Home of copper and metal craftsmanship : Seffarine Place
Saffarine Plaza is a tiny square located in Fez's ancient medina. It is situated south of Al-Qarawiyyin University and next to the Bu Khrib River, which flows through the ancient city's center. Although the plaza dates all the way back to the Middle Ages, it has also been renovated in the contemporary period. It is bounded on the northwest by the Al-Qarawiyyin Library, on the east by the Saffarin School, and on the southwest by the Saffarid Bath.

The square was home to a coppersmiths' market (saffrons), which gave the area its name. They continue to exist now. Since at least the sixteenth century, when Leon the African became aware of their existence, their workshops have been built here. The Madrasa al-Saffarin, which has its entrance in this plaza, was founded in 1271 by Marinid Sultan Abu Yusuf Yaqoub and is Morocco's oldest purpose-built Islamic school. It is still in use, having been restored most recently in late 2010. Sultan Ahmed al-Mansur constructed the Qarawiyyin Library northwest of the plaza in the late 16th century, but the Qarawiyyin had an older library built by Abu Inan farther north in 1349. Hammam al-Saffarin was also built during the Marinid era in the 14th century.

The plaza received extensive repairs under the French protectorate in the 1930s and 1940s at the request of the local director of the Habus (endowments), as well as on King Mohammed V's initiative. This rehabilitation effort impacted a large number of the plaza's surrounding structures and businesses, giving the area much of its present look. The Qarawiyyin Library was significantly enlarged during this operation and reopened in 1949 in its current configuration. The Muhammadiyah Madrasah, which was built in the eighteenth century as an expansion of the Saffarid Madrasah, was substantially renovated and enlarged during this time period. Recently, in 2010, many neighboring structures, including two madrasas (Saffarin and Muhammadiyah) and the Qarawiyyin Library, were restored. Hammam al-Saffarin also recently received restoration work overseen by architect Rashid al-Halawi as part of an Austrian-led initiative to rehabilitate many ancient baths across the Mediterranean.
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