Morocco is a country in northern Africa with the capital city of Rabat. Morocco, with Berber, Arabian, and European ethnic elements, is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. On October 28, 1975, the Kingdom of Morocco ratified the agreement, which qualified historical sites such as Fez Medina and a number of others for inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage List owing to their cultural importance.
Here, in the center of Fez, the air is thick with sounds and smells. Due to the small alleys and large buildings, there is no natural light. Since a large portion of the business region is covered, you cannot orient yourself using the light.
Fez’s medina — or “traditional town” — has remained relatively unchanged for hundreds of years. While several stalls now market mobile cases and gadgets, you’re more likely to see a donkey leading vegetables through the lanes. The Medina of Fez has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site as a result of this authenticity of planning and use.
Morocco has nine World Heritage sites in all, which I was able to visit as part of a global challenge to visit as many as possible. I love it because visiting these places helps me get a greater understanding of the country’s heritage and community. Apart from Fez’s Medina, here are Morocco’s other eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
2. Medina of Marrakech
Morocco’s most populous city also has one of the most colorful medinas. Locals and tourists alike congregate in the expansive Jemaa el-Fna square to sample the cuisine and see the buskers. However, take some of the side streets and you’ll quickly find yourself surrounded by shops, homes, and a similar mess to that found in the heart of Fez. If you can locate the Ben Youssef Madrasa, it is a magnificent structure on the inside. Bahia Palace and El Badii Palace are located on the outskirts of the Marrakech medina. Both are magnificent examples of the opulence and luxury that once surrounded this massive trade city.
3.Historic City of Meknes
Meknes is located in the heart of Morocco, surrounding the beautiful cedar trees, Middle Atlas ranges, Tafilalt oases, Morocco’s two largest metropolitan areas, and mountainous Morocco. The Almovarids founded Meknes as a military settlement in the 11th century. The settlement was later transformed into a magnificent city in the Spanish-Moorish theme. The institution was encircled by high walls and large doors that blended Islamic and European styles. During the reign of the Wattasid dynasty, a massive jail was built underneath the city to house Christian sailors who had been caught at sea. The Wattasid dynasty built a large number of edifices, colossal walls, parks, mosques, and a 25-mile-long wall, receiving the moniker “City of a Hundred Minarets.” Meknes is the sixth most populous city in the nation, with a population of over 650,000 people in the city and close to 1,000,000 in the metropolitan area. Agriculture, manufacturing, and services are the major economic industries, and Meknes was named one of Adria’s three most competitive cities in 2015. Inadequate irrigation services are one of the most serious threats to this historic site. In 1996, UNESCO designated Meknes as a World Heritage Site.
4. Medina of Tétouan
After the hectic warrens of Fez and Marrakech and the grandeur of Meknes, a visit to Tétouan in northern Morocco can come as a welcome relief. This is one of the country’s smallest ancient towns, but it is notable due to its proximity to Europe. Tétouan was traditionally the bond between Spain and North Africa, and you can almost see it through the sea. The medina is encircled by an ancient wall, and access is restricted to its grand gates. The weekly market takes place on Mondays in the lower lanes, with stalls spilling out of the gate and into the local neighborhood.
5. El Jadida
You will reach El Jadida by driving south along Morocco’s coast, past Casablanca. Mazagan’s old fortress sits on a rocky outcropping by the shore. It’s small in comparison to the other World Heritage-listed walled towns, and just takes about 30 minutes to stroll around, but there’s no questioning how successful it was. The high walls, which resembled cliffs on a coastline with great views around the sea, were never breached by enemies throughout the centuries it was in service, and were built by the Portuguese in the early 16th century as an outpost on the trade route along the west coast of Africa.
6. Medina of Essaouira
Far farther down the road, in Essaouira, one of Morocco’s most beautiful medinas can be located. The old port, which is just beyond the main walls, is a sea of blue — the sky, the sea, the painted vessels, and even the fishermen’s nets are all painted blue. The old town is the official heritage site, but the beach that stretches out from it is still famous with visitors. Over the summer, there are surfers on the sea and camels on the beach. Morocco has many beautiful coastal areas, and this is undoubtedly one of the greatest.
7. The capital, Rabat
Rabat, Morocco’s capital, stands in sharp comparison to the country’s other ancient towns. Broad boulevards run between vast government facilities in this modern and productive area. It is, however, on the World Heritage List because of the mix of new imperial palaces constructed by the French in the early 1900s and ancient citadels and Islamic buildings dating back 800 years. Even though it is now in ruins, the ancient fortress of Chellah on the outskirts of town is intriguing. The Hassan Mosque seems to be in ruins, but it is still incomplete, with a single prominent tower commanding the scene from one end. The sunset from the kasbah by the sea is also a highlight.
8. Ksar of Aït-Ben-Haddou
The Ksar of At-Ben-Haddou is located in the desert, high in the Atlas Mountains, and well away from most of Morocco’s main tourist destinations. There’s nowhere else in the world just like it, which makes it a fascinating spot to explore. The site is a 17th-century castle made of moist soil combined with straw and debris closely bundled together. It rises from the sandy plain below it on a hillside, and the only way to see it is to ascend the ancient stairs inside the fortress to the peak, through the little houses and shops inside the earthen citadel.
- Volubulis Archaeological Site.
Volubulis was a massive and wealthy city founded by the Romans two thousand years ago as an outpost in North Africa, centuries before any of the other World Heritage sites. The rich fields around it were ideal for farming, and the city grew and expanded many times. It’s all in ruins, but you can always get a taste of what it was like when it was bustling with tourists. The public spaces, surrounded by the wealthy’s mansions, would have been quite a sight!
Both geographically and culturally, Volubilis is a long way from Fez’s Medina. This, too, is part of Morocco’s allure. This North African nation, which combines Islamic and European influences, provides opportunities to learn about its past as well as its contemporary culture.