Ian Cade (England):
I rather enjoyed the cool whitewashed alleys of Moulay Idriss which we visited on a half day trip that also included nearby Volubilis. We only spent a short time wandering around as it was an excruciatingly hot day, but it was enjoyable, especially when we encountered a group of children who incorporated us into their little water fight.
We first walked toward the central tomb complex which looked nice from behind the barriers designating the limits of entry to non-Muslims. It was here we met a guide, who was exceedingly helpful and relaxed. Much like Els I usually avoid hiring guides, but here it seemed the best way to navigate around the small town and our guide turned out to be a knowledgeable and friendly companion and I think we could of even not paid him; though of course we did, but he seemed content to just let us wander off at the end of our tour. We were struggling in the heat, but the view from the top of the hill down into the sanctuary was rather rewarding and we were happy to have put in the effort to climb up.
It is hard to say much more as the most important parts of the town were out of bounds but it was a rewarding visit and certainly worthwhile as Volubilis is so nearby.
[Site 5: Experience 6]
Date posted: October 2013 Els Slots (The Netherlands):
Moulay Idriss Zerhoun is the most important pilgrimage town in Morocco. Here lies the tomb of Moulay Idriss I, the founder of the Idrissid Dynasty and great-grandson of the prophet Mohammed. It is said that five visits to Moulay Idriss during festival time (moussem) equals a Hajj to Mecca.
Pious as this all may sound like, Moulay Idriss is also a good trip for the non-muslim visitor. The town has a spectacular setting, with its whitewashed houses straddled over (and between) two green hilltops. It can be seen from the WHS of Volubilis (and vice versa).
The Mausoleum of Moulay Idriss has a central position in the village. Non-muslims are barred from entering the mausoleum by a wooden barrier, under which also the muslims have to bow down. They enter a complex with dark green roofs, spectacular tiling and plenty of spaces to pray.
From there I was picked-up by a 'guide'. I generally use to ignore all these would-be guides (21st century Morocco fortunately has few of them left), but I guessed that he would be able to show me more than I would ever find in this maze. He first lead me to some viewpoints to the side of the mausoleum, from where it is possible to peek in. The complex is mainly open air, and was filled now (Friday afternoon) with praying men and women.
Then we climbed lots of stairs. The streets are narrow here and only occupied by cats and little children. And everything is so white! We finally arrived at a terrace with good views of the town and the mausoleum. On our way back to the Grand Taxi stand, we passed a pretty dark green minaret, the only cylindrical one in Morocco.
Grand Taxis to Meknes leave from the market square at the lower end of the village. I had mine already waiting, as I hired one of these too large Mercedeses in Meknes for half a day to bring me to both Volubilis and Moulay Idriss and back.
Date posted: January 2010
Have you been to Moulay Idriss Zerhoun? Share your experiences!