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Festivals in Morocco

Fez Festival of World Sufi Culture in Morocco


18 April to 25, 2014

Sufism, this venue of education and spiritual teaching, considered to be the heart of the faith of Islam, was first defused informally before it was progressively structured around the 11th century.

Historically, the transmission of this teaching is done, from the 13th century down through spiritual centers that earned by merit to preserve the norms of culture, sociability and spirituality proper to Islam in an era of dislocation of Muslim world, particularly under the impact of Mongol invasions. These centers in fact have known how to preserve a message of universal spirituality that has nourished the Muslim culture and not only enhanced its artistic and literary expressions, but also its social and economic advancements. For centuries Sufism has inspired simultaneously the organization, and the ethical and spiritual charters of guilds of crafts throughout the Muslim world.

In Morocco for example, guilds and special trades have traditionally allied themselves with Sufi orders.
The relationship that has been established between spirituality and social and human development has marked naturally the cultural and historical identity of Morocco.

These Sufi Orders of Morocco have known through time an international beaming by establishing their zawiyas in different countries. The case of the Zawiya Quadiriya and Zawiya Tijania in this regard is an eloquent illustration. The roles of these Sufi orders of teaching and civic and spiritual education at the same time engagement of human development and mediation for peace, in a profound and creative effect, are what constitute the Moroccan culture.

The festival of the Sufi Culture has not only the gift to identify a spiritual and artistic patrimony of an exceptional wealth, but also to open the thought on what could be the benefit of this patrimony on the heart of the Moroccan society today. Sufism can also inspire on global level, some new approaches for concrete maneuvers of peace mediations and for development of mutual dialogues between religions and cultures. This festival can contribute as well as promote and defuse throughout the world, particularly in a troubled era, the message of peace, universality and spirituality registered in the heart of Islam.

Hamid Mernissi

Itinerary for Morocco Fez Festival of World Sufi Culture:

April 20: Fez
You will spend your day exploring the majestic city of Fez, beginning with visits to the Mellah, the King’s palace, and the Bat’ha museum of Moroccan Arts.  The remainder of your morning will be spent on a walking tour of the Medina, a walled city with a maze of medieval twisting alleys, blind turns, mosques, shrines, fountains, workshops, and numerous markets.  You will break for lunch at a typical Moroccan restaurant, and will continue to explore and shop for the remainder of the afternoon, ending with dinner at your hotel. Later you will be transferred toShehrazad Palace for festival grand opening.

April 21: Fez
Festival activities are at Medersa Bouanania in the heart of the Medina. 

April 22: Fez
Festival activities will be at Medersa Bouanania.

April 23: Fez
Festival activities are at Museum Dar Batha. With an evening Samaa  with the Ensemble Ibn Arabi and Flamenco spiritual at Batha Museum. 

April 24: Fez
Festival activities are Medersa.  An evening of Samaa and chants is with Boutshishya /and Shadhilia Tarikas.

April 25:  Fez – Sidi Ahmed Al Barnoussi – Fez
Your morning will be spent on an excursion to the Rif Mountains, where you will visit the Sidi Ahmed al Barnoussi shrine and enjoy a picnic lunch over the red poppy fields with local scribes and a typical couscous meal.  The Jajouka musicians and dancers will enchant you with haunting sounds of their oboes and drums – a ceremony that you will treasure for the rest of your life.  After lunch, you will return to Fez for the afternoon Festival activities, dinner, and evening events.  Samaa and dance will be with Ouazzania Tarika.

April 26: Fez
Festival activities are during the day.  In the evening there will be a closing ceremony with concerts of Sufi dance and chants. 

April 27: Fez
Festival activities and closing ceremony.  

April 28: Fez – Azrou – Khenifra – Marrakech
You will spend your day en route to Marrakech, traveling through Azrou, across the middle Atlas Mountains, and pausing for lunch in Khenifra before descending the foothills overlooking the magnificent oasis of Marrakech Alhamra, a city that captivates the imagination and provides satisfaction for every possible taste.  Detours will include visits to Berber villages, scenic views, and traditional markets, and you will conclude your day with dinner at your hotel.

April 29: Marrakech
You will spend your day exploring the majesties and wonders of Marrakech, including a visit to the historic Menara, a magnificent pool surrounded by flowerbeds, which reflects the image of a beautiful Moorish edifice.  The construction, built in 1866, was designed for the dignitaries, so that they could enjoy glorious sunsets with the snow-capped Atlas Mountains providing an ethereal backdrop.  The pool is also an innovative, functional irrigation system belonging to an ancient architectural style adapted to the desert lifestyle.  In addition, you will visit several impressive sights, including the Koutoubia Minaret (identical to la Giralda, a tower located in Sevilla, Spain), and the Saadian tombs, which demonstrate Moorish architecture at its greatest.  The tombs, a collection of sixteenth century mausoleums, were hidden behind walls until their discovery in 1917.  Lunch will take place at your hotel, and the afternoon will consist of a tour of the colorful souks (markets) of Marrakech.  After a drink at sunset, overlooking the bustling Jamaa El Fna Square, you will conclude your day with dinner at a typical Moroccan restaurant including local entertainment.

Other interesting sights will include:

  • The museum of Dar Si Said, equipped with a display of Berber arts and crafts from all over Morocco. 
  • The remains of the Badii Palace, a historical monument which is host to the Annual National Festival of Popular Art, beginning the second Friday in June. 
  • The Bahia Palace, which exemplifies Moorish splendor at its finest.  It is situated in the heart of the Mellah, and continues to host dignitaries to this day.

April 30: Marrakech – New York
You will take an early morning flight from Marrakech Airport to Casablanca, and will fly directly from there to John F.Kennedy Airport, in New York.


What's Included:

Ten nights accommodation in 4-star hotels
Breakfast and dinner daily
Land transportation in chauffeured vehicles
Services of English-speaking guides and tour leaders
Entrance fees to monuments and museums
Hotel tax and service charges


Hotels Used:
Fez: Riad Dar Masmoudi, 7 nights
Marrakech: Hotel El Andalous, two nights



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I want to thank our guide Hamid Mernissi, who came specially from his residence in America to guide our group through his home country. His knowledge, natural warmth, and his connections throughout the country made the trip, and even some of the interminable bus rides, special. The man was knighted by the nation of Morocco for his contribution in keeping alive ancient many elements of its ancient culture. The King actually had to insist on Hamid’s presence due to my man playing hooky during the first ceremony, not wanting the pomp and circumstance of it all...” (see below video)

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