Fez

Morocco has four imperial cities, Fez, Marrakesh, Meknes and Rabat. Founded in the 8th – 9th century CE, under the Idrisids, a Moroccan Muslim dynasty considered to be the founders of the first Moroccan state, Fez is one of the oldest and most culturally and historically rich cities in Morocco.

Waves of Arab immigrants from Tunisia and al-Andalus from Spain and Portugal gave the nascent city an Arab character in the 9th century. The two settlements were united under Almoravid rule (11th century), into what is today’s Fes el-Bali quarter. During the 13th-15th century, Fez reached its zenith, attracting several scholars and philosophers, mathematicians and lawyers, astronomers and theologians, architects and craftsmen, who built houses and palaces for the kings, mosques, and madrasas (religious schools). Merchants traveled to Fez to offer exotic wares from the Silk Road and sub-Saharan trade routes.

Today, the city remains one of the most important attractions in Morocco, with two old medina quarters, the Fes el-Bali, the oldest walled part of the city, and Fes el-Jdid, founded in 1276 by the Marinid dynasty. The Fes el-Jdid is also the location of the Royal Palace which is still occasionally used by the King of Morocco. The third part of Fez, called the Ville Nouvelle, is a much larger, modern urban area that was founded during the French colonial era. The city is also famous for the University of Al Quaraouiyine, founded in 859, and the Choura tannery, which dates back to the 11th century, and is considered one of the oldest tanneries in the world.


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