Morocco // Fez, Meknes and the Middle Atlas //

Moulay Idriss

The holy town of MOULAY IDRISS, spread across the foothills of Jebel Zerhoune, 25km north of Meknes and 4km from Volubilis, takes its name from its founder, Morocco’s most venerated saint and the creator of its first Arab dynasty. His mausoleum, the reason for its sacred status, is the object of constant pilgrimage, not to mention an important summer moussem – a trip to which is worth a fifth of the hajj to Mecca. For most Western tourists, there is little specific to see and certainly nothing that may be visited – non-Muslims are barred from the shrine – but you could easily lose a happy half-day exploring the tangled lanes that shimmy between the sugar-cube houses scattered over the hills, enjoying delightful window-views or just absorbing the laidback atmosphere. Few tourists bother to stay overnight, another reason to linger.