Fez, Fès-Meknès Region, Morocco

Independence | Geography | Economy

🇲🇦 Fez or Fes is a city in northern inland Morocco and the capital of the Fès-Meknès administrative region. It is the second largest city in Morocco. Located to the north west of the Atlas Mountains, Fez is linked to several important cities of different regions; it is 206 km (128 mi) from Tangier to the north-west, 246 km (153 mi) from Casablanca, 189 km (117 mi) from Rabat to the west, and 387 km (240 mi) from Marrakesh to the southwest. It is surrounded by hills and the old city is centred around the Fez River (Oued Fes) flowing from west to east.

Fez was founded under Idrisid rule during the 8th 9th centuries CE. It initially consisted of two autonomous and competing settlements. Successive waves of mainly Arab immigrants from Ifriqiya (Tunisia) and al-Andalus (Spain/Portugal) in the early 9th century gave the nascent city its Arab character. After the downfall of the Idrisid dynasty, other empires came and went until the 11th century when the Almoravid Sultan Yusuf ibn Tashfin united the two settlements into what is today's Fes el-Bali quarter. Under Almoravid rule, the city gained a reputation for religious scholarship and mercantile activity.

Fez reached its zenith in the Marinid era (13th 15th centuries), regaining its status as political capital. Numerous new madrasas and mosques were constructed, many of which survive today, while other structures were restored. These buildings are counted among the hallmarks of Moorish and Moroccan architectural styles. In 1276 the Marinid sultan Abu Yusuf Yaqub also founded the royal administrative district of Fes Jdid, where the Royal Palace (Dar al-Makhzen) is still located today, to which extensive gardens were later added. During this period the Jewish population of the city grew and the Mellah (Jewish quarter) was formed on the south side of this new district. After the overthrow of the Marinid dynasty, Fez declined and subsequently competed with Marrakesh for political and cultural influence. It became the capital again under the 'Alawi (Alaouite) dynasty up until 1912.

Today, the city consists of two old medina quarters, Fes el-Bali and Fes Jdid, and the much larger modern urban Ville Nouvelle area founded during the French colonial era. The medina of Fez is listed as a World Heritage Site and is thought to be one of the world's largest urban pedestrian zones (car-free areas). It contains the University of Al-Qarawiyyin which was founded in 857 and is considered by some to be the oldest continuously functioning institute of higher education in the world. It also contains the Chouara Tannery from the 11th century, one of the oldest tanneries in the world. The city has been called the "Mecca of the West" and the "Athens of Africa". It is also considered the spiritual and cultural capital of Morocco.

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Independence After Morocco regained its independence in 1956 many of the trends begun under colonial rule continued and accelerated during the second half of the 20th century. Much of Fez's bourgeois classes moved to the growing metropolises of Casablanca and the capital, Rabat.  The Jewish population was particularly depleted, either moving to Casablanca or emigrating to countries like France, Canada, and Israel. Although the population of the city grew, it did so only slowly up until the late 1960s, when the pace of growth finally accelerated.  Throughout this period (and up to today) Fez nonetheless remained the country's third largest urban center. Between 1971 and 2000, the population of the city roughly tripled from 325,000 to 940,000. The Ville Nouvelle became the locus of further development, with new peripheral neighbourhoods–with inconsistent housing quality–spreading outwards around it. In 1963 the University of Al-Qarawiyyin was reorganised as a state university, while a new public university, Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University, was founded in 1975 in the Ville Nouvelle. In 1981, the old city, consisting of Fes el-Bali and Fes Jdid, was classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Social inequalities and economic precarity were accentuated during the repressive reign of King Hassan II and the period known as the Years of Lead (roughly 1975–1990).  Fez was strongly affected by unemployment and lack of housing. Austerity measures led to several riots and uprisings across other cities during the 1980s. On December 14, 1990, a general strike was called and led to protests and rioting by university students and youths in Fez. Buildings were burned and looted, including the Hôtel des Mérinides, a luxury hotel overlooking Fes el-Bali and dating to the time of Lyautey. Thousands were arrested and at least five were killed. The government promised to investigate and raise wages, though some of these measures were dismissed by the opposition.: Today Fez remains a regional capital and one of Morocco's most important cities. Many of the former notable families of Fez still make up a large part of the country's political elite. It is also a major tourism destination due to its historical heritage. In recent years efforts have been underway to restore and rehabilitate the old medina, ranging from the restoration of individual monuments to attempts to rehabilitate the Fez River.

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Geography The city is divided between its historic medina (the two walled districts of Fes el-Bali and Fes Jdid) and the now much larger Ville Nouvelle (New City) along with several outlying modern neighbourhoods. The old city is located in a valley along the banks of the Oued Fes (Fez River) just above its confluence with the larger Sebou River to the northeast.  The Fez River takes its sources from the south and west and is split into various small canals which provide the historic city with water. These in turn empty into the Oued Bou Khrareb, the stretch of the river which passes through the middle of Fes el-Bali and separates the Qarawiyyin quarter from the Andalusian quarter.

The new city occupies a plateau on the edge of the Saïs plain. The latter stretches out to the west and south and is occupied largely by farmland. Roughly 15 km south of Fes el-Bali is the region's main airport, Fes-Saïs. Further south is the town of Sefrou, while the city of Meknes, the next largest city in the region, is located to the southwest.

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Economy Historically, the city was one of Morocco's main centres of trade and craftsmanship. The tanning industry, for example, still embodied by tanneries of Fes el-Bali today, was a major source of exports and economic sustenance since the city's early history. Up until the late 19th century, the city was the only place in the world which fabricated the fez hat. The city's commerce was concentrated along its major streets, like Tala'a Kebira, and around the central bazaar known as the Kissariat al-Kifah from which many other souqs (markets) branched off.: , 122–129 : 56  The crafts industry continues to this day and is still focused in the old city, though largely reliant on tourism.

Today, the city's surrounding countryside, the fertile Saïss plains, is an important source of agricultural activity producing primarily cereals, beans, olives, and grapes, as well as raising livestock. Tourism is also a major industry due to the city's UNESCO-listed historic medina. Religious tourism is also present due to the old city's many major zawiyas (Islamic shrines), such as the Zawiya of Moulay Idris II and the Zawiya of Sidi Ahmed al-Tijani, which attract both Moroccan and international (especially West African) pilgrims. The city and the region still struggle with unemployment and economic precarity.

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Casablanca Time 
Casablanca Time
Image: Adobe Stock Tarik GOK #242664923

Fez is rated E+ by the Global Urban Competitiveness Report (GUCR) which evaluates and ranks world cities in the context of economic competitiveness. E+ cities are strong regional gateway cities. Fez has a population of over 300,000 people. Fez also forms the centre of the wider Fez metropolitan area which has a population of over 1,112,072 people. It is also a part of the larger Fès-Meknès Region.

To set up a UBI Lab for Fez see: https://www.ubilabnetwork.org Twitter: https://twitter.com/UBILabNetwork

Twin Towns, Sister Cities Fez has links with:

🇧🇫 Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso 🇨🇳 Chengdu, China 🇵🇹 Coimbra, Portugal 🇪🇸 Córdoba, Spain 🇵🇸 East Jerusalem, Palestine 🇮🇹 Florence, Italy 🇵🇸 Hebron, Palestine 🇵🇸 Jericho, Palestine 🇹🇳 Kairouan, Tunisia 🇵🇱 Kraków, Poland 🇵🇰 Lahore, Pakistan 🇫🇷 Montpellier, France 🇲🇽 Puebla, Mexico 🇫🇷 Saint-Louis, France 🇰🇷 Suwon, South Korea 🇩🇿 Tlemcen, Algeria 🇨🇳 Wuxi, China 🇨🇳 Xi'an, China

Fez is a member of the OWHC: Organization of World Heritage Cities with: 🇮🇱 Acre 🇳🇪 Agadez 🇮🇳 Ahmedabad 🇰🇿 Aktau 🇪🇸 Alcalá de Henares 🇸🇾 Aleppo 🇩🇿 Algiers 🇮🇳 Amber 🇮🇳 Amer 🇺🇸 Amsterdam 🇳🇱 Amsterdam 🇺🇸 Amsterdam 🇰🇷 Andong 🇵🇹 Angra do Heroísmo 🇱🇰 Anuradhapura 🇪🇸 Aranjuez 🇵🇪 Arequipa 🇩🇪 Augsburg 🇪🇸 Avila 🇪🇸 Baeza 🇮🇷 Bam 🇩🇪 Bamberg 🇸🇰 Banská Štiavnica 🇸🇰 Bardejov 🇬🇧 Bath 🇺🇸 Bath 🇳🇱 Beemster 🇧🇷 Belo Horizonte 🇹🇷 Bergama 🇳🇴 Bergen 🇳🇱 Bergen 🇺🇸 Berlin 🇩🇪 Berlin 🇺🇸 Berlin 🇺🇸 Berlin 🇨🇭 Bern 🇩🇪 Bernau bei Berlin 🇳🇵 Bhaktapur 🇷🇴 Biertan 🇰🇷 Boeun 🇷🇺 Bolgar 🇫🇷 Bordeaux 🇧🇷 Brasília 🇧🇧 Bridgetown 🇧🇪 Bruges 🇧🇪 Brussels 🇭🇺 Budapest 🇹🇷 Bursa 🇰🇷 Buyeo 🇪🇸 Cáceres 🇪🇬 Cairo 🇨🇺 Camaguey 🇲🇽 Campeche 🇫🇷 Carcassonne 🇨🇴 Cartagena 🇪🇸 Cartagena 🇨🇿 Český Krumlov 🇨🇳 Chengde 🇨🇻 Cidade Velha 🇵🇹 Coimbra 🇺🇾 Colonia del Sacramento 🇲🇽 Córdoba 🇦🇷 Córdoba 🇪🇸 Córdoba 🇻🇪 Coro 🇪🇸 Cuenca 🇪🇨 Cuenca 🇲🇽 Cuernavaca 🇵🇪 Cusco 🇸🇳 Dakar 🇸🇾 Damascus 🇮🇩 Denpasar 🇷🇺 Derbent 🇩🇪 Dessau 🇧🇷 Diamantina 🇹🇷 Diyarbakır 🇭🇷 Dubrovnik 🇨🇳 Dujiangyan 🇬🇧 Edinburgh 🇦🇲 Ejmiatsin 🇵🇹 Elvas 🇮🇶 Erbil 🇲🇦 Essaouira 🇵🇹 Évora 🇫🇷 Fontainebleau 🇺🇾 Fray Bentos 🇱🇰 Galle 🇰🇾 George Town 🇲🇾 George Town 🇱🇾 Ghadames 🇩🇿 Ghardaïa 🇮🇩 Gianyar 🇰🇷 Gochang County 🇰🇷 Gongju 🇦🇲 Goris City 🇳🇮 Granada 🇪🇸 Granada 🇨🇮 Grand-Bassam 🇦🇹 Graz 🇪🇸 Guadalajara 🇲🇽 Guadalajara 🇲🇽 Guanajuato 🇵🇹 Guimarães 🇰🇷 Gwangju 🇰🇷 Gyeongju 🇰🇷 Haenam 🇩🇪 Hamburg 🇰🇷 Hapcheon County 🇪🇹 Harar Jugol 🇨🇺 Havana 🇻🇳 Hoi An 🇻🇳 Huế 🇰🇷 Hwasun County 🇪🇸 Ibiza 🇦🇿 Icherisheher 🇰🇷 Iksan 🇹🇷 Istanbul 🇸🇦 Jeddah 🇺🇸 Jerusalem 🇮🇱 Jerusalem 🇰🇷 Jongno-Gu 🇹🇳 Kairouan 🇱🇰 Kandy 🇮🇩 Karangasem 🇸🇪 Karlskrona 🇳🇵 Kathmandu 🇷🇺 Kazan 🇺🇿 Khiva 🇩🇰 Kolding 🇹🇷 Konya 🇲🇪 Kotor 🇵🇱 Kraków 🇨🇿 Kutná Hora 🇯🇵 Kyōto 🇳🇵 Lalitpur 🇰🇪 Lamu 🇫🇷 Le Havre 🇫🇯 Levuka 🇨🇳 Lijiang 🇵🇪 Lima 🇱🇦 Luang Prabang 🇩🇪 Lübeck 🇨🇦 Lunenburg 🇱🇺 Luxembourg City 🇺🇦 Lviv 🇫🇷 Lyon 🇲🇴 Macau 🇲🇾 Malacca City 🇲🇦 Marrakesh 🇲🇦 Meknes 🇻🇪 Mérida 🇲🇽 Mérida 🇪🇸 Mérida 🇲🇽 Mexico City 🇵🇭 Miagao 🇮🇹 Modena 🇰🇪 Mombasa 🇫🇷 Mont-Saint-Michel 🇲🇽 Morelia 🇷🇺 Moscow 🇺🇸 Moscow 🇧🇦 Mostar 🇲🇿 Mozambique 🇧🇭 Muharraq 🇫🇷 Nancy 🇯🇵 Nara 🇩🇪 Naumburg 🇧🇬 Nessebar 🇳🇴 Notodden 🇲🇽 Oaxaca 🇲🇰 Ohrid 🇧🇷 Olinda 🇧🇷 Ouro Preto 🇺🇸 Oviedo 🇪🇸 Oviedo 🇮🇹 Padula 🇮🇹 Palazzolo Acreide 🇵🇦 Panama City 🇫🇷 Paris 🇺🇸 Paris 🇺🇸 Paris 🇬🇷 Patmos 🇺🇸 Philadelphia 🇵🇹 Porto 🇧🇴 Potosí 🇩🇪 Potsdam 🇺🇸 Potsdam 🇨🇿 Prague 🇫🇷 Provins 🇲🇽 Puebla 🇲🇲 Pyay 🇨🇦 Québec 🇩🇪 Quedlinburg 🇲🇽 Querétaro 🇪🇨 Quito 🇲🇦 Rabat 🇫🇮 Rauma 🇩🇪 Regensburg 🇬🇷 Rhodes 🇱🇻 Riga 🇵🇪 Rímac 🇧🇷 Rio de Janeiro 🇳🇱 Rotterdam 🇳🇴 Røros 🇹🇷 Safranbolu 🇷🇺 Saint Petersburg 🇫🇷 Saint-Louis 🇪🇸 Salamanca 🇧🇷 Salvador 🇦🇹 Salzburg 🇺🇸 San Antonio 🇨🇱 San Antonio 🇮🇨 San Cristóbal de La Laguna 🇮🇹 San Gimignano 🇲🇽 San Miguel de Allende 🇲🇽 San Pablo Villa de Mitla 🇾🇪 Sanaa 🇨🇴 Santa Cruz de Mompox 🇪🇸 Santiago de Compostela 🇧🇷 São Luís 🇪🇸 Segovia 🇹🇷 Selçuk 🇰🇷 Seongbuk 🇾🇪 Shibam 🇷🇴 Sighișoara 🇸🇬 Singapore 🇵🇹 Sintra 🇹🇳 Sousse 🇭🇷 Split 🇧🇲 St George's 🇸🇪 Stockholm 🇩🇪 Stralsund 🇫🇷 Strasbourg 🇧🇴 Sucre 🇮🇩 Surakarta 🇰🇷 Suwon 🇷🇺 Suzdal 🇨🇳 Suzhou 🇪🇪 Tallinn 🇪🇸 Tarragona 🇮🇱 Tel Aviv 🇨🇿 Telč 🇬🇧 Telford 🇲🇦 Tétouan 🇲🇱 Timbuktu 🇳🇴 Tinn 🇲🇽 Tlacotalpan 🇧🇷 Toledo 🇺🇸 Toledo 🇵🇭 Toledo 🇪🇸 Toledo 🇵🇱 Toruń 🇨🇿 Třebíč 🇨🇺 Trinidad 🇭🇷 Trogir 🇭🇳 Trujillo 🇵🇪 Trujillo 🇹🇳 Tunis 🇰🇿 Turkistan 🇪🇸 Úbeda 🇲🇹 Valletta 🇨🇱 Valparaíso 🇻🇦 Vatican City 🇷🇺 Veliky Novgorod 🇺🇸 Vienna 🇺🇸 Vienna 🇦🇹 Vienna 🇵🇭 Vigan 🇱🇹 Vilnius 🇳🇴 Vinje 🇸🇪 Visby 🇵🇱 Warsaw 🇺🇸 Warsaw 🇨🇼 Willemstad 🇩🇪 Wismar 🇲🇽 Xochimilco 🇰🇷 Yangsan 🇷🇺 Yaroslavl 🇮🇷 Yazd 🇰🇷 Yeongju 🇦🇲 Yerevan 🇾🇪 Zabid 🇲🇽 Zacatecas 🇵🇱 Zamość 🇹🇿 Zanzibar City

Text Atribution: Wikipedia Text under CC-BY-SA license | GUCR

Antipodal to Fez is: 174.997,-34.037

Locations Near: Fez -5.00296,34.0371

🇲🇦 Fes -4.965,34.06 d: 4.3  

🇲🇦 El Hajeb -5.367,33.683 d: 51.7  

🇲🇦 Meknes -5.549,33.9 d: 52.6  

🇲🇦 Azrou -5.217,33.433 d: 70  

🇲🇦 Ouazzane -5.583,34.8 d: 100.2  

🇲🇦 Khemisset -6.067,33.817 d: 101.2  

🇲🇦 Chefchaouen -5.271,35.171 d: 128.4  

🇲🇦 Ksar El Kebir -5.9,34.983 d: 133.5  

🇲🇦 El-Ksar el-Kebir -5.9,34.983 d: 133.5  

🇲🇦 Tétouan -5.367,35.567 d: 173.3  

Antipodal to: Fez 174.997,-34.037

🇳🇿 Whangārei 174.326,-35.725 d: 19817.7  

🇳🇿 Hibiscus Coast 174.698,-36.606 d: 19728.2  

🇳🇿 North Shore City 174.75,-36.8 d: 19707.1  

🇳🇿 Auckland 174.763,-36.853 d: 19701.2  

🇳🇿 Hamilton 175.28,-37.788 d: 19597.2  

🇳🇿 Tauranga 176.154,-37.7 d: 19594.7  

🇳🇿 Cambridge 175.467,-37.883 d: 19585.3  

🇳🇿 Rotorua 176.25,-38.133 d: 19545.9  

🇳🇿 Taupō 176.072,-38.687 d: 19489.2  

🇳🇿 Stratford 174.283,-39.333 d: 19422.8  

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