Fez, Morocco

General Information

Regional secretariat


Administrative status

Chief city of the province of Fez and the urban prefectur

Medina of Fez

Registration Year


Historical function

Religious and university

Location and site

In the north of Morocco, near Andalusian Spain, the medina of Fez was established in the region of the limestone plateaus of the Middle Atlas chain, on the two shores of the wadi Fez.

Urban morphology

A rampart with a series of gates surrounds the two centres of medieval Fez. The principal axes link the centre to the gates and a street surrounds the heart of the old city. The Kairouan quarter, which is longer, is crossed by an artery. Narrow, tortuous pedestrian streets, covered passages, stairs and numerous dead-ends make up the dense layout with few urban squares.

In the middle of the landscape of flat roofs and minarets is a dense concentration of civic, religious and military monuments that reflect both the heyday of the Moorish city and, especially, the intellectual enlightenment of the Islamic city. The madrassas, the mosque (since transformed into a university) and the palace are very close to the heart of the city.

Registration criteria

Criterion (ii): The Medina of Fez bears a living witness to a flourishing city of the eastern Mediterranean having exercised considerable influence mainly from the 12th to the 15th centuries, on the development of architecture, monumental arts and town-planning, notably in North Africa, Andalusia and in Sub-Saharan Africa. Fez Jedid (the new town), was inspired from the earlier town-planning model of Marrakesh.

Criterion (v): The Medina of Fez constitutes an outstanding example of a medieval town created during the very first centuries of Islamisation of Morocco and presenting an original type of human settlement and traditional occupation of the land representative of Moroccan urban culture over a long historical period (from the 9th to the beginning of the 20th centuries). The ancient fragmented district of the medina with its high density of monuments of religious, civil and military character, are outstanding examples of this culture and the resulting interaction with the diverse stratum of the population that have influenced the wide variety of architectural forms and urban landscapes.

 Historical reference

  • Founded in 808 A.D. by the new Idrisid Dynasty proclaimed by Ali, the royal capital of Fez is composed of two centres, located on either side of the river and occupied respectively by Shi’ite immigrants from Andalusia and Kairouan.
  • While conflicts between the Fatimid Shi’ites and the Umayyads were pursued elsewhere in Morocco, the city of Fez underwent development.
  • After being captured repeatedly during the 11th century by the Almoravids Sunnites, the two quarters were united within the same fortification wall. Fez was then captured by the Shi’ite Almohad.
  • In the 13th century, when the Marinid came to power, Fez began to experience a period of progress. A new city and a Jewish quarter were added to the royal capital, which was enjoying expansion and enlightenment. Fez reached its heyday in the 14th century.
  • After its fall in the 15th century, Fez regained its function as capital under the rule of the Alawites (descendants of Ali who still reigned over Morocco) in the 19th century. From the time of its prestigious past to the present, Fez has retained its function as an Islamic cultural centre.



M. Abdeslam El Bakkali

Commune de Fès

Champs de Course Agdal
Fès, Maroc

+212.35 62.56.95
[email protected]

M. Chafik Salhi

Directeur des Relations Internationales et de la Coopération
Mairie de Fès

Champs de Course Agdal
Fès, Maroc

00212 5 35 62 36 64
[email protected]

M. Btissam Dahmani Idrissi

Elu en charge des Relations internationales
Commune de Fès

Champs de Course Agdal
Fès, Maroc

+212.61 24.79.45
[email protected]

M. Fouad Serrhini

Directeur général

4, avenue Zaid Ibn Harita(VN)
Fès, Maroc

[email protected]