Moulay Idriss Zerhoun town is about 27 kilometres north of Meknes. This is the holy city in Morocco that was named after Idriss(I). He established the Idrisid dynasty. Consequently, it is a sacred city for all Muslims. Idris I, who brought Islam to Africa, established the first Arab state on Moroccan land. Naturally, Moulay Driss Zerhoun has become a continuous pilgrimage site for Muslims all over the world. Furthermore, Moroccan Muslims had to visit Moulay Idriss before doing Hajj. They had to show respect to the Idriss I.
Graceful sights of Moulay Driss Zerhoun begin before you arrive at the entrance. A panoramic view of a colourful metropolis of white stone appears from a distance. Also, homes appear to stand on top of each other, But they are on the top of an oceanic swell. Another lovely view emerges through the cemetery and cactus from Volubilis to Moulay Idriss Zerhoun. There aren’t many cars around this sacred town. Here, people use donkeys and mules to transport goods.
Who is Idris I?
Idris was the grandson of Caliph Ali and the daughter of Prophet Muhammad Fatima. He was forced to flee Mecca in 786 because of the persecution of the Abbasids. After that, the Amazigh welcomed him and he lived for a year in the city that bears his name. Idris I then succeeded in converting its population to Islam. With the help of his new religious partners, he raided other Amazigh tribes. He also founded Fes as the capital of the new state. Historians believed Idris had little military and limited weapons, but he won. According to legends, he unified many local tribes with Islam. He used Islam as the basis of the power. It is believed that the death of Idriss I resulted from a poisoning ordered by Abbasid caliph Harun al-Rashid. This happened before the birth of his son Idris II.
What to visit in Moulay Idriss Zerhoun?
Moulay Idriss Zerhoun Medina
Each city in Morocco has a Medina which is the old part of the city. Thus, Zerhoun Medina is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the preserved Medina cities in Morocco. Even though it is small, it offers interesting sights to see, such as narrow alleys and Zaways. A few small shops also sell Moroccan souvenirs like handmade carpets and jewellery…
What is Zawiys or Zawias in Islam? Zaways is a religious and traditional structure that is used for a variety of purposes such as a place of worship, a school, or a shrine.
The mausoleum of Moulay Idris
The mausoleum is one of the famous attractions in Moulay Idriss Zerhoun. At the same time, this is a pilgrimage site for thousands of Muslims from all over the world. Idris I’s holy remains can be found here. The shrine was last restored in the nineteenth century by Mouly Rahman. Because of its holiness features, non-Muslims can’t enter it. But it is worth a sight of the external design. A brief look from the entrance shows the ornate cemetery, surrounded by freshly lit candles and incense. The architecture of the mausoleums is a blend of Islamic and Moroccan influences. It has artistically designed arches and tiles, and also a peaceful courtyard. The mausoleum of Moulay Idris Zarhoun offers visitors an overview of Moroccan history and a spiritual and cultural experience.
Idriss Koranic School
Idriss School is well-known for its minaret with green ceramic tiles. It was built in 1939 and is one of the rare cylindrical minarets in Morocco. The minaret stands in sharp contrast to the architecture of the city. It is inscribed in Arabic words, “There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his Prophet.” The dates at the top refer to the year when the minaret was constructed
Moulay Idriss Zerhoun Market
Zerhoun market is more than just a shopping destination. It is also a social gathering place for both locals and visitors. It provides a real glimpse into the traditions and way of life of this Moroccan city. Thus, you can converse casually with vendors and bargain for unique products. Besides, you can enjoy and see Moroccan street cuisine and souvenirs in each corner of the market. You will also find aromatic spices, fabrics, and traditional Amazigh carpets that display the region’s workmanship.
What to wear in Moulay Driss Zerhoun?
Dressing properly in Moulay Idris Zarhoun not only shows respect for local customs but also your comfort while seeing the town. Zerhoun is the holy city and one of the most conservative towns in Morocco. Men and women must wear clothing covering their shoulders and knees. Long skirts or pants and tops with sleeves are appropriate choices. Head coverings for women are not required for non-Muslim women. However, women should bring a scarf, especially if they want to visit religious places. This is a sign of respect.
How to visit the holy city in Morocco?
To visit the holy town in Morocco, there are excursions from Fes to Meknes. During this day trip from Fes, you will visit the Meknes attractions, including Zerhoun town and the Jewish quarter. Also, you will have a chance to visit Volubilis, the Roman town. However, if you plan for a grand tour that includes the imperial cities, you can check 12 days tour from Casablanca.
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