Moulay Idriss Zerhoun: what is it and why visit it?

Moulay Idriss Zerhoun

   Moulay Idriss Zerhoun is one of those places that maintain all its original essence, largely because until 1917 it was a locality that could not be accessed by non-Muslims. And although from that year it was slightly opened to foreigners, it is still a place where the international traveler is a rarity. In this post, we tell you what it is, where it is, and why it is worth a visit.

What is Moulay Idriss Zerhoun?

The name Moulay Idriss Zerhoun is given to a small town of barely 15,000 inhabitants, just 30 km from Meknes. Readers more versed in the history of Morocco will know the name of Moulay Idriss: he was a descendant of Mohammed and was the founder of the Idrisid dynasty, the first Muslim dynasty in the country and the one that ruled this territory between the eighth and tenth centuries, with its capital in Fez.

   And it receives this name because here is his mausoleum and, therefore, is one of the largest pilgrimage sites in Morocco. In fact, many are those who consider this pilgrimage as the alternative for those who do not have the resources to go to Mecca. But this mausoleum should not be confused with that of his son, Moulay Idris II, which is located in the city of Fez.

Moulay Idriss Zerhoun

Why visit Moulay Idriss Zerhoun?

   Being a sacred locality, many of the monumental spaces can only be visited by Muslim believers, so foreign tourists who do not profess this religion should only admire its exterior. This is the case with the aforementioned mausoleum of Moulay Idris and the mosques of the town, among others.

   However, just strolling through its streets will be a very picturesque experience. In addition, the very location of Moulay Idriss Zerhoun is spectacular: nestled between green hills of olive trees, in what is a beautiful combination between the white color of the village and the green of the trees and ceramic tiles that cover many roofs.

Moulay Idriss Zerhoun

   Therefore, a visit to this town can be done at any time of the year. But there are two special moments that, if they coincide with your trip, will give it a special character. The first is from mid-November when the olive harvest begins and many stalls and establishments are filled with olive products.

    And the second moment, is when the Moussem of Moulay Idriss is celebrated, is a festival that attracts pilgrims from all over the country and fills the streets with color and music. Street parades take place, with Sufi brotherhoods, professional guilds, and folkloric troops (Hmadcha, Aissoua, Hal Touat) performing demonstrations and seeking the longed-for mystical ecstasy that connects you with the saint.

   However, you should know that it is a very particular festival, where it is unusual to see too many tourists and where it is essential to be respectful of the environment. Therefore, if you are planning to visit Moulay Idriss Zerhoun, especially during the Moussem, we recommend you put yourself in the hands of an expert agency in this country, such as Desert Merzouga Tours: we will know how to organize an unforgettable experience, including private transport, accommodation and any other service you may need.

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