Fez travel guide:
There are 3 zones in Fez that can be interesting for tourists:
– Old Fez – the old medina Fes el-Bali,
– New Fez – the new medina Fes el-Jdid,
– New City – Ville Nouvelle.
History of Fez
Fez was founded in 789 to be the capital of the Idrisids. And soon it turned to the important trading and culture center of North Africa. The status of the capital was lost when Almoravids had founded Marrakesh in 11th century.
The capital was moved back to Fez in 13th century by the Marinids. The dynasty had built a new medina, numerous mosques and madrasas (which are a hallmark of Marinid architecture). This step had brought Marinids a lot of advantages – the education system was coming under their control, so marabouts couldn’t influence students. In 1438 was created the first Mellah in Morocco that became a prototype of Jewish ghettos in cities of Morocco.
In 16th century the Ottoman Empire approached Fez. Wattasids were busy with Saadis that tried to overthrow them. Both of dynasties didn’t mind to have some international allies. But the Ottoman Empire didn’t succeed in invading Fez. To defend the city from further attacks Saadis had built a chain of forts around Fez.
Morocco is the only North-African country that wasn’t conquered by the Ottomans.
Since French colonialists had arrived, freedom-loving citizens of Fez became so rebellious that Hubert Lyautey asked sultan Moulay Yusef to move the capital to Rabat. Sultan agreed and Fez had lost the status of the capital for the 2d time.
Ville Nouvelle was created during the French protectorate. Another one architectural project of French was Bab Boujloud gate – a symbol of Old Fez. Today Fez is the cultural and spirituous capital of Morocco with more than 1 million of inhabitants.
Some facts about Fez
– Until 19th century Fez was the only place where fezzes (or tarboosh) were manufactured.
– More than 10 centuries Fez is famous for leather production.
– To be a citizen of Fez is a good reason to be proud of. A lot of powerful people in Morocco (elite) have been/are of Fez origin.
– Fassi cuisine (a regional variety of Moroccan cuisine) is supposed to be one of the most tasty cuisines in Morocco.
– Princess Salma (the spouse of the present king Mohammed VI) comes from an ordinary family from Fez.
Take Fez map with you – just click the star and it will be saved in your Google account. Any locations in this region that I will add later will appear on your map.