Fez’s history is intertwined with that of Morocco, since it is the country’s first Muslim metropolis. For a long time, it served as a competitor to Marrakech, Meknes, and Rabat. Today. Fez is the country’s spiritual capital.
Berbers inhabited this country prior to the advent of the Arabs. It’s also following. The Arabs are city residents, whereas the Berbers are more rural.
Idriss ben Abdellah, the founder of the Idrissides, the first Muslim dynasty in the Maghreb, built Fez in 788.
The selected location will be at the intersection of numerous trade routes:
– From the south (Sijilmissa & Mali) to the north (Sijilmissa & Mali) (Ports of Tangier and Ceuta).
– The east (Marrakech) and the west (Algiers) (Tlemcen, Tunis, and further on Cairo and Mecca or Damascus).
With the Oued Fez River and gushing springs, the future Fez is awash with water. Furthermore, the surrounding area is good for agricultural production and has building resources such as Middle Atlas Mountain stone, clay, and wood.
Expelled families from Cordoba (now Spain) and Kairouan (now Tunisia) progressively inhabit both sides of the river, becoming two cities:
On the right bank of the Karouanais is the Karouanais bank.
On the left bank, the Andalusians’ bank (little tourist today).
Fatima el Fihriya, a Kairouanese aristocrat, built the Quaraouiyine mosque in 859. Furthermore, it will be the first Muslim university in the world, maybe even before Bologna in Italy. The Al-Andalus mosque is situated on the opposite bank.
The banks are combined in a walled enclosure (1069) with the Almoravides dynasty: the contemporary Medina of Fez.
The city prospered and became a significant intellectual centre under the Almohad rigorists.
Fez in the Golden Age:
The emergence of the new Merinid dynasty is a watershed moment in history.
In 1276, Abu Youssef chose to abandon the Kasbah Nouar in Medina in favour of establishing a new town farther west: Fez la Blanche, la Neuve, or Fez El Jedid in Arabic.
A palace was erected, troops (the Mellah) were stationed in the region, and residential sections were soon fortified. The new authority did not get universal acceptance from the populace. As a result, it was critical not to take any chances.
To lessen public resistance, a number of actions were implemented:
To undercut the religious dominance of the great mosques antagonistic to the government, lavish colleges (Medersa) were built in Medina. Poor students from all throughout the country go there to study under the sultan’s lavish sponsorship. They will become appreciative and loyal citizens and government employees.
The discovery of the founder Idriss ben Abdellah’s tomb is an excellent argument to relocate the Jews from Medina to the old Mellah citadel. 1 stone, 2 blows: Infidels will be kept out of the new holy location. Above important, the monarch will keep the Jews under his authority, dividing the influence of Fez’s merchants.
It is Fez’s golden period, and the Christians’ reconquest of Granada has pushed the Muslims into the city, bringing their know-how with them.
In particular, Fez will become a storehouse for Arab-Andalusian culture in architecture, music, and gastronomy.
The Ouattassides (or Wattassides) led to the collapse of Fez, which culminated in a devastating earthquake in 1522.
The Saadians chose Marrakech as their city, and the El Badi Palace was erected there. Because the new monarchy is distrustful of the citizenry, castles will be built around Fez.
For a while, Fez was the capital again under the Alaouites. Then it’s Meknes’ turn for the time being.
Many independence rebellions erupt during the French protectorate, challenging the Sultan’s power: Rabat becomes the new capital.
Fes is one of the highlights of the trips offered by our Moroccan travel business, Travelling In Morocco. You may begin your trip to the Sahara desert or any other place in general from this cultural metropolis.