pavilion with two levels abutting the walls is a recent construction (end of the 19th Century). The tents of the Kaids are aligned along the wall.

2) Beginning of the Souks of the Talaa Close to Boujloud Gate

On the left at the southeast corner are the bastions of the Kasbah of Filala. On the right is the entrance to the Boujloud Gate. In the axis of the street detached from the sky, a graceful minaret crowned by a stork’s nest, the small mosque of Mr. Lazzazz, inside of which the saint is buried. The street is very animated and covered in roses. On each side the merchant stalls crowd against each other in their tiny shops. This is the most populous street in the highest part of the Medina.

3) Another Perspective of the Corridor Around the Courtyard of the Medersa Bou Ananiya

This view, like the previous, was taken from the top of the stairs at the main entrance and at the central courtyard exactly from the other side. The explanation of the previous photograph may also relate to it, so there is nothing to add.

4) The Brass Bowls of the Clock at the Medersa Bou Ananiya

In the Talaa (street) of Fez, almost opposite the main entrance to the Medersa, by the cedar sculpted consolettes we note (on the right side of the photo) thirteen brass bowls, which once had chimes to announce the hour. A canopy now disappeared, but which we can imagine because of the consolettes, housed these bowls. While the mechanism of the clock that rang the chimes has disappeared, texts tell us the clock was built at the same time as the Medersa by someone from Tlemcen who built another clock. Through these wonderful  historical texts, especially in The History of the Kings of Tlemcen, we have a detailed description.

5) The Military Musicians of the Garrison before the Entrance to the Residence and Gardens of Boujloud

The music was organized in 1916 by the territorial Midi under the auspices of M. le Colonel Simon, commandant for the Region of Fez. The first expenses were covered by subscriptions taken by both civilians and the military. Every Sunday a concert was held in the public gardens of Boujloud near the entrance to the Dar el Beida Residence on the edges of one arm of the Fez River, dominated by the high ramparts and merlons near the ancient walls of the Royal Gardens. The proper ladies of the European population and the uniformed officers mixed with the jellabas and white haiks of the Muslims, many of whom sit on their mules atop large red stools, or white for the Levant, or black for the Jews. Some of the Jews have their traditional black caps to set off their vivid robes. These concerts always draw large audiences.



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