Zillij Moroccan fountain

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The Zillij Moroccan fountain is a shallow rectangular pool lined with brightly-colored glazed Moroccan tiles in the outdoor plaza facing 5th Avenue North outside One Federal Place.

The installation was the result of a gift from Mounir Bensaïd, director general of the Centre Marocaine de Promotion des Exportations (CMPE), to the City of Birmingham. The gift was announced during the "Ambassador's Dinner" held at Sheraton Birmingham in April 1999 as part of the Birmingham Festival of Arts' "Salute to Morocco". Moroccan Ambassador to the United States Mahamed Benaissa was recalled to serve the Kingdom of Morocco as foreign minister before the event, and was therefore unable to attend.

The name of the fountain refers to the Moorish traditional craft of "zillij", hand-cut glazed mosaic tile work, which is preserved in Morocco.

The design of the fountain was coordinated by Nimrod Long & Associates landscape architects as part of the overall design of the plaza area. The firm selected the colors and pattern for the hand-made tiles and designed the surrounding granite-faced walls and the "curtain of water" that descends into the pool from the adjoining wall. The completed installation was dedicated on May 15, 2004.


  • Strickland, Susan (April 25, 1999) "Moroccan Food and Style Make Evening Distinctive" The Birmingham News

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