Fez, Morocco’s spiritual capital
There are not enough adjectives to describe the imperial city of Fez, as there are so many treasures buried in its thirteen centuries of history. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it was founded in 789 by Idriss I, a descendant of the prophet. It is undoubtedly the most authentic city in the whole Maghreb region. Since its foundation, it has shined far beyond the borders of the Kingdom and remains the most faithful guardian of the traditions of Islam. Built in 859, the university of al-Qarawiyyin, created by Fatima El Fihriya is the oldest university in the world, according to UNESCO and many historians. Initially a place of worship, over the centuries it has become a universal teaching center.
The first repository of the splendors of the Hispano-Moorish heritage, Fez is home to a magnificent jewel: one of the largest medinas around the Mediterranean with a prestigious past.
This is why walking the streets of the medina is a journey through time, a time that goes back to the two founders, Idriss I and later his son Idriss II, when each of them founded a city on each side, that of the Andalusians and the Karaouines.
The steps of the visitors will naturally lead them to the heart of the medina, to the Zaouïa of Moulay Idriss, a place of spirituality. Impressively enough, there are about 9,000 alleys in the medina where daily life continues to be punctuated by the countless traders and craftsmen who work there, with copper, wool or leather; the souk of the tanners, with its characteristic smell, is composed of three tanneries, the oldest of which, the Chouara tannery is a thousand years old.
A city of commerce and exchange, it is a multicultural space open to others. Fez welcomed Arabs, Andalusians, and later Westerners. Muslims, Jews, and Christians have lived together there in total tolerance and harmony. You also may visit the house of Maimonides, a Jewish medical astrologer representing scholastic thought. This cultural richness is expressed every year on the occasion of the Fez Festival of World Sacred Music, whose reputation extends far beyond the borders of the Kingdom. Fez, a secret city, deserves that we take our time to discover it, it only gives itself up to those who seek to know it.