As a quick update, I thought I’d post a few photos of the dar where I live!
In the first photo, the doors to my room are shut. It took about 2 months of living here before I finally realized that those doors shut. As you can see, there is a small door within the large doors. This has proved particularly useful in the cold Fez Medina! As people say here, Morocco is a cold country with a hot sun. In our dar, we don’t have any particularly good methods of heating, and sometimes it’s actually colder inside than out.
The second photo is of one of the small portals carved into the sides of the courtyard. From what I know, it’s actually a remarkably well preserved example of traditional Fessi style. Over the past few years, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has been renovating its Islamic Art wing. In doing so, they brought in artists from the Fez Medina to create a traditional style Moroccan courtyard. Check out the virtual tour here: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/10/30/arts/design/20111030-met-islamic-wing.html?ref=design
It’s a truly impressive collection with a beautiful space to match. Seeing the intricacy of the Met’s new wing, and the amount of time, money, and artistry that went into its creation, really makes our own home all the more awe inspiring. Restoration and preservation are tricky, often controversial, businesses here in Fez, but the results are astounding. I can think of one advantage to the Met’s new wing though… Central heating.