Jami' Qasbah Filala
Fes, Morocco
The Qasbah Filala mosque is located within the ramparts of Qasbah Filala, situated east of Qasbah Bu Jallud, northwest of Fez al-Bali, along the road linking leading from Bab Mahrouk and the exterior of the medina into Fez al-Bali.  It was built by the Almohad ruler Mohammed en-Nasir, who also built Bab Mahrouk. Its current name, however, is attributed to the people of the Tafilalet, the Filalas, or Alawis. The Qasbah itself (and presumably its mosque) was originally an eleventh-century Almoravid rampart with a rectangular plan. Its southwest angle is oriented toward Fez Jedid, its eastern wall to the path, and its south end to the upper end of the Tal'a Kbira road. Bab Filala is found to the southwest of the ramparts, in close proximity to the gate of the fortifications of Fez al-Bali, Bab Mahrouk, and the inner medina, the Tal'a. The Qasbah is easily recognizable, with its hexagonal towers flanking the main entrance along the Bab Mahrouk - Fez al-Bali path. Its walls are elevated and surmounted by merlons; the minaret of the mosque is visible beyond the Qasbah walls.

Qasbah Filala had a different political system from that of the neighboring quarters, and its access was limited to those who lived within its walls. Non-Muslims, including Jews and Europeans, were forbidden entry. As the only mosque in the neighborhood, the mosque was a congregational mosque.

The mosque dominates a small rectangular-shaped square, the Square of the Mosque (Ous'at Bab el-Jama'). The mosque and the square are located in the southwest of the ramparts, and are accessible from the city through the main Qasbah gate, Bab Filala. Dominating the square in its southern corner, the mosque's two entrances are on the north of the complex, with the main gateway next to the minaret, and a smaller entryway at the southeast corner of the square.

The plan of the mosque is a square, approximately 18 meters long on each side. The sparsely decorated minaret is adjacent to the main gate in the center of the northern wall. The main entryway to the mosque, the one adjacent to the minaret, is a brick horseshoe arched gate, covered with stucco, with scalloped decoration around the archway. The secondary entry along the same wall is similarly decorated but is more ornate than the first. The entryway is topped with a wooden sculpted awning and crowned with a pyramidal roof covered with green tiles. Above the archway is a mashrabiyya stucco screen, with six or seven blind arched windows made of plaster and decorated with various abstract motifs.

The minaret is typical of minarets in the North African region: it is square in plan, though devoid of any ornamentation, and its walls are whitewashed. The minaret is two-tiered, with a window on each of its walls. Its north-facing wall is flush with the mosque wall, and therefore is part of the exterior of the mosque.

The second entrance to the mosque is in need of restoration work. The exterior stucco has peeled off partially on its upper west side, revealing a brick wall construction beneath the blind mashrabiyya screen. More recent information about the mosque is not available, and it is unclear whether a restoration of the mosque has been implemented.


Gaudio, Attilio. 1982. Fès, Joyau de la Civilisation Islamique. Paris: Presses de l'Unesco, 72.

Madras, Didier. 1948. Fès: Capitale Artistique de l'Islam. ed. Didier Madras & Boris Maslow. Casablanca : Editions Paul Bory, 43-44, 72, 144.

Métalsi, Muhammad. 2003. Fès: La Ville Essentielle. Courbevoie: ACR Edition, 297-299.

Le Tourneau, Roger. c1949. Fès Avant le Protectorat. Casablanca: Publications de l'Institut des Hautes Etudes Marocaines. 84, 107, 586.

See also:

Hillenbrand, Robert. 1994. Islamic Architecture. UK: Edinburg University Press, 136.

Landau, Rom. 1967. Morocco: Marrakesh, Fez, Rabat. London: Elek.
within the ramparts of Qasbah Filala, (west of Fez al-Bali) adjoining the eastern wall of Bu Jallud; north of the Qasbah Bu Jallud, Fes, Morocco
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ca. 1054/446 AH construction of the Qasba; ca. 1200 construction of the Mosque
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Casbah Filala Mosque
Kasba Filala Mosque
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