The city of Fez

Fez is the first Moroccan site to be designated by the UNESCO “World Heritage Site”, and the biggest medieval city in the world.

The city of Fez, founded in the 789 AD from Idris I, and recognized as the spiritual and cultural centre of the Country ever since, is the most ancient among the imperial cities. In the 812 AD numerous Muslims families, escaping from Al Andalus (Andalusia), settled in the eastern bank of the Fez creek. Following them, other groups from the nearby Kairouan, Tunisia, moved in the same area, just on the opposite side of the river.

It was the traditions of these two communities to build the foundations for the future cultural, religious and architectural greatness of Fez. During 1200 years of history, Fez witnessed the fortune of many dynasties, which allow the city to quickly develop, not just economically, becoming in such a short period of time a primary centre for commerce, but also culturally.

Fez reached its apogee between the XIII and XIV century, under the Merinidi dynasty, confirming its role of cultural, artistic and intellectual centre of the Country. Fez’s medina, which hosted the oldest continuously functioning university in the world, is considered one of the main touristic memorabilia of the city. The Medina is not just the first Moroccan site to be recognized by the UNESCO, in 1981, but also the biggest medieval city in the world. Surrounded by a magnificent city wall, the typical labyrinth structure of the Medina makes it a continuum of extremely narrow alleys that cross each other in a seemingly confused scheme.

And it is right in the hearth of the Medina that is comprised one of the most active and flourishing economic spots in the city. Fez has a fundamental role in the production of traditional carpets, span yarn, precious metal and leather, realized with traditional techniques. The old city, able to distinguish itself for its architecture, its bas-relief, its handicraft and its culture is a real Arab medieval town, where the present flirts with a still very visible past, creating a unique stage in the world and, thanks to its artistic perfection, one of the main symbol of Morocco and the entire Arab world.