Morocco Cities: Fez / Fes / Fass

Morocco Cities: Fez / Fes / Fass Last updated on Thursday 22nd April 2010

The most ravishing and mystical of Morocco's imperial cities, Fez was founded in 808 AD by the great Moroccan ruler saint Moulay Idris II. When he was about to begin construction he lifted his hands to the heavens and prayed for the city and its inhabitants with the following words:

"Almighty God, make of it a house of knowledge and of legal science, so that in it Your Book may always be read and Your laws always observed. Let its inhabitants hold fast to the Book [the Holy Quran] and the Sunna [the practice of the Prophet Muhammad], as long as You shall preserve it."

Fez became the capital and spiritual centre of Morocco and the supplication of its founder was realized for a thousand years thereafter.

The city is situated in a narrow valley against the backdrop of the Middle Atlas and positioned on the old crossroads of caravan routes connecting the Saharan empires like Timbuktu and Takrur with the Atlantic and the Mediterranean shipping lanes. Fez remained a commercial centre for much of its history.

It is still considered Morocco's premier religious city by virtue of its great Islamic traditions. It is the site of Qarawiyyin Mosque (the largest mosque in North Africa) and Qarawiyyin Madrasah, and is also the burial place of Moulay Idris II.

Apart from the European town built after World War II, Fez is divided into two distinct areas: Fez el Jdid (the new) and Fez el Bali (the old).

Textile and flour mills, oil-processing plants, tanneries, soap factories, and a large handicraft industry all can be found within the city of Fez.

Many people have moved from the older imperial city to the modern suburbs but the ancient city is powerfully compelling and it remains one of the world's great architectural treasures.

The Mosque and Tomb of Moulay Idris II

Considered one of the most sacred places in all of Morocco, the tomb of Moulay Idris II is a place of pilgrimage for Muslims from throughout Morocco and beyond. The atmospheric interiors are richly ornamented.

Non-Muslims may not enter or even draw near the entrance.

Qarawiyyin Mosque

One of the largest mosques in Africa, the Qarawiyyin Mosque is also one of the world's most beautiful places of worship.

For over a thousand years great Muslim saints and scholars have congregated in its ornamental courtyard. It remains one of the most majestic monuments of Islam.

General information

Tourist Board
Place de la Resistance
Tel: 62 34 60 / 62 62 97

Tourist Information Office
Place Mohamed V
Tel: 62 47 69

Transport
C.T.M./L.N. buses
avenue Mohamed V
Tel: 62 20 41

Railway Station
rue Imarate Arabia
Tel: 62 50 01

Royal Air Maroc
52, avenue Hassan II
Tel: 62 04 56 / 57

Fez-Saiss airport
route d'Imouzzer
Tel: 62 47 12 / 62 43 00

Police
Tel: 19

Fire Service
Tel: 15

Highway Emergencies
Tel: 177

All-night chemist
avenue Abdelkrim El Khattabi
Tel: 62 33 80

Campsites
Diamant Vert -- Ain Chket forest
Sefrou -- Sefrou town, tel: 66 00 01
Imouzzer -- Immouzzer du Kandar
Camping/caravaning: route de Sefrou

Craftwork Centre
avenue Allal Ben Abdallah, B.P. 431

Main festivals and cultural activities
Carpet Fair
Wood Engraving Fair
Moussem Moulay Idris II
Pottery Fair
Handicraft Moussem

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