Audio and Text From National Public Radio (NPR).
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Called the medina, neighborhood streets lined with domes and archways take you back through the history of the dynasties and occupiers that ruled Morocco from the 9th century on. At the center of the square is the Qarawiyyin Library, founded more than a millennium ago.
We’ve heard much recently about the destruction of grand historical sites in places like Syria and Iraq, where war and ISIS wreak havoc on the present and the past. But this library has been lovingly restored to protect ancient manuscripts by some of the greatest Islamic thinkers.
Now the library has a new gutter system and solar panels. Air conditioner units are tucked behind wooden carvings that match the aesthetic. And finally, the delicate manuscripts are protected in a temperature- and humidity-controlled room with a modern security system.
Henda says the library, which will reopen officially in May, is more than just a building.
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