Moulay Idriss: The Sacred Heart of Morocco.

December 29, 2017 Morocco Write a Comment 3,892 Views

Moulay Idriss: The Sacred Heart Of Morocco.

Moulay Idriss is not on every travellers agenda, even though it’s considered the holiest city of Morocco. For good reason. Until 2005, non-Muslims were not permitted to stay overnight in Moulay Idriss. Guide books warned the tourists who “dared” to visit to be out of town by 3pm.

We were yet again on a road trip through Morocco, this time our journey would take us all the way to Mauritania, but before, we wanted to explore the northern parts a bit more. Moulay Idriss made its way onto our map, because we wanted to see for ourselves, what made this city so holy.

We arrived in Tangier with the ferry from Geneva and had already passed beautiful Chefchaouen. Moulay Idriss would be our next destination before continuing to Fez. We heard that it was considered an alternative to the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca by many Moroccans. It was here that Moulay Idriss I, the great-great-great grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, arrived in 789, bringing with him the religion of Islam, and starting a new dynasty. In addition to founding the town named after him, he also initiated construction of Fez, continued later by his son, Moulay Idriss II.

Given its picturesque setting, colourful streets, historic core and Moroccan importance, it’s a mystery why not more tourists visit. It’s lack of popularity is a good thing though, because you can often have the place all to yourself. And it’s safe to say that the city will surprise you with it’s beauty and calm atmosphere.

The colourful streets of Moulay Idriss seem like another Chefchaouen, but instead of blue, cyan is the main colour in use here.
The colourful streets of Moulay Idriss seem like another Chefchaouen, but instead of blue, cyan is the main colour in use here.
For some (Western) visitors, Moulay Idriss may still be too "dirty" or "undeveloped", yet it is exactly that, that makes it authentic and gives it its charm.
For some (Western) visitors, Moulay Idriss may still be too “dirty” or “undeveloped”, yet it is exactly that, that makes it authentic and gives it its charm.
Moulay Idriss was off limit to non-Muslims after 3pm until 2005. This was because of the town’s holiness: it's a pilgrimage site, the burial place of Moulay Idriss I. In 2005, Muhammed VI, the current king of Morocco, issued a decree to open the town to non-Muslim visitors as part of his plan of Western-oriented reform.
Moulay Idriss was off limit to non-Muslims after 3pm until 2005. This was because of the town’s holiness: it’s a pilgrimage site, the burial place of Moulay Idriss I. In 2005, Muhammed VI, the current king of Morocco, issued a decree to open the town to non-Muslim visitors as part of his plan of Western-oriented reform.
The sheer endless streets of Moulay Idriss reminded us of colourful Chefchaouen, but also a little bit of the Medina of Marrakech.
The sheer endless streets of Moulay Idriss reminded us of colourful Chefchaouen, but also a little bit of the Medina of Marrakech.
Donkeys can be seen everywhere in Moulay Idriss. They're used to transport everything from people, shopping, luggage, beds, fridges, tables due to the hilly nature of the town.
Donkeys can be seen everywhere in Moulay Idriss. They’re used to transport everything from people, shopping, luggage, beds, fridges, tables due to the hilly nature of the town.
In the medina quarter of Moulay Idriss you will find many colourful streets that are the perfect photo spot.
In the medina quarter of Moulay Idriss you will find many colourful streets that are the perfect photo spot.
Due to Mouy Idriss' location high above, the views are absolutely spectacular.
Due to Mouy Idriss’ location high above, the views are absolutely spectacular.
One reason the Romans chose Moulay Idriss was for its potential for making olive oil, which is today the town’s primary product.
One reason the Romans chose Moulay Idriss was for its potential for making olive oil, which is today the town’s primary product.
Moulay Idriss is reachable by just a pair of roads and spreads across two foothills of Mount Zerhoun, at the base of the Atlas Mountains.
Moulay Idriss is reachable by just a pair of roads and spreads across two foothills of Mount Zerhoun, at the base of the Atlas Mountains.
The Mosque and Mausoleum in Moulay Idriss.
The Mosque and Mausoleum in Moulay Idriss.
The archaeological Site of Volubilis is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Volubilis is a partly excavated Roman city, commonly considered as the ancient capital of the Roman-Berber kingdom of Mauretania.
The archaeological Site of Volubilis is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Volubilis is a partly excavated Roman city, commonly considered as the ancient capital of the Roman-Berber kingdom of Mauretania.
While the streets in the Medinas of Marrakech, Chefchaouen or Fes are invigorating, they can also be exhausting. Moulay Idriss is the perfect spot to get away from the bustling city life, while still being in a city.
While the streets in the Medinas of Marrakech, Chefchaouen or Fes are invigorating, they can also be exhausting. Moulay Idriss is the perfect spot to get away from the bustling city life, while still being in a city.
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