A trip to Fez

City History

Founded in 789 by Idriss 1st, descendant of the Prophet Muhammad and founder of the kingdom, Fez is quickly becoming the capital of Morocco. In the ninth century, Sultan Idriss II welcomes, in turn, many Andalusian families, Jewish and Kairouan. This “melting pot” benefits Fez becomes the cultural and religious center of Morocco.

In 1069, the Almoravids seized Fez after 6 years of siege. The city lost its capital status in favor of Marrakech. However, Fez continues to radiate culturally and artistically. In the twelfth century, it was the Almohads who seized the city. At that time, Fez is a true commercial crossroads between Spain, the Maghreb and the Sahara. The city continues to thrive.

In the thirteenth century, the weakening Almohad benefits Merinids. This new dynasty made Fez his capital in 1250. The heyday of the city begins. Mérinides Fez want to give a new dimension. They start building a city within a city: the incredible Fez el Jadid including royal palaces, gardens, baths, mosques and barracks, all protected by an enclosure. The madrassas, Islamic schools, are the prestige of Fez because they form the religious elites, intellectual and political. The golden age of Fez is also a time when international trade is flourishing. The trade with Portugal and England, but also India and the Middle East are increasing.

From the fifteenth century, Fez will experience some decline with the end of the Merinides. In 1549, the Saadian seize Fez but prefer Marrakech, conquered 25 years earlier. The fall of the city is accelerating the seventeenth century between plague, famine and civil wars.

The wheel turns in 1666 when the first ruler of the Alawite dynasty made Fez his capital. Trade is restored and the city is repopulated. In the eighteenth century, Fez shines again on religious plans and intellectuals thanks to the famous and powerful Qaraouiyne the University, the oldest in the world.

In the nineteenth century, Hassan 1st begins to modernize the city. But it was not until 1912, when the act of the Protectorate of Fez, to the modern city is really growing. Soon after, Fez lost its status as capital to Rabat.

In 1980, the city is a World Heritage Site by Unesco.

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