Fez Medina, located in Morocco, is one of the best-preserved historical towns in the Arab world. Since the 9th century, Fez Medina has drawn scholars, students and intellectuals who came from distant lands to acquire Islamic knowledge.
According to UNESCO, the University of Qarawiyyin, located in the heart of Fez Medina and founded in 859, is the oldest continually operating university in the world. The university was founded by Fatima al-Fihri, whose father had migrated from the city of Qairouan (in present-day Tunisia) in the mid-9th century. After her father passed away, Fatima and her sister Maryam decided to use the fortune they inherited to establish a mosque and a university. In the course of time, the mosque and the university complex were considerably expanded. Today the central mosque can accommodate up to 20,000 worshippers. The mosque has a grand courtyard, with intricate carvings, arches and water fountains.