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Fez World Sacred Music Festival

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24th edition: 22-30 June 2018

The Festival of World Sacred Music, gathers musicians, scholars and art enthusiasts from all over the world. The week-long event features free concerts, a film festival and a forum where debates are held. The Festival features wide range of global musicians.

Highlights:

  •  Intimate afternoon concerts at the Dar-el-Batha Museum and its surrounding Andalusian gardens.
  •  Art, film exhibitions and poetry readings at the Dar Bartha Museum and other locations in Fez.
  • A one-day excursion to the Roman ruins of Volubilis for a musical performance.
  •  Evening concerts at the Bab Makina Palace courtyard.
  • Sufi nights: Sufi music rituals concerts that begin at midnight performed in the Dar Tazi gardens.
Day 1 :  Casablanca - Fes

Pick up at Casablanca airport by your private driver and start your guided sightseeing tour of Casablanca. In your visit you will see among others Hassan II Mosque which is located on a promontory looking out to the Atlantic.

Enjoy lunch at one of the international restaurants by Casa’s port, the Corniche.

After touring Casa, take the road to Fès and arrive in the early evening and settle in at your hotel. Dinner at one of the most elegant Fassis restaurants with traditional music. Overnight at a Boutique Riad or Hotel in Fes.

Day 2 :  Fes – Mouly Idriss – Volubilis

After breakfast get ready for day trip to explore the breath taking archaeological site of Volubilis recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage site. Volubilis became internationally famous when Martin Scorsese made it a feature location for his film, The Last Temptation of Christ.

Start your visit by discovering the fascinating Roman ruins decorated with beautiful mosaics and colorful tiles portraying Roman mythology. You can see how the Roman Empire transformed the original Carthaginian settlement into a typical Roman city complete with mansions, a town center, a triumphal arc and temples devoted to the Roman gods. 

Continue your exploration to Mouly Idriss town. Have lunch at a local restaurant. Later, return to Fès where you will enjoy an evening Festival performance. Overnight at a Boutique Riad or Hotel in Fes.

Day 3 : Fes Guided Historical Tour 

Breakfast at your riad and tour the oldest medinas of the world decared by UNISCO as world heritage. In the tour you will explore the Merenid Tombs of Fes,  the Musée des Armes located in an old fortress built by Moulay Hassan I.

You will enter the Fes el-Bali through Bab Boujeloud, the Blue Gate which is one of the main entrances to the medina. You will go through Talaa Kebira, the main street in the medina, where you wiil be amazed by the lines of shops of colorful Moroccan handicrafts. You will  visit the University of al-Karaouine, the university in the world that was founded by a lady Fatima Al Fihriya. Then, visit Dar el-Magana, a 14th century water clock and Zaouia el Tijaniya, the shrine and tomb of Ahmed el Tijani.

On your visit you will also see the  Slipper-Makers area as well as the souks selling henna, slippers, caftans, silks, jewelry, spices and natural perfumes used for sacred occasions

You will also visit  the Najjarine Museum of Wooden Arts & Craft located in a beautifully restored fundouk, an old style of hotel for traders.

Lunch will be  the medina in one of the fine Moroccan palace-style restaurants that serves delicious Fessi food.   After lunch, visit the Musée Dar el-Batha to see the remarkable collections of pottery, woodwork, leather-work, and manuscripts from the nineteenth century.

Next, pass through Bab el Ftouh,  to explore the Andalusian quarter, a residential part of the medina . Wander through the Fès el Jedid, a kasbah which functioned as Morocco’s administrative center until 1912. Discover the royal palace and many interesting neighborhoods such as the Jewish Mellah, and the Ville Nouvelle. Explore the  Medrasa Bou Inania, an Islamic school founded by Abu Inan Faris that is gorgeously ornamented .

Visit University of al-Karaouine. Founded in 859, by a lady whose name Fatima Al Fihriya. This university is one of the leading spiritual and educational centers of the Muslim world, and is considered the oldest university in the world.

Visit the Weavers Cooperative located in a residential neighborhood. The workshop specializes in weaving the finest jellaba fabric made of silk and wool threads imported from Italy. The shop also makes a quality jellaba fabric from a locally spun, textured wool thread called hubba. Hubba is sometimes referred to as couscous because its nubby texture resembles Morocco’s national semolina dish of the same name. Visit the Tanneries , one of the most dynamic and charming souks in Fes where to find the best leader.

Visit the Dyers area, a dyers market, to see the dying traditions which have been used for centuries to dye cloth and sheep, goat, cow, and camel leather. After finishing the visit of the old medina, a drive to see the rampart of Fes. Later, enjoy an evening Festival performance. Overnight at a Boutique Riad or Hotel in Fes.

Day 4 : Fes - Meknes - Fes 

Breakfast at your Riad and drive to Meknes which is one of the four Imperial cities of Morocco. Founded in the 11th century by the Almoravids as a military settlement, Meknes became capital of Morocco under the reign of Sultan Moulay Ismaïl (1672–1727), son of the founder of the Alaouite dynasty. Sultan Moulay Ismaïl turned Meknes into an remarkable city in Spanish-Moorish style .

Visit the magnificent gateway of Bab el-Mansour the main gate between Meknes' Medina and Imperial City districts. Bab el-Mansour is an enormous and highly picturesque edifice with intricate architectural style of zellige tiling and carving work. It is one of North Africa's best examples of persisting gateways.

Visit the Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail   that is home to the tomb of Sultan Moulay Ismail, who made Meknes his imperial capital in the 17th century. The interiors are truly incredible . It shows the glorious exuberance of Moroccan religious ornament. The actual mosque is not open to non-Muslims, but you can enter the outer parts of the complex and enter the tomb hall itself, with its magnificent decorated interior.

Continue to Meknes Medina (Old Town) an exciting, busy place full of local products . For avid shoppers  Souk Nejarine offers plenty of textile shops. Souk Sebbat  is also home to many traditional Moroccan craft shops as well as clothing and Morocco's famous slippers.

The 12th-century Grand Mosque, with its distinctive green-tiled roof, sits right in the medina's center. The medina is still enclosed by its glorious walls built during the reign of Sultan Moulay Ismail.

Visit also The Imperial City area that has plenty of interesting old ruins to explore, most dating from the reign of Sultan Moulay Ismail. The Koubat Al Khayatine is the city's old ambassador building and today, part of the building is open to the public, with a small photography exhibit on Meknes.

Visit the museum The Dar Jamai built in 1882 as the residence of the famous Jamai family and was converted into the Museum of Moroccan Art in 1920. The museum holds the rich traditional decoration of painted wood and sculpted plaster that were popular interior design of the 19th-century Moroccan higher-classes. The museum is dedicated to arts and crafts of the region.

Lunch at a charming restaurant serving Moroccan delicious food. Continue your visit to Medersa that was founded in the 14th century. It is located within the loops of Meknes' souk streets. The Madrasa is still gorgeously preserved with much of its rich zellige tile decoration. The rooftop of the Madrassa has   excellent views across the whole Meknes Medina district and the Ville Nouvelle (new town).

Drive back to Fes to enjoy evening Fez Festival performance. Overnight at a Boutique Riad or Hotel in Fes.

Day 5 : Fes

After breakfast explore at your leisure the modern part of Fes, that dates from the French Protectorate. It is a shopping center that was designed to accommodate westerners living in Morocco. But, today it is a modern Moroccan city.  Take lunch in one of the outdoor cafes in Ville Nouvelle then explore the shops in the new town.

In the morning, visitors can participate in round table discussions covering topics related to the theme of the Festival. Water and the Sacred was the theme of 23rd Fes Festival in 2017.Water is the symbol of purification in the universal sacred and in mystical poetry and is an invitation to take care of the earth that nurtures us. In addition, tribute is paid to China and its ancestral heritage.

Concerts are given by performers coming from various part of the world are given in the afternoon, evening, and late at night. The musical spectrum heard includes early European classical, Sufi ritual songs and trance music, Arab-Andalusian rhythms, etc.

Usually, the Festival’s afternoon concerts take place by the Dar Batha Museum, which is set amidst a beautiful Andalusian garden. During the evening concerts are held at the Bab Makina and Palace Boujeloud.  Every evening at midnight, there are free "Sufi Nights". These highly popular Sufi ritual trance performances are held at the Dar Tazi Palace gardens where Sufi brotherhoods perform Overnight at a Boutique Riad or Hotel in Fes.

Day 6 : Fes- Moulay Yacoub - Fes

After breakfast drive to Moulay Yacoub town located in a small, Berber village at the foothills of the Rif mountains. In this town you can take a relaxing Spa. The hot springs of Mouly Yacoub are known for their healing powers. 

Return to Fès for afternoon concerts.  Dinner at your hotel. Festival events. Sufi Nights at Dar Tazi Palace. Overnight at a Boutique Riad or Hotel in Fes.

Day 7 : Fes - Sefrou -Fes

After breakfast, drive to the ancient Jewish city of Sefrou which is one thousand years older than Fez.

Start your visit by exploring the shrine of Sidi Lahcen Al Yussi a well-respected Sufi master.  During this visit you will have chance to visit the Rabbi’s Mausoleums and synagogues. While you drive back to Fez, you will visit the ancient Christian village of B’halil known for its charming dwellings.  In the evening enjoy the Festival events: Sufi Nights at Dar Tazi Palace. Overnight at a Boutique Riad or Hotel in Fes.

Day 8 : Ffes

Breakfast and continue to explore Fez at your leisure. Visit the Andalusian part of the Fez Medina to discover the history of the Moors who immigrated to Morocco from Spain in the 13th century.

In the afternoon enjoy concerts at Dar Batha.  Evening: Closing ceremony of Fez Festival.  Overnight at a Boutique Riad or Hotel in Fes.

Day 9 : Fes – Marrakesh

Rise and have breakfast and start your journey to Marrakesh via Azrou and Khenifra across the Middle Atlas Mountains. Visit Berber villages, scenic views and local markets. Stop at Khenifra city known for its beautiful rugs and gorgeous landscape. Have your lunch on the way. Up on arrival to Marrakesh, check in your Riad in the medina, relax before heading to a charming restaurant in the medina. Overnight at a Boutique Riad or Hotel in Marrakech.

Day 10 :  Marrakesh Guided Historical Tour

Breakfast at your Riad. Explore the fascinating city of Marrakesh starting from new part Gueliz or Nouvelle Ville of Marrakesh. Continue to the magical Majorelle Gardens designed by Jacque Majorelle and preserved by Yves Saint Laurent. Its bleu and yellow colored paths make of it a attractive garden with various ponds, cacti, and plants. On our return to your Riad, a stop at  Mamounia Hotel and Garden.

Explore the El Bahia Palace which is a set of gardens located in Marrakesh. It was built in the late 19th century, planned to be the greatest palace of its time. The name means "brilliance". As in other buildings of the period in other countries, it was intended to capture the essence of the Islamic and Moroccan style. There is a 2-acre (8,000 m²) garden with rooms opening onto courtyards.

Visit the Saadian Tombs are mausolea in Marrakesh which date to time of the Saadian dynasty sultan Ahmad al-Mansur (1578-1603). The tombs were discovered in 1917 and were renovated by the Beaux-arts service. The mausoleum includes the burials of about sixty members of the Saadi Dynasty that originated in the valley of the Draa River. Among the graves are those of Ahmad al-Mansur and his family.

Next visit the old Medina. Explore this charming area on foot. In Djemaa el Fna, you will visit the famous 12th century Koutoubia Mosque. The guide will take you through the intricate streets and alleys of the Djemaa el Fna. Enjoy the smells of food and explore the souks specializing in Berber carpets, silver jewelry, handmade shoes, and leather tanneries. Enjoy a delicious lunch at one of Marrakesh’s most tasty restaurants.

After lunch, visit the Museum of Marrakesh, a Contemporary Moroccan Art Museum, a private museum devoted to popular arts & crafts situated within a beautiful Spanish-Moroccan house.

Evening free to explore Marrakesh on your own. Your private driver will be available to escort you to a variety of restaurants we recommend.  B&B accommodation in a nice Riad

Day 11 : Marrakesh - Aljadida

Breakfast at your riad. Then, drive along the coast to the town of El Jadida for an overnight before tomorrow’s departure.  El Jadida is a port city on the Atlantic coat of Morocco with enormous Portuguese. it’s quieter and more relaxing and is relatively the same distance to the airport as Casablanca. Dine and overnight in a charming guesthouse in EL Jadida

Day 12 : Aljadida - Casablanca Airport

Breakfast at your hotel. Depart Casablanca’s International Airport. Do plan on having a full three hours at the airport today since customs can be slow.

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