Fire Ravages Old Medina of Fez, Destroys Over 80 Businesses

Fire Ravages Old Medina of Fez, Destroys Over 80 Businesses

Rabat – A violent fire broke out yesterday in the heart of the old medina of Fez, destroying over 80 businesses in the souk of Ain Azliten.

“I lost most of my artwork in this fire,” a French national who owns an art gallery for handicrafts told Almassae.

Although the authorities of Fez did not yet assess the extent of the damage that the fire in the medina caused, they opened an investigation into the matter.

Local authorities did not report any casualties.

The souk represents the only source of income for many merchants, who have also struggled with the negative repercussions of the COVID-19 crisis on their businesses.

King Mohammed VI launched on March 2 a program to enhance economic activities of the old medina of Fez, including the souk of Ain Azliten.

The project aims to revive the patrimony of the medina, the restoration of buildings threatened with ruins, and the reinforcement of tourist activity. Its timeline runs from 2020 to 2024, with a budget of MAD 670 million ($72.9 million).

Yesterday’s is the second fire that the city of Fez saw in one week, after flames ravaged an apartment in the imperial city. The August 30 fire claimed the lives of two brothers, eight and 11 years old. 

The two children died from asphyxiation, while their mother survived with burns and was taken to the University Hospital (CHU) Hassan II of Fez.

In addition to fire, the old Medina of Fez suffered another damaging incident recently, when an old abandoned building collapsed on August 16.

The collapse caused no casualties due to its early hour, between 7:45 a.m. and 8 a.m., when the narrow streets of the medina were empty.

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