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Best Morocco Travel

Moulay Idriss Zerhoun

Moulay Idriss Zerhoun

Moulay Idriss Zerhoun

Moulay Idriss Zerhoun stands as a haven preserving its authentic essence, a characteristic retained since its past, notably until the pivotal year of 1917 when access was limited exclusively to non Muslims. Even with a gradual opening to foreigners from that point onward, the town remains a rare gem for international travelers. This post delves into the charm of Moulay Idriss Zerhoun its significance, location, and compelling reasons that make it a destination worth exploring.

What is Moulay Idriss Zerhoun

Nestled just 30 km from Meknes, Moulay Idriss Zerhoun is a quaint city with a population of barely 15,000 residents. For those well versed in Moroccan history, the name Moulay Idriss resonates he was a direct descendant of Muhammad and the visionary founder of the Idrisid dynasty. This dynasty, the inaugural Muslim ruling lineage in Morocco, held sway over the region from the 8th to the 10th centuries, with Fes as its capital.

The city derives its name from the mausoleum of Moulay Idriss, turning it into one of Morocco’s most significant pilgrimage sites. Many regard this pilgrimage as a compelling alternative for those unable to go on the sacred journey to Mecca. It is crucial, however, not to mistake this mausoleum with that of his son, Moulay Idris II, situated in the city of Fes. Each holds its distinct historical and spiritual significance.

Why visit Moulay Idriss Zerhoun?

Given its sacred nature, numerous monumental spaces in Moulay Idriss are accessible exclusively to Muslim believers. Consequently, non Muslim foreign tourists can only marvel at the exterior of significant sites like the Moulay Idris mausoleum and local mosques. Nevertheless, a stroll through the city’s streets offers a truly picturesque experience. The setting of Moulay Idriss Zerhoun is equally captivating, nestled amid lush hills adorned with olive trees. The juxtaposition of the farmhouse’s white hues, the vibrant greenery, and the ceramic tiles adorning many rooftops creates a visually stunning panorama.

Visiting this charming town is a year-round possibility, offering a timeless allure. Yet, two special moments can elevate your experience. The first occurs from mid-November during the olive harvest, transforming stalls and establishments into a showcase for a myriad of olive based products. The second, the celebration of the Moussem de Moulay Idriss, draws pilgrims nationwide, infusing the streets with vibrant colors and resounding music. The festival features street parades with Sufi brotherhoods, professional guilds, and folklore troops (Hmadcha, Aissoua, Hal Touat) seeking mystical ecstasy in homage to the saint.

It’s important to note that this festival, while unique, isn’t frequented by many tourists. Respect for the local environment is paramount. Therefore, especially during the Moussem, if you plan to visit Moulay Idriss Zerhoun, consider engaging with an expert our Best Morocco Travel agency. They can organize an unforgettable experience, providing private transportation, accommodation, and any other necessary services, ensuring a seamless and respectful exploration of this cultural gem.