Fès / Fas / ⴼⴰⵙ
View of the medina (old city) of Fez
|Founded by||Idrisid dynasty|
|• Mayor||Idriss Azami Al Idrissi|
|• Governor||Said Zniber|
|• Urban||120 sq mi (320 km2)|
|Elevation||1,350 ft (410 m)|
|• Rank||2nd in Morocco|
|Medina of Fez|
|Name as inscribed on the World Heritage List|
|UNESCO region||Arab States|
|Inscription||1981 (5th Session)|
Fez was the capital city of modern Morocco until 1925 and is now the capital of the Fès-Meknès administrative region. The city has two old medina quarters, the larger of which is Fes el Bali. It is listed as a World Heritage Site and is believed to be one of the world's largest urban pedestrian zones (car-free areas). University of Al Quaraouiyine, founded in 859, is the oldest continuously functioning university in the world. The city has been called the "Mecca of the West" and the "Athens of Africa".
- 1 History
- 2 Climate
- 3 Subdivisions
- 4 Main sights
- 5 Education
- 6 Transport
- 7 Sport
- 8 Notable residents
- 9 International relations
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 Further reading
- 13 External links
During the rule of the Idrisid dynasty, Fez consisted of two cities: Fas Elbali, founded by Idris I, and al-ʿĀliyá, founded by his son, Idris II. During Idrisid rule the capital city was known as al-ʿĀliyá, with the name Fas being reserved for the separate site on the other side of the river; no Idrisid coins have been found with the name Fez, only al-ʿĀliyá and al-ʿĀliyá Madinat Idris. It is not known whether the name al-ʿĀliyá ever referred to both urban areas. It wasn't until 1070 that the two agglomerations were united and the name Fas was used for the combined site.
Foundation and the Idrisids
The city was founded on a bank of the Jawhar river by Idris I in 789, founder of the Zaydi Shi'i Idrisid dynasty. His son, Idris II (808), built a settlement on the opposing river bank. These settlements would soon develop into two walled and largely autonomous sites, often in conflict with one another: Madinat Fas and Al-'Aliya. In 808 Al-'Aliya replaced Walili as the capital of the Idrisids.
Arab emigration to Fez, including 800 Andalusi families of Berber descent in 817–818 expelled after a rebellion against the Umayyads of Córdoba, Andalusia, and 2000 Arab families banned from Kairouan (modern Tunisia) after another rebellion in 824, gave the city it's Arabic character. The Andalusians settled in what is called the 'Old' Fez, while the Tunisians found their home in the 'New' Fez, also called al-'Aliya. These two waves of immigrants would subsequently give their name to the sites 'Adwat Al-Andalus and 'Adwat al-Qarawiyyin. The majority of the population was of Arab descent, and the minority was of North-African Berber descent, with rural Berbers from the surrounding countryside settling there throughout this early period, mainly in Madinat Fas (the Andalusian quarter) and later in Fes Jdid.
Upon the death of Idris II in 828, the dynasty’s territory was divided among his sons. The eldest, Muhammad, received Fez. The newly fragmented Idrisid power would never again be reunified. During Yahya ibn Muhammad's rule in Fez the Kairouyine mosque, one of the oldest and largest in Africa, was built and its associated University of Al Quaraouiyine was founded (859). Comparatively little is known about Idrisid Fez, owing to the lack of comprehensive historical narratives and that little has survived of the architecture and infrastructure of early Fez (Al-'Aliya). The sources that mention Idrisid Fez, describe a rather rural one, not having the cultural sophistication of the important cities of Al-Andalus and Ifriqiya.
In the 10th century the city was contested by the Caliphate of Córdoba and the Fatimid Caliphate of Tunisia, who ruled the city through a host of Zenata clients. The Fatimids took the city in 927 and expelled the Idrissids, after which their Miknasa were installed there. The Miknasa were driven out of Fez in 980 by the Maghrawa, their fellow Zenata, allies of the Caliphate of Córdoba. It was in this period that the great Andalusian ruler Almanzor commissioned the Maghrawa to rebuild and refurnish the Al-Kairouan mosque, giving it much of its current appearance. According to the Rawd al-Qirtas and other Marinid era sources, the Maghrawi emir Dunas Al-Maghrawi filled up the open spaces between the two medinas and the banks of the river, dividing them with new constructions. Thus, the two cities grew into each other, being now only separated by their walls and the river. His sons fortified the city to a great extent. This could not keep the Almoravid emir Ibn Tashfin from conquering it in 1070, after more than a decade of battling the Zenata warriors in the area and constant besieging of the city.
In 1033, several thousand Jews were killed in the Fez Massacre.
Golden age and the Marinid period
Madinat Fas and Al-'Aliya were united in 1070 by the Almoravid dynasty: The walls dividing them were destroyed, bridges connecting them were built, and connecting walls were constructed that unified the medinas. Under Almoravid patronage the largest expansion and renovation of the Great Mosque of Kairouan took place (1134-1143). Although the capital was moved to Marrakesh and Tlemcen under the Almoravids, Fez acquired a reputation for Maliki legal scholarship and became an important centre of trade. Almoravid impact on the city's structure was such that the second Almoravid ruler, Yusuf ibn Tashfin, is often considered to be the second founder of Fez.
Like many Moroccan cities, Fez was greatly enlarged during the Almohad Caliphate and saw its previously dominating rural aspect lessen. This was accomplished partly by the settling there of Andalusians and the further improvement of the infrastructure. At the start of the 13th century they broke down the Idrisid city walls and constructed new ones, which covered a much wider space. These Almohad walls exist to this day as the outline of Fes el Bali. Under Almohad rule the city grew to become the largest in the world between 1170 and 1180, with an estimated 200.000 people living there.
In 1250 Fez regained its capital status under the Marinid dynasty. In 1276 after a massacre by the population to kill all Jews that was stopped by intervention of the Emir, they founded Fes Jdid, which they made their administrative and military centre. Fez reached its golden age in the Marinid period, which marked the beginning of its official, historical narrative. It is from the Marinid period that Fez's reputation as an important intellectual centre largely dates. They established the first madrasas in the city and country. The principal monuments in the medina, the residences and public buildings, date from the Marinid period. The madrasas are a hallmark of Marinid architecture, with its striking blending of Andalusian and Almohad traditions. Between 1271 and 1357 seven madrassas were built in Fez, the style of which has come to be typical of Fassi architecture.
The Jewish quarter of Fez, the Mellah was built in 1438, near the royal residence in Fez Jdid. The Mellah at first consisted of Jews from Fez el Bali and soon saw the arrival of Berber Jews from the Atlas range and Jewish immigrants from al-Andalus. The Marinids spread the cult of Idris I and encouraged sharifism, financing sharifian families as a way to legitimize their (in essence secular) rule: From the 14th century onwards hundreds of families throughout Morocco claimed descent from Idris I, especially in Fez and the Rif mountains. In this regard they can be seen as the enablers of the latter sharifian dynasties of Morocco. The 1465 Moroccan revolt in 1465 overthrew the last Maranid sultan. In 1474 the Marinids were replaced by their relatives of the Wattasid dynasty, who faithfully (but for a large part unsuccessfully) continued Marinid policies.
After the fall of the Marinids, the city remained the capital of Morocco under the Wattasids. However, in the 16th century, the Saadis, based in Marrakech, would attempt to overthrow the Wattasids. In the meanwhile, the Ottoman Empire came close to Fez after the conquest of Oujda in the 16th century. In January 1549 the Saadi sultan Mohammed ash-Sheikh took Fez and ousted the last Wattasid sultan Ali Abu Hassun. The latter retook the city in 1553 with Ottoman support. However, this reconquest was short-lived, and in 1554 the Wattasids were decisively defeated in the battle of Tadla by the Saadis. The Ottomans would try to invade Morocco after the assassination of Mohammed ash-Sheikh in 1558, but were defeated by his son Abdallah al-Ghalib at the battle of Wadi al-Laban north of Fez. Hence, Morocco remained the only North-African state to evade Ottoman occupation.
After the death of Abdallah al-Ghalib a new power struggle would emerge, after Abd al-Malik would take Fez with Ottoman support and oust his nephew Abu Abdullah. The latter would flee to Portugal where he asked king Sebastian of Portugal for help to regain his throne. This would lead to the Battle of Alcacer Quibir where Abd al-Malik's army would defeat the invading Portuguese army with the support of his Ottoman allies, ensuring Moroccan independence. Abd al-Malik himself also died during the battle and would be succeeded by Ahmad al-Mansur.
After the fall of the Saadi dynasty (1649), Fez was a major trading post of the Barbary Coast of North Africa. Until the 19th century it was the only source of fezzes (also known as the tarboosh). Then manufacturing began in France and Turkey as well. Originally, the dye for the hats came from a berry that was grown outside the city, known as the Turkish kızılcık or Greek akenia (Cornus mas). Fez was also the end of a north-south gold trading route from Timbuktu. Fez was a prime manufacturing location for embroidery and leather goods such as the Adarga.
The city became independent in 1790, under the leadership of Yazid (1790–1792) and later of Abu´r-Rabi Sulayman. In 1795 control of the city returned to Morocco. Fez took part in a rebellion in 1819-1821, led by Ibrahim ibn Yazid, as well as in the 1832 rebellion led by Muhammad ibn Tayyib.
Fez was the capital of Morocco until 1925. Rabat then remained the capital even after Morocco achieved independence in 1956.
Despite its traditional character, there is a modern section: the Ville Nouvelle or "New City". Today it is a bustling commercial center. The popularity of the Fez has increased since the King of Morocco took a computer engineer from Fez, Salma Bennani, as his wife.
Place Lalla Yeddouna at the heart of the Medina is currently undergoing reconstruction and preservation measures following a design competition sponsored by the Millennium Challenge Corporation (Washington D.C.) and the Government of the Morocco. The construction projects scheduled for completion in 2016 encompass historic preservation of particular buildings, construction of new buildings that fit into the existing urban fabric and regeneration of the riverfront. The intention is to not only preserve the quality and characteristics of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, but to encourage the development of the area as a sustainable, mixed-use area for artisanal industries and local residents.
Located by the Atlas Mountains, Fez has a Mediterranean climate with a strong continental influence, shifting from cold and rain in the winter to dry and hot days in the summer months between June and September. Rainfall can reach up to 600 mm (24 in) per year. The winter highs typically reach only 15 °C (59 °F) in December–January. The highest and lowest temperatures ever recorded in the city are 46.7 °C (116 °F) and −8.2 °C (17 °F), respectively.(see weather-table below). Fez's climate is strongly similar to the one you find in Seville and Córdoba, Andalusia, Spain. Snowfall on average occurs once every 5 years.
|Climate data for Fez|
|Record high °C (°F)||25.0
|Average high °C (°F)||14.7
|Average low °C (°F)||4.1
|Record low °C (°F)||−8.2
|Average rainfall mm (inches)||84.6
|Average snowy days||0.2||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.2|
|Source #1: Hong Kong Observatory|
|Source #2: Meoweather.com, Voodoo skies for extremes|
The prefecture is divided administratively into the following:
|Name||Geographic code||Type||Households||Population (2004)||Foreign population||Moroccan population||Notes|
|Mechouar Fes Jdid||231.01.03.||Municipality||6097||26078||83||25995|
|Jnan El Ouard||231.01.09.||Arrondissement||32618||174226||15||174211|
|Oulad Tayeb||231.81.01.||Rural commune||3233||19144||3||19141||5056 residents live in the center, called Ouled Tayeb; 14088 residents live in rural areas.|
|Ain Bida||231.81.03.||Rural commune||1146||6854||0||6854|
|Sidi Harazem||231.81.05.||Rural commune||982||5133||0||5133||3317 residents live in the center, called Skhinate; 1816 residents live in rural areas.|
Fez is becoming an increasingly popular tourist destination and many non-Moroccans are now restoring traditional houses (riads and dars) as second homes in the Fez medina. The most important monuments in the city are:
- Bou Inania Madrasa
- Al-Attarine Madrasa
- University of Al Quaraouiyine
- Zaouia Moulay Idriss II
- Dar al-Magana
- Ibn Danan Synagogue (Fes)
The University of Al Quaraouiyine is the oldest continually-operating university in the world. The al-Karaouine mosque was founded by Fatima al-Fihri in 859 with an associated school, or madrasa, which subsequently became one of the leading spiritual and educational centers of the historic Muslim world. It became a state university in 1963, and remains an important institution of learning today.
Primary and secondary schools
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Fez has two football teams, MAS Fez (Fés Maghrebi) and Wydad de Fès (WAF). They both play in the Botola the highest tier of the Moroccan football system and play their home matches at the 45,000 seat Complexe Sportif de Fès stadium.
- Fatima al-Fihri (ca. 800 - 880)
- Isaac Alfasi (1013-1103), Talmudist and posek
- Muhammad XII of Granada (c. 1460 - c. 1533), last Moorish king of Al-Andalus
- Yazid of Morocco (1750-1792), sultan of Morocco from 1790 to 1792
- Slimane of Morocco (1760-1822), sultan of Morocco from 1792 to 1822
- Abd al-Rahman of Morocco (1778-1859), sultan of Morocco from 1822 to 1859
- Muhammad IV of Morocco (1810-1873), sultan of Morocco from 1859 to 1873
- Hassan I of Morocco (1836-1894),sultan of Morocco from 1873 to 1894
- Abd al-Hafid of Morocco (1876-1937), sultan of Morocco from 1908 to 1912
- Abdelaziz of Morocco (1878-1943), sultan of Morocco from 1894 to 1908
- Mohammed Ben Aarafa (1886-1976), sultan of Morocco from 1953 to 1955
- Mohammed V of Morocco (1909-1961), sultan then king of Morocco
- Ahmed Bahnini (1909-1971), Prime Minister of Morocco from 13 November 1963 to 7 June 1965.
- Allal al-Fassi (1910-1974), politician
- Ahmed Sefrioui (1915-2004), writer
- Mohammed Karim Lamrani (b. 1919), Prime Minister of Morocco
- Azzeddine Laraki (b. 1929), Prime Minister of Morocco from 30 September 1986 to 11 August 1992
- Ahmed Laraki (b. 1931), Premier Minister of Morocco from 7 October 1969 to 6 August 1971
- Ali Squalli Houssaini (b. 1932), author of the words to the Moroccan National Anthem
- Kasdi Merbah (1938-1993), Algerian politician
- Fatema Mernissi (1940-2015), feminist writer and sociologist
- Abdelwahab Doukkali (b. 1941), singer
- Abdellatif Laabi (b. 1942), writer and poet
- Joël Santoni (b. 1942), French film director and screenwriter
- Tahar Ben Jelloun (b. 1944), writer and poet
- Brahim Lahlafi (n. 1968), athlete/long-distance runner
- Tarik Sektioui (b. 1977), footballer
- Princess Lalla Salma of Morocco (b. 1978) princess consort of Morocco
- Mohammed Bennis (b. 1978), poet
- Jamal Fakir (b. 1982), French international rugby league player
- Adel Taarabt (b. 1989), footballer
Twin towns — sister cities
Fez is twinned with:
- Montpellier, France, since 1961
- Strasbourg, France, since 1961
- Florence, Italy, since 1961
- Kairouan, Tunisia, since 1965
- Tlemcen, Algeria, since 1969
- Saint Louis, Senegal, since 1979
- Córdoba, Andalusia, Spain, since 1982
- Jerusalem, Palestine (since 1982)[Note 1]
- İzmir, Turkey, since 1995
- Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso, since 2003
- Suwon, South Korea, since 2003
- Coimbra, Portugal
- Lahore, Pakistan
- Multan, Pakistan
- Puebla City, Mexico
- Treaty of Fez
- Book by Roger Le Tourneau (English translation by Besse Clement), Fez in the Age of the Marinides, Oklahoma University, editions 1961 and 1974 (latter ISBN 0-8061-1198-4).
- Article by Julian Vigo. "The Renovation of Fes’ medina qdima and the (re)Creation of the Traditional", Writing the City, Transforming the City, New Delhi: Katha, edition 2006.
- The open international project competition for Lalla Yeddouna, A Neighborhood in the Medina of Fez, announced in September 2010 in collaboration with the Union International des Architectes (UIA) and the Millenium Challenge Corporation (MCC), to renew the area and upgrade the living and working standards of the artisans in the medina. The approach of the project is probably one of the most ambitious for an Arab medina and therefore of exemplary character (www.projectcompetition-fez.com). The open international project was won by the London-based architecture practice Mossessian & Partners.
- "Fes, Kingdom of Morocco", Lat34North.com & Yahoo! Weather, 2009, webpages: L34-Fes and Yahoo-Fes-stats.
- Morocco 2014 Census
- Mother Nature Network, 7 car-free cities
- History of Fes
- Cities of the Middle-East and North-Africa A historical enceclopedia. Michael Dumper, Bruce E. Stanley, pagina 151.
- An architectural Investigation of Marinid and Watasid Fes p. 19
- "Fes". Encyclopædia Britannica. 2007. Britannica Concise Encyclopedia. 3 Mar. 2007
- The Places Where Men Pray Together, p. 463, at Google Books p. 55
- A History of the Maghrib in the Islamic Period By Jamil Mir'i Abun-Nasr. p. 51.
- Realm of Saints, p. 9, at Google Books
- Merriam Webster's Collegiate Encyclopedia. p.574.
- The Almoravids and the Meanings of Jihad, p. 43, at Google Books (p.51)
- Morocco 2009, p. 252, at Google Books (p.252)
- Roudh el-Kartas: Histoire des souverains du Maghreb, p. 459, at Google Books
- http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/348/1/uk_bl_ethos_426809.pdf An architectural Investigation of Marinid and Watasid Fes (p.16)
- http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/348/1/uk_bl_ethos_426809.pdf An architectural Investigation of Marinid and Watasid Fes (p.23)
- Encyclopedia of Islam, p. 896, at Google Books (p. 605)
- The Berbers and the Islamic State, p. 91, at Google Books (p. 90)
- Islamic Art a Visual Culture, p. 121, at Google Books (p. 121)
- http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/348/1/uk_bl_ethos_426809.pdf An architectural Investigation of Marinid and Watasid Fes (p.5)
- H. Z(J. W.) Hirschberg (1981). A history of the Jews in North Africa: From the Ottoman conquests to the present time, edited by Eliezer Bashan and Robert Attal. BRILL. p. 318. ISBN 90-04-06295-5.
- https://www.mcc.gov/where-we-work/program/morocco-compact Millennium Challenge Corporation, Washington D.C.
- "Weather history for Fez, Figuig, Morocco : Fez average weather by month". Meoweather.com. Retrieved 20 July 2014.
- "Climatological Information for Fez, Morocco". Hong Kong Observatory. 15 August 2011. Retrieved 16 August 2012.
- "Recensement général de la population et de l'habitat de 2004" (PDF). Haut-commissariat au Plan, Lavieeco.com. Retrieved 22 April 2012.
- Guinness World Records, Oldest University
- UNESCO, World Heritage Listing for Medina of Fez.
- Larbi Arbaoui, Al Karaouin of Fez: The Oldest University in the World, Morocco World News, 2 October 2012.
- "Groupe scolaire Jean-de-La-Fontaine." AEFE. Retrieved on June 16, 2016.
- "::.. Oncf ..::". Oncf.ma. Retrieved 2009-05-05.
- "Jumelage". Fes city. Retrieved 2010-12-10.
- Portal of Fez Partnercities, visited 26 July 2011
- "Sister cities of İzmir (1/7)" (in Turkish). Retrieved 2008-11-01.
- "Acordos de Geminação" (in Portuguese). © 2009 Câmara Municipal de Coimbra – Praça 8 de Maio – 3000-300 Coimbra. Retrieved 2009-06-25. External link in
- "Kraków - Miasta Partnerskie" [Kraków -Partnership Cities]. Miejska Platforma Internetowa Magiczny Kraków (in Polish). Archived from the original on 2013-07-02. Retrieved 2013-08-10.
- Published in the 19th century
- Jedidiah Morse; Richard C. Morse (1823), "Fez", A New Universal Gazetteer (4th ed.), New Haven: S. Converse
- H.M.P. de la Martinière (1889), "(Fez)", Morocco: Journeys in the Kingdom of Fez and to the Court of Mulai Hassan, London: Whittaker & Co., OCLC 4428176
- Published in the 20th century
- "Fez", The Encyclopaedia Britannica (11th ed.), New York: Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1910, OCLC 14782424
- Edith Wharton (1920), "Fez", In Morocco, New York: Scribner
- Arden, Harvey (March 1986). "Morocco's Ancient City of Fez". National Geographic. Vol. 169 no. 3. pp. 330–353. ISSN 0027-9358. OCLC 643483454.
- Published in the 21st century
- Stefano Bianca (2000), "Case Study 3: Fez", Urban Form in the Arab World, Zürich: ETH Zürich, ISBN 3728119725, 0500282056
- C. Edmund Bosworth, ed. (2007). "Fez". Historic Cities of the Islamic World. Leiden: Koninklijke Brill.
- Michael R.T. Dumper; Bruce E. Stanley, eds. (2008), "Fez", Cities of the Middle East and North Africa, Santa Barbara, USA: ABC-CLIO
- "Fez". Grove Encyclopedia of Islamic Art & Architecture. Oxford University Press. 2009.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Fes.|
- Official government website of the city
- Portal dedicated to Fez. Online Since 2006.
- Fez travel guide from Wikivoyage
- Fez Portal at Ville Fès
- Complexe culturel de Fès, Cultural Complex of Fez
- The portal of Fez at Fès-City
- Competition for the architectural and urban preservation and renovation of the Medina
- Medina Of Fes
- The Fez Festival: Sacred Music From Around The World – audio report by NPR
- "Fez". Islamic Cultural Heritage Database. Istanbul: Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Research Centre for Islamic History, Art and Culture.
- ArchNet.org. "Fez". Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA: MIT School of Architecture and Planning.
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