Fes, Morocco

Fast Facts

Founded: 789 Population: 946,815 Time Zone: 0
Latitude: 34.019 N Longitude: 5.0029 W Altitude: 1,259 ft
Average High: 76.89 Average Low: 52.2 Annual Precipitation: 21.10


Fés or Fez (Fas in Arabic) is the third largest city in Morocco, after Casablanca and Rabat , with a population of 946,815 (2004 census). It is the capital of the Fés-Boulemane Region.

Fés is located in northern Morocco, on the Wadi Fés just above its influx into the Sebou River. Fes is the oldest of Morocco's four imperial cities (the others are Marrakech, Meknes and Rabat). Fes was founded on the banks of the Wadi Fés by Idris I (east bank, about 789) and Idris II (west bank, about 809). The two parts were united by the Almoravids in the 11th century to become a major Islamic city. Fés reached its zenith as a center of learning and commerce 1269 when the Merenids make Fez their new capital. Many great buildings and monuments are erected during the following two centuries.

It is one of the four so-called "imperial cities" (the others are Marrakesh, Meknes and Rabat). Fes is separated into three parts, Fes el Bali (the old, walled city), Fes-Jdid (new Fes, home of the Mellah; built in 1257), and the Ville Nouvelle (the French-created, newest section of Fes). The Medina of Fes el Bali, the largest of the two medinas of Fes, is believed to be the largest contiguous car free urban area in the world. Fes is the home of University of Kairaouine the oldest university of the country and the leading cultural and religious center. Fez is also the home of the oldest an largest medieval city in the world, a city that is almost unchanged through the modern ages and still most definitely alive. Fes el Bali is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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History of Fes, Morocco.

  • 789: The city of Fes is founded by Idris ibn Abdullah on the east bank of the seasonal river or Wadi, Fez. Fes is the second Islamic town in Morocco, only the town of Moulay Idriss being slightly older.
  • 809: A new part of the town is established on the west bank of the Wadi by Idris II.
  • 810: The Kairouyine mosque, one of the oldest and largest in Africa, was built by Idris II.
  • 818: The El Andoua district is established by Muslim refugees from Andalucia, Spain.
  • 825: The Kairouani district is established by refugees from Kairouan, Tunisia.
  • 857: The Karaouine Mosque is founded by a wealthy woman from Kairouan.
  • 953: The Fatimid representatives are forced out of Fez, and it reverts to the control of the Idrisids.
  • 960: The Fatimid's recapture Fez.
  • 985: The Ommayyads take control over Fez.
  • 1063: The Almoravid sultan, Yusuf bni Tashufin, starts sieg of Fez.
  • 1069: Fez falls into the hands of Yussuf bni Tachfin. At this point Fez consists of two walled cities, separated by the river. Following his victory, Yussuf starts joining the two cities with one wall.
  • Around 1200: Fez is an important city with 120,000 inhabitants, many native artistic and industrial products, such as silk-weaving, leatherwork, and metalwork's. Much of the city's success comes from the large immigration of Andulucian refugees.
  • 1269: The Merenids make Fez their new capital, at the expense of Marrakech. This marks the beginning of the greatest period of Fez, when many great buildings and monuments are erected during the following two centuries.
  • 1276: A new quarter begins to be built under the control of the Merenids sultan, Abu Yussuf. First, it is called the White City, but soon it gets the name, Fes-Jdid.

1500 - 1700
  • 1551: Fez is captured by the Saadians, and Marrakech becomes its capital.
  • 1666: Following a period of unrest and poverty, Moulay Rashid takes control over Fez, and makes it his capital. He restored order with a firm hand, revived the life of all mosques and drove out all the pretenders.
1700 - 2000
  • 1916: Arrival of the French is followed by the construction of the French-style Ville Nouvelle section of the city outside the traditional city walls.
  • 1956: A large emigration from the Jewish quarters begins, following the independence of Morocco, and sinceIsrael was founded in 1948. The Jewish quarter has been emptied of its Jewish population (In 1465, there was large massacre of Jews by Arab riots).
  • 1981: Fes el Bali (the old, walled city) is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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History of Morocco

Ancient times

  • The area of modern Morocco has been inhabited since Neolithic times, at least 8000 BC, as attested by signs of the Caspian culture, in a time when the Maghreb was less arid than it is today. Many scholars believe the Berber language probably arrived in North Africa around the same time as agriculture, and was adopted by the existing population. Modern genetic analyses (see the Genographic Project) have confirmed that along with the Berber and Arab groups; various other populations have contributed to the present-day population of Morocco; including Phoenicians, Sephardic Jews, and sub-Saharan Africans. The Berbers are also known as "Amazigh", or by their regional ethnic identity, such as Chleuh. In the classical period, Morocco was known as Mauretania, although this should not be confused with the modern country of Mauritania.
  • 12th century BC: The Phoenicians, spreading out from the land known then as Canaan in the Eastern Mediterranean established trading posts along the north coast of Africa. The Phoenicians were essentially a maritime people, they were not interested in conquering or colonizing. The Phoenicians payed scant attention to he primitive berber tribes and poor agricultural land of the interior of Morocco. Traces if the Phoenician trading post can be found in Tangier(Tangis), Mellilia (Russadir), Chellah part of Rahat and Tamuda (near Tetouan).
  • 7th century BC: Lixus was settled by the Phoenicians. Lixus was later conquered by Carthage. When Carthage fell to Ancient Rome, Lixus became a Roman imperial outpost.
  • 6th century BC: Carthage conquers the territory of the Ancient Libyan tribes and old Phoenician colonies and takes control over the North African coast. The Carrageen empire stretched from Egypt in the east to Morocco in the west and included Sardinia, Malta, the Balearic Islands, and the western half of Sicily.
  • 5th century BC: Tangier is founded by Carthaginian colonists.
  • 149: Rome conquers Carthage in the third Punic War. Carthage is burned almost totally to the ground, and Rome imposes strict regulations regarding further settlements on the remaining population.
  • 1st century BC: The commercial town of Tingis came under Roman rule first as a free city and then, under Augustus Caesar , Tingis becomes a colony, capital of Mauritania Tingitana of Hispania.

Prior to 1500

  • 670: The first Arab invasions of the North African coastal plain took place under Uqba ibn Nafi (also referred to as Oqba Ben Nafi), commander of the Umayed dynasty in Damascus.
  • 683: The Arab invasion of Morocco faced strong resistance from local Berbers. After about a century of fierce battles with Berbers, the Arabs occupied Morocco. In response to the Arab Muslim rule, the berber found the small independent kingdom of Anfa (present day Casablanca) on the Atlantic coast of Morocco.
  • 788: The holy city of Moulay Idriss is established by Moulay Idriss a descendant of Muhammad.
  • 789: The city of Fes is founded by Idris I on the east bank of the seasonal river Fez.
  • 804: Idris II who was born two months after his father´s death becomes King. He was educated and prepared for his awesome task of unify Morocco under Islam.
  • 11th century: Meknes is founded by the Almoravids as a military settlement
  • 1269: The Merenids make Fez their new capital, at the expense of Marrakech. This marks the beginning of the greatest period of Fez, when many great buildings and monuments are erected during the following two centuries.
  • 1437: The tomb of Idris 1 is located in Volubilis, and a tremendously popular cult finds its center there.

1500 - 1700
  • 1515: The Portuguese build a military fortresses on the ruins of Anfa. The town that grew up around it was called "Casablanca", meaning "White House" in Portuguese.
  • 1551: Fez is captured by the Saadians, and Marrakech becomes its capital.
  • 1666: Following a period of unrest and poverty, Mulai Ismail Ibn Sharif takes control over Fez, and makes it his capital. Moulay Ismail began construction of an elaborate imperial palace and other monuments. At its peak, Moulay Ismail's empire included present day Algeria and Mauritania. Moulay Ismail is also known as a fearsome ruler. Moulay Ismail used at least 25,000 slaves for the construction of his capital. His Christian slaves from Western Europe were often used as bargaining counters with the European powers, selling them back their captured subjects for inflated sums or for rich gifts. Most of his slaves were obtained by Barbary pirates in raids on Western Europe.
  • 1672-1727: Under the reign of Moulay Ismael; Morocco once again becomes a great country. He exchanged ambassadors with many leading Powers. Moulay Ismael selects Meknes as the imperial city which he made his capital.
1700 - 2000
  • 1755: An earthquake destroyers most of Casablanca. The place build by Moulay Ismail is destroyed by the earthquake.
  • 1757: Mohamed ben Abdellah a wise and strong Alaouite ruler came to the throne. He built the city of Essaouira. He invites the English, the French, and the jewish people to settle and to trade there. He rebuild Casablanca between 1756-1790.
  • 1777: Morocco becomes the first nation, to recognize the fledgling United States as an independent nation.
  • 1777, December 20: Morocco's Sultan declared that the American merchant ships would be under the protection of the sultanate and could thus enjoy safe passage (see Barbary Pirates).
  • 1786: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson sign the Moroccan-American Treaty of Friendship. This is the oldest non-broken friendship treaty.
  • 1821: The Legation Building in Tangier became the first piece of property acquired abroad by the U.S. government. A gift to the U.S. from Sultan Moulay Suliman. It was bombarded by the French Prince de Joinville in 1844
  • 1873: Moulay el hassan acceded to the throne. He had the task of pacifying the tribes and was the first monarch to enter the wild Souss Area, where the tribes never acknowledged the authority of the state.
  • 1844: The French Navy bombarded and briefly occupies Essaouira.
  • 1906: Morocco is internationalizing and placed under the protectorate of the French government by the Conference of Algeciras (in which 30 nations were present).
  • 1912: Sultan Mulai Abd al-Hafiz signed the Treaty of FEZ giving up the sovereignty of Morocco to the French and Spainish, making the country a protectorate. The country was under the control of a French Resident-General called Lyauty. He rebuilds the ports of Casablanca and Kenitra, the new towns of Rabat, Fez, Meknes and Marrakech. A modern educational system was introduced, the administration was modernized and the legal system reformed. The tribes in the south of Morocco were still very rebellious.
  • 1923: Tangier is made an international zone under the joint administration of France, Spain, and Britain, joined by Italy in 1928.
  • 1938: World War Two begins.
  • 1940, May 10: Nazis invade France, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands
  • 1940, June 22: France signs an armistice with the Nazis. The French Vichy government retains Morocco.
  • 1942, Nov 8: Operation Torch begins (U.S. and British invasion of North Africa).
  • 1943: Winston Churchill, Present Franklin D. Roosevelt and Charles de Gaulle meet in Casablanca (see Casablanca Conference ) to discuss the progress of the war.
  • 1945, May 7: Unconditional surrender of all German forces to Allies. World War II ends in Europe (VE Day).
  • 1945, Sept 2: Japanese sign the surrender agreement; World War II ends (VJ Day).
  • 1945, Oct 24: United Nations is officially born.
  • 1953, August: The French deport the royal family to Corsica and Madagascar, and appoint another person to sit on the throne. The Moroccan people react violence towards the French officials.
  • 1956, March: The French signed an agreement in which they granted full independence to Morocco.
  • 1981: Fes el Bali (the old, walled city) is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • 1996: Meknes is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

More on the History of Fes and Morocco.

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Fes, Morocco, Weather Information

Monthly average highs and low temperatures and the average amount of precipitation for Fes, Morocco.
Data from Climate-data.org: Fes.

Month Jan. Feb. March April May June July Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec. Annual
Avg. High 60.3 ° 63.1 ° 68 ° 72.9 ° 79. ° 88.2 ° 97.2 ° 97 ° 89.1 ° 78.1 ° 68.5 ° 61 ° 76.89 °
Avg. Low 39.6 ° 41.5 ° 46.4 ° 49.6 ° 53.8 ° 59.7 ° 64.4 ° 65.1 ° 61.2 ° 55.2 ° 47.5 ° 42.4 ° 52.2 °
Mean 49.95 ° 52.3 ° 57.2 ° 61.25 ° 66.4 ° 73.95 ° 80.8 ° 81.05 ° 75.15 ° 66.65 ° 58 ° 51.7 ° 64.53 °
Avg. Prec. 2.40 in 2.83 in 2.95 in 2.598 in 1.457 in 0.59 in 0.039 in 0.078 in 0.472 in 1.85 in 2.76 in 3.07 in 21.10 in

The climate in Fes is warm during summer when temperatures tend to be in the upper 80's to low 90's and moderate during winter when temperatures tend to be in the 40's. The yearly mean is 64.53° Fahrenheit. The climate in Fes, Morocco, is classified as a Hot-summer The warmest months of the year are July and August with an average maximum temperature of 97° Fahrenheit, while the coldest month of the year is January with an average minimum temperature of 39.6° Fahrenheit.

Temperature variations between night and day tend to be large during the year, with an average difference of 20° Fahrenheit in the winter and as much as 33° Fahrenheit in the summer.

Rainfall varies throughout the year. The driest months of the year are July and August with an average rainfall of less than 0.10 inches. The wettest month of the year is December with an average rainfall of 3.07 inches. The annual average precipitation in Fes is 21.10 inches.

Morocco´s Climate

Morocco has two climatic zones. (1.) a Mediterranean climate in the north and central areas that is characterized by warm wet winters and hot dry summers, similar to the climate found in much of California between Cape Mendocino and greater Los Angeles. (2.) A semiarid climate similar to the climat fround in Colorado. Montana, Wyoming and most of Utah in the United Sates. The semiarid climat of Morocco predominant in the pre-Sahara region. The wet seasons are from April to May and October to November with average annual precipitation varying from 254 mm (10 inches) to 100 mm (4 inches) depending on the region. During summer the intensely hot and sometimes violent winds of the Sahara Desert known as the Sirocco or Chergui prevails.

Rain falls mainly during the winter months. Precipitation is heaviest in the northwest and lightest in the east and south. Average annual precipitation is about 38 inches in Tangier, 17 inches in Casablanca, 11 inches in Essaouira, and less than 4 inches in the Sahara.

Climate Classification:

The climate in Fes, Morocco, is classified as hot-summer Mediterranean climate; (Csa) by the Köppen-Geiger system.

 Hot-summer Mediterranean climate; coldest month averaging above 0 °C (32 °F) (or −3 °C (27 °F)), at least one month's average temperature above 22 °C (71.6 °F), and at least four months averaging above 10 °C (50 °F). At least three times as much precipitation in the wettest month of winter as in the driest month of summer, and driest month of summer receives less than 30 mm (1.2 in). [Ref]

Earth Science

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Historical Weather data

Morocco Notable Severe Weather Events

I am still doing research on the weather history of Morocco

More information on the weather of Morocco

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Last Update: March 19, 2019

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