Idea #425 – Exploring the Medina of Fès in Morocco
The “Medina Fes” was based by the chérif alide Idris Ier in 789 in the location of the current district of the Andalusians. In the IXe century, the university mosque Quaraouiyine based by the aristocrat of origin kairouanaise Fatima el Fihriya becomes one of the spiritual and cultural the most important centers of the time and participle at the age of intellectual gold of the Islamic civilization. In 808, the regent Rashid Ben Morshid bases the counter “al-Aliya” on the other bank of the wadi of Fes. Al Aliya develops very fast and becomes a real city with mosque, palace and kissariya – hall, market. In the Xth and XIth centuries, the city of Fes is taken by Maghraoua. It will be the theater of battle between tribes Zénètes Maghraoua and Banou Ifren successively swearing allegiance in the caliphate of Córdoba or in the Fatimides.
In 1069, by destroying the wall which separated them, both urban parts unite and form a unique city. At the end of the XIth century, under the dynasty Almoravide, Fes loses its role of capital for the benefit of Marrakesh, but resumes it in 1250 thanks to the dynasty Mérinide. In 1276, the latter build a new city, surrounded with ramparts, known under the name of El Medinet El-Beida, the “white city”. She is quickly known under the name of Fes Jedid (new Fes) in opposition to Fes el Bali (the old town). At the beginning of the XIVth century, the city knows a strong growth. By caravans going up to the port of Badis to Rif, Fes is permanently bound to the kingdom of Grenada and in the whole Mediterranean world. In 1471, the city falls to the hands of the dynasty Beni Ouattas which reigns only over the kingdom of Fes in the north portion of current Morocco. In 1522, Fes suffers from an earthquake which destroys partially the city. In the years which follow, numerous buildings are reconstructed, restored or replaced.
In 1554, the dynasty of Saadiens takes Fes, for which it competes to the Turks of Algiers, but indicates Marrakesh as capital. At the end of the XVIIth century, with the debuts of the Alawi dynasty, Moulay Ismail indicates Meknes as new capital of the Empire chérifien. He installs in Fes in garrison a part of the tribe Guich des Oudayas who had helped him to win the power. After his death, Oudayas rebels, and they will be expelled from the city only in 1833 by sultan Abd al-Rahman. Moulay Abdallah, the successor of Moulay Ismail, made by Fes its place of residence permanent and made renovate or build mosques, schools, bridges and streets, in particular the streets of Fes Jedid which are paved from now on. In the XIXth century, the former two parts of the city are connected. Till the beginning of the protectorate in 1912, Fes is the capital of Morocco, function which is afterward devolved in Rabat. The medina, the old district, is classified on the UNESCO world heritage list and establishes the biggest urban region without car of the world.
Where is it ?