The pulpit from which the holy men of Marrakech delivered their Friday sermons for centuries is back in its rightful place in the city's main mosque, after restoration with the help of New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art.

An American living in Marrakech, Patti Cadby Birch, financed the refurbishing of the 800-year-old masterpiece. Experts from the museum worked with Moroccan artisans.The pulpit, or "minbar," was carved in Spain over eight years, starting in 1137. It was mounted on wheels and controlled by a hidden system of pulleys, allowing imams to roll forward toward worshipers.

Badly worn, the pulpit had been in storage since 1962. King Hassan II broached the topic of its restoration with the Metropolitan in 1991.