Medersa Bou Inania

Top choice islamic site in Medina
Image by saiko3p / Shutterstock

The most architecturally refined of Fez’s theological colleges was built by the Merinid sultan Bou Inan between 1351 and 1357. Beyond the massive brass entrance doors, its interior courtyard is a masterpiece of elaborate zellige tilework, carved plaster and beautiful cedar lattice screens. Smaller courts off either side functioned as classrooms, and students lived upstairs.

Unlike many such schools, the Bou Inania has a full mosque adjoining it. (For this reason, it's closed to visitors during prayer times.) The mihrab niche, visible across the prayer hall, has onyx columns, a style that echoes the Great Mosque of Córdoba. The mosque's beautiful green-tiled minaret is the one that's visible when you enter the medina via Bab Bou Jeloud.