Fez Arabic

Fez Arabic is a pre-Hilalian-sedentary type of dialect. Its phonetic, phonological, morphological, syntactic, lexical and semantic elements are typical of sedentary-type dialects, plus it also includes elements from Bedouin, Jebli and Judaeo-Arabic varieties and from Berber. It also contains loans from classical and modern Arabic, ancient Spanish, Turkish, Persian, French, modern Spanish and even English. It may be considered a traditional variety with its own features though receptive towards alien elements it is in contact with which seem to be leveled in different forms.

Árabe de Fez: La historia de la mujer infiel

Metadata file

Author: Virginia Díaz Oti (recording, transcription and translation).

Title: Árabe de Fez: La historia de la mujer infiel.

Type of account: Monologue.

Length: 1’25”.

Recording topic: The story of a woman who cheated on her husband who comes home unexpectedly.

Languages: Moroccan Arabic (Fez variety).

Date: 25/07/2012.

Place: ʕAyn Kādūs neighbourhood, Fez.

Devices: Recorder.

Transcription type: Phonemic transcription.

Translation language: Spanish.

Comments:

Informants

Number: 1.

Name: Lalla Zhur.

Sex: Female.

Age: 88 years old at recording time.

Education level: Illiterate.

Occupation: Housewife.

Origin: The origin of the family is Andalusi , the family name is Idrisi, and she was born and raised in Fez. She is remarried to another Fasi of Andalusi origin surnamed Lǝjrundi

Interesting data from the sociolinguistic point of view: She is monolingual in Moroccan Arabic, she does not speak Classical Arabic but uses some terms and common expressions. She does not speak French. She has lived all her life in Fez and has not traveled outside of Morocco.

Árabe de Fez. La historia de la mujer infiel

(1) wāḥd ǝr-rāžǝl kānt ʕəndu mrātu, ka-ddǝxxəl w txərrəž ṣḥāb w *… īwa hākdāk, žāt hĭyya, ər-rāžəl xrəž w dǝxxǝlt tlāta d-əṣ-ṣḥāb; (2) āyyāh, səmʕət ər-rāžəl māži w ža wāḥəd nǝʔʔǝz ṭləʕ l-wāḥd əs-səžra, txəbbəʕ, wāḥəd ḥšātu təḥtə n-nāmūsĭyya, wāḥəd ḥšātu, ṭəlʕəttu, xəbbəʕtu f-əd-drūž. (3) īwa hākdāk, ža r-rāžəl ʔāl lha: “īwa lə-mra, kāyna ši ġda wāžda?, lə-ġda wāžda?”. ʔāt lu: “nti ka-dži dāba?, ma ka-tdži-ši dāba, dāba āna bāʔi ma wŭžžətt əġ-ġda”. (4) ʔāl lha: “āna ʔāl li nsāfər w žməʕ lli*, māši nsāfər”; hād əš-ši ʔāt lu: “āna ma ʕəndi ġda, bāʔi ma wŭžžətt əġ-ġda”; īwa ʔāl lha: “* ši bās ma kan…”. (5) žāt žǝmʕət lu s-sākūš dyālu w mšāt w hĭyya bdāt ta-tʕənnʔu w ʔāt lu: “l-mən māši txəllīni w l-mǝn māši hāda…?”. (6) ža hŭwwa ʔāl lha: “māši nxəllīk l-hādāk”; w hŭwwa nĭyytu ṣālḥa ʔāl lha: “āna māši nxəllīk l-sīdi rəbbi”. (7) w əs-səffār[1] ʔāl lu: “la sīdi wŭḷḷāh fĭyya la wŭššəkti, ma txəllilī-ši āna, sīr šūf l-mən txəllīha, xəllīti lli tǝḥt ən-nāmūsĭyya w xəllīti ddi f-əd-drūž, ma šŭftīni hīr āna t-wŭššəkha fĭyya, txəllīni nwəkkəlha w nšərrbha, la sīdi…”.
[1] /š-šәffār/> [s-səffār], personaje que parece surgir de la nada.
(1) Un hombre tenía su mujer, (y ésta) metía y sacaba amigos (de casa) y *… Así las cosas (lit.: pues así), vino ella, el hombre salió e hizo entrar tres amigos; (2) así es, oyó que el marido llegaba (lit.: viniendo) y uno fue y saltó (y) subió a un árbol y se escondió; a otro (lit: uno) lo metió debajo de la cama; (y) al otro (lit.: uno) lo metió, lo subió, lo escondió en las escaleras. (3) Así estaban (lit.: pues así), y vino el marido (y) le dijo: “¡Mujer!, ¿hay algo de comida preparada?, ¿está la comida preparada?”. Ella le dijo: “¿Vienes ahora? No vengas ahora, todavía no he preparado comida”. (4) Y él dijo: “Al parecer salgo de viaje (lit.: me dijo viajo), reúne lo *, voy a viajar”; y esto (ella) le dijo: “Yo no tengo comida, todavía no he preparado la comida”, entonces él dijo: “* No pasa nada…”. (5) Se fue a prepararle su bolsa (de viaje) y se fue y ella empezó a abrazarlo y le dijo: “¿A quién vas a dejarme, a quién…?”. (6) Vino él y le dijo: “Voy a dejarte con Aquél”; y él con toda su buena intención (lit.: y el su intención buena) le dijo: “Voy a dejarte con nuestro Señor”. (7) Y el ladrón dijo: “No, señor, por Alá que a mí no me la endosas, no me (la) dejas a mí, ve a ver a quién se la dejas: has dejado al de debajo de la cama, has dejado al de las escaleras…Y sólo me ves a mí para que me haga cargo de ella, me la dejas (para que) le dé de comer y de beber, ¡no, señor…!”.

La région de Sefrou, Fès: Ben Dahqan

Metadata file

Author: Fatine Lamssyah (recording), Fouad Brigui (transcription and translation).

Title: La région de Sefrou, Fès : Ben Dahqan.

Type of account: Monologue.

Length: 02’08”.

Topic: The tale of a female louse and the small flea Ben Dahqan.

Languages: Moroccan Arabic (Bni Yazgha, Sefrou region, southeast Fez).

Date: 9/12/2010.

Place: Hamlet Oulad Âmiyer, Mtarnagha, Bni Yazgha.

Devices: Cellphone.

Transcription type: Broad phonetic transcription.

Translation language: French.

Comments: See the linguistic analysis of this text in: Brigui, Fouad 2016, « Un parler pré-hilalien de la région de Sefrou : Le parler des Bni Yazgha », La région du Nord-Ouest marocain : Parlers et pratiques sociales et culturelles, Á. Vicente, D. Caubet et A. Naciri-Azzouz (éds). Zaragoza, Prensas de la Universidad de Zaragoza.

Informants

Number: 1.

Name: M.S.

Sex: Female.

Age: 52 years old.

Education level:

Occupation: Housewife.

Origin: The Bni Yazgha tribe.

Interesting data from the sociolinguistic point of view:

Arabe de la région de Fès. Ben Dahqan

(1) qāl lǝk hādi wāḥǝd l-qǝmla kānǝţ hĭyya w brīġǝţ bǝn dǝhqān ka-ysǝxnu w ka-yṭəyybu t-ţīš (2) qāl lǝk bqa ǝṣ-ṣṭǝḥ ka-yqǝṭṭǝr ʕlīhǝm ṭǝlʕǝţ ka-ḍḍǝqq f-ǝṣ-ṣṭǝḥ qālt lu ʕǝndāk ţrǝggǝb ʕla hād ǝt-ţīš (3) qāl lǝk fāš ṭǝlʕǝţ ka-ḍḍǝqq f-dāk ǝṣ-ṣṭǝḥ qāl lǝk nāḍ hŭwwa ʕǝrra dīk lǝ-qwdīra ka-yrǝggǝb ʕlīha ka-ynǝqqǝz ka-yži n-dīk ǝt-ţīša qāl lǝk ka-yži ţǝmma qāl lǝk hĭyya hǝbṭǝţ ka-ţḥǝll dīk lǝ-qǝdra d-ǝt-ţīš ka-ţ ma ka-tǝl* ka-tǝlqāh fīha (4) qāl lǝk bqāţ ka-ţǝbki ka-ţǝbki qāl lǝk ḥǝtţa ʕwārǝţ w-mšāţ l-wāḥǝd lǝ-gdĭyyǝm w tţǝkkāţ ka-dži qāl lǝk sīwāna ka-džbra ţəmma mţǝkkya qāţ qālţ la mālǝk a ʕǝmmţi lǝ-qwmīla qālţ la brīġǝţ bǝn dǝhqān ṭāḥ f-lǝ-qwdīra māţ w-ʕǝmmţǝk lǝ-qwmīla bkāţ ḥǝtţa nǝmʕāţ w mšāţ l-agdĭyyǝm w tţǝkkāţ qāţ la (5) w-āna ʕlĭyya b-ǝn-năţfūn qāl lǝk ka-ţǝntǝf dāk ǝr-rīš di fīha ma ka-ţxǝlli ḥǝtţa rīša qāl lǝk īwa ka-ṭṭīṛ ka-ţǝmši ka-ţnzǝl ʕla wāḥǝd ǝš-šǝžṛa qāţ la ǝš-šǝžṛa mālǝk ya sīwāna kŭll nhāṛ ka-dži b-ǝr-rīš dyālǝk w hād ǝn-nhāṛ žīţ mǝntūfa (6) qāţ lǝk qāţ la brīġǝţ bǝn dǝhqān ṭāḥ f-lǝ-qwdīra māţ w lǝ-qwmīla bkāţ ḥǝtţa nǝmʕāţ w-mšāţ l-agdĭyyem w tţǝkkāţ w-āna ʕlĭyya b-ǝn-năţfūn (7) qāţ la w-āna ʕlĭyya b-ǝṛ-ṛăʕdūn qāl lǝk ka-yhbǝṭ dāk lǝ-wrǝq di kān fīha ma bqāţ ḥǝtţa wǝrqa qāl lǝk ka-yhbǝṭ dāk lǝ-wrǝq wāḥǝd lǝ-ʕžǝl qāl lǝk dīma ka-yži ka-yākŭl f-dīk ǝš-šǝžṛa qāl lǝk ka-yži ma ka-yžbǝṛ ḥǝtţa wǝrqa fīha (8) qāl la mālǝk ya š-šǝžṛa kŭll nhāṛ ka-nžbǝṛ fīk lǝ-wrǝq w hād ǝn-nhāṛ žbǝṛţǝk hāgda qāţ lu qāl la brīġǝţ bǝn dǝhqān ṭāḥ f-lǝ-qwdīra māţ w-lǝ-qwmīla bkāţ ḥǝtţa nǝmʕāţ w-mšāţ l-agdĭyyem w tţǝkkāţ w sīwāna ʕlīha b-ǝn-năţfūn w-āna ʕlĭyya b-ǝṛ-ṛăʕdūn (9) qāl la hŭwwa w-āna ʕlĭyya bə-ţǝṭyāḥ l-grūn qāl lǝk bqa ka-yṭṭnāṭǝḥ b-əl-grūn dyālu ḥǝtţa ṭǝyyǝḥǝm qāl lǝk wǝ-mša l-ǝl-ʕīn ka-yšṛŏb qāţ lu l-ʕīn w mālǝk yā l-ʕžǝl kŭll nhāṛ kā-ţži b-əl-grūn dyālǝk w hād ǝn-nhāṛ žīţ hāgda (10) qāl la brīġǝţ bǝn dǝhqān ṭāḥ f-lǝ-qwdīra māţ w-lǝ-qwmīla bkāţ ḥǝtţa nǝmʕāţ w-mšāţ l-agdĭyyəm w-tţǝkkāţ w-sīwāna ʕlīha b-ǝn-năţfūn w-ǝš-šǝžṛa ʕīha b-ǝṛ-ṛăʕdūn w-āna ʕlĭyya bə-ţǝṭyāḥ l-grūn (11) qāţ lu l-ʕwīna w-āna ʕlĭyya b-ǝn-năšfūn Ɂīwa ţǝmma xǝllīţa w-žīţ bḥāli.
(1) Une femelle du pou en compagnie de la petite puce mâle Ben Dahqan étaient en train de se réchauffer et de faire mijoter sur le feu une soupe à la semoule d’orge. (2) Des gouttes d’eau s’étaient infiltrées par le plafond. La femelle du pou monta sur le toit pour boucher les trous. Auparavant, elle avait bien mis en garde Ben Dahqan de ne pas jeter un coup d’œil sur la soupe. (3) Quand elle monta sur la terrasse, il ne put s’empêcher de se pencher sur la marmite. Alors, il tomba dedans. Quand elle redescendit, elle souleva le couvercle de la marmite et elle vit qu’il était tombé dedans. (4) Elle se mit à pleurer, tellement qu’elle en perdit la vue. Elle s’adossa à une petite élévation de terre. Une buse arriva. Elle lui demanda ce qui lui arrivait. Elle lui répondit que Ben Dahqan était mort et qu’elle en avait tellement pleuré qu’elle en avait perdu la vue. (5) Elle lui répondit qu’en ce qui la concernait elle allait s’arracher les plumes. Elle arracha, en effet, toutes ses plumes. Elle s’envola et se posa sur un arbre. L’arbre lui demanda pourquoi elle avait perdu ses plumes. (6) Elle répondit que Ben Dahqan était mort et que la femelle du pou en avait tellement pleuré qu’elle en avait perdu la vue. De chagrin, la buse avait arraché toutes ses plumes. (7) L’arbre lui dit qu’il allait se secouer jusqu’à perdre toutes ses feuilles. Il fut saisi, effet, de secousses si fortes qu’il perdit toutes ses feuilles. Un veau qui avait l’habitude de venir manger quelques feuilles de l’arbre trouva l’arbre dépourvu de toutes ses feuilles. (8) Il lui demanda ce qui lui était arrivé. L’arbre répondit que Ben Dahqan était mort et que la femelle du pou en avait tellement pleuré qu’elle en avait perdu la vue, que la buse avait arraché toutes ses plumes et que, lui, s’était secoué jusqu’à perdre toutes ses feuilles. (9) Alors, le veau lui dit qu’il allait s’arracher les cornes. Il se mit à donner des coups de cornes jusqu’à se les faire arracher. Il alla, ensuite, s’abreuver à une source. La source lui demanda ce qui lui était arrivé. (10) Il répondit que Ben Dahqan était mort et que la femelle du pou en avait tellement pleuré qu’elle en avait perdu la vue, que la buse avait arraché toutes ses plumes, que l’arbre s’était secoué jusqu’à perdre toutes ses feuilles et que, lui, s’était arraché les cornes. (11) Alors, la source lui dit qu’elle allait se tarir jusqu’à sécher complètement. Alors, moi, c’est là que j’ai arrêté mon conte.

Phonology-Phonetics*

The long vowel phonemes /ā/, /ī/ and /ū/ are quite stable. Short vowels feature the dynamics /ә/ – /ŭ/ typical of type-sedentary dialects. A preference towards lengthening prior to the loss of the short vowel in an open syllable can be detected in loanwords of Classical Arabic, examples: mūqāwāma ‘resistance’, fārāša ‘butterfly’, māʕīda ‘stomach’.

Consonant phonemes feature some peculiar traits such as:

– Alternation of the phonemes /q/ and /ʔ/: qəhwa and ʔəhwa ‘coffee’, mqəddəm and mʔəddəm ‘district chief’, qəšra and ʔəšra ‘fruit peel’.

– Tendency towards maintaining or reintroducing /ʔ/ some terms of classical Arabic: ʔərḍ ‘land’, ʔaṣli ‘original’, ʔāna ‘I”, nīhāʔīyən ‘definitively’.

– Alternation or confusion of sibilant and hissing phonemes /š/-/s/ and /ž/-/z/: kŭll šikŭll si ‘all’, ʕǝšra – ʕǝsra ‘ten’, ṬanžaṬanza ‘Tangiers’, ḥāžaḥāza ‘thing’.

– The realization of /r/ as trill, dorsal, non apical, discrete and slightly voiced: bəkri ‘early’, rīḥa ‘smell’, and the imitating tendency to realize it gutturally [ʁ]: lībʁa ‘needle’, bʁa ‘recovered’, m-māʁyu ‘the cupboard’.

– The pharyngealization in pharyngeal contexts of /d/, /t/, /s/, which constitutes a distinctive trait in: dār ‘(he) did’ ≠ ḍār ‘house’, l-bīt ‘the room’ ≠ l-bīṭ ‘great-grandson’, wŭlla ‘became’ ≠ wŭḷḷa ‘or else’, sāla ‘(he) finished’ ≠ ṣāla ‘hall, large room’.

– The assimilation of the article to /b/, /m/, /ž/: b-bīt ‘the room’, m-mra ‘the woman’, ž-žnūn ‘genies’; and occasionally also of /k/, /x/, /g/ and /ġ/: k-kənya ‘lineage’, x-xbār ‘the news’, g-gnāza ‘the funeral’, ġ-ġəṭṭār ‘the dish’.

– The assimilation of /l/ and /n/ > [nn]: kəmmənna ‘we have finished’, dyānna ‘our’, nna ‘to us, for us’.

Furthermore, there is a clear tendency towards monophthongation of diphthongs and a concurrence of monophthongation and diphthongation: ḥəwma and ḥūma ‘neighbourhood’, məwžūd and mūžūd ‘present’.

Verb morphology

In Fez Arabic, the masculine and feminine forms of the second person singular of the perfective make only one suffix –ti: bkīti ‘cried (you masc./fem.)”, ġḍəbti ‘got annoyed (you masc./ fem.)’. Similarly, the forms of the second person masculine and feminine singular of the imperfective and the imperative take one sole form which coincides with the masculine form in other dialects: ta-ṭṭəyyǝb ‘cook (you masc./fem.)’, nəzzəl ‘lower (you masc./fem.)’.

When the suffixed pronoun -u is attached to the third person feminine singular of the perfective, the result is the gemination of the suffix /t/: šāfəttu ‘she saw it’, ʕəžbəttu ‘he liked (her)’.

The second person plural of the perfective more often makes the suffix -tīw, which coexists with the suffix -tu: ʕṭītīw ‘you (pl.) gave’.

Verbs with hamza in classical Arabic, such as ʔakala – yaʔkulu ‘to eat’ and ʔaxada – yaʔxudu ‘to take’, in Fez Arabic are conjugated as defective verbs in the perfective, as assimilated verbs in the imperfective and as hollow verbs in the imperative: klayākŭl and xda – yāxŭd respectively.

Reflexivity is expressed by means of the noun rās, often preceded by the prepositions b-, l- or f-: b-rāsi ‘myself’. And for reciprocity bǝʕḍyāt: bǝʕḍyātna ‘amongst us’; or using a verb in the VI form: tʕāwən ‘help each other’.

The passive is formed by prefixing t- or tt- ttəxləʕ ‘to be scared’, tfəttət ‘to crumble’; or through a verb in the V form.

To convey the idea of habitual present, present continuous and concomitant actions, preverbs ka- or ta- are prefixed to the form of the verbs in the imperfective. Either of these forms is used in Fez: ka-ṭṭəyyǝb and ta-ṭṭəyyǝb ‘(she) cooks’, ‘(you) cook’.

Noun morphology

The use of the broken plural with the pattern {C1C2āC3əC4} (as opposed to the pattern {C1(v)C2āC3īC4}): kbābəṭ ‘jumpers’, bnādər ‘hand drums’.

The personal pronouns for the second person singular are nta, for the masculine; and nti, ntīn and ntīna, used either for the feminine or the masculine.

The endings of dual -āni /-āyni appear in some measurement units: šəhrāyən ‘two months’, yūmāyən ‘two days’; in the body parts: ʕəynīn ‘the (two) eyes’, wŭdnīn ‘the (two) ears’; and in the noun wāldīn ‘the (two) parents’.

The diminutive form, frequently used, has an affectionate connotation: wlīdi ‘little child’; quantitative connotation: ʕsīla ‘a little bit of honey’; or a sarcastic connotation: ʕqĭyyəl ‘small bit of common sense’.

Preposition l- is often realized as n-, particularly when denoting the dative: ka-yəʕṭīha nna ‘he gives it to us’, sāʔ nna x-xbār ‘the news reached us’.

ha and ra are used as presentative particles: ha ṭbāli mənʔūšīn ‘these are the carved tables’, rāh māši yədʕīk ‘mind, he is going to report you’.

Adjectival comparison is formed with the adjective followed by the preposition mən: ṣġīra mǝnnǝk ‘smaller than you’, or by means of the elative ḥsǝn mǝnnu ‘better than him’.

The adverb ‘when’ has several forms: mənnīn, mənni, mənna, mənn and məlli.

The determinant hād as a proximity demonstrative does not change form when preceding a noun: hād əž-žīl ‘this generation’, hād ət-tərbĭyya ‘this creature’; when used after the noun it does agree with the noun: hād ǝn-nās hādu ‘these people’. Determinants of distance dāk and dīk are used regardless of the gender of the term they determine: dāk əl-bǝnt ‘that girl’, dīk əl-žŭww ‘that atmosphere’.

Syntax

The syntax used by the interviewed speakers features a lack of nexus in completive subordinate sentences: āna ma rḍīt-s b-ʕāʔīlti bənti tāxŭd sūsi ‘It did not please me (that) in my family my daughter took (as a husband) a man from the Sous’; as well as in some relative subordinates: wāḥəd l-ʔŭkla ta-yqūlu lha dādfi ‘a type of food they call dādfi’; final adverbial sentences: tǝʕṭīha l-gūza thǝrrǝsha ‘give the nut for him to crack it’; and causal adverbial sentences: ṣbər nəhdər mʕa b-bənt ‘wait for me to talk to the girl’.

On the other hand the coordinating conjunction w is used in various ways both in copulative structures: mərḍət li yĭṃṃa w kŭnt ta-nʕəbbīha l-əṭṭbīb ‘my mother got ill and (I) used to take her to the doctor’; and time adverbial subordinate structures: dāk səṭṭāš ʕām w āna ta-nbīʕ w nəšri f-hād əš-ši ‘at that age of sixteen and I used to sell and shop in this’; modal structures: ta-ybīt līl w nhār w hŭwwa ta-yḍūʁ ‘spends day and night going around’; and also in the concessive subordinate: ʔāt lək ma tgəls-si f-ər-Rmīla w hĭyya ka-tʔəyyəl dāba fīha ‘she tells you not to stay in Rmīla even though she spends the whole day there’.

Lexicon

Vocabulary in Fez features some peculiar terms though some exist in other varieties such as: bāṭūz ‘fat’, ḍārǝʕ ‘cockroach’, səʔlābǐyya /səqlābǐyya ‘larder’, qəyyəl yqəyyǝl /ʔəyyəl yʔəyyǝl ‘spend the day’, tətqyīl /tətʔyīl ‘religious chorus sang by women in a happy situation’, ġṭār ‘dish’, lʔa yəlʔi /lqa yəlqi ‘gather, carry out, set, prepare’, hīr /hi (< ġīr) ‘only’.

 

*Data used for this brief summary were compiled from: Díaz Oti, Virginia 2016. Estudio del dialecto árabe marroquí de la ciudad de Fez. Madrid, Universidad Complutense de Madrid (unpublished PhD Thesis).

Author: Virginia Díaz Oti

Fez (in Arabic فاس [fās], Fès in French) is the third most populated city in Morocco after Casablanca and Tangiers. It has an area of 360 km2 and a population of 1,112,072 inhabitants (RGPH 2014). Within the prefecture of Fez, it is part of the region Fès-Meknès created in 2015.

The city of Fez, lə-mdīna lə-ʕtīqa, is located between mountains, to the north the hills of the pre-Rif area, to the south the Middle Atlas, and on the north-west the plains of Sais (Sāys), and was the capital and residence of Moroccan sultans at various stages throughout history.

The city is divided into three main areas: Fez el-Bali, within the city walls, which is the historical medina; Fez el-Jdid, an area outside the walls where the Royal Palace and the old Mellah (Jewish quarter) are located; and the so-called Ville Nouvelle, an area which, as in other cities in the country was the product of urban planning in the times of the French Protectorate (1912-1956). The medina of Fez el-Bali was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1981.

The foundation of Fez, in the late eighth century (789), is attributed to the sharif Idris I, who may have reached Morocco as he fled Baghdad and the Abbasid Caliph Harun ar-Rachid, and founded a dynasty with Kenza, the daughter of the chief of the Awraba Berber tribe. In 809-810, his son Idris II set his residence in the city and in 859, a woman, Fatima Al Fihriya, promoted and paid for the construction of one of its most emblematic buildings, the mosque of Al Qarawiyyin. In the ninth century the city received Andalusi inhabitants from Cordoba, and from the city of Kairouan, in Ifriqiya. This was actually the place of origin of the founder of Al Qarawiyyin, a centre of knowledge which turned Fez into one of the leading religious and cultural centres of the time.

Between the tenth and the eleventh centuries, the city of Fez was under the dominion of the Maghraoua Berbers. From 1069, the city was under the rule of the Almoravids and experienced a period of splendour though the capital was set in Marrakech, which had been founded by the Almohads. It did not become the capital again until the year 1250, when the Marinid dynasty set up residence there. It was then that the so-called Medina al-bayda (‘the white city’) was founded which became known as Fez el-Jdid (‘the new’), as opposed to Fez el-Bali (‘the old’) built along side. Fez el-Jdid emerged as a walled area containing the royal palace and a Mellah (Jewish quarter) grew adjacent to it where the Jewish population lived under the sultan’s protection.

In 1522 part of the city was destroyed by an earthquake. In the ensuing years, abundant reconstruction work took place. The Saadi dynasty conquered the city in 1554 and in 1556, but the capital was placed in the kingdom of Marrakech.

By the late seventeenth century, Moulay Ismail, the second sultan of the Alaouite dynasty, set the capital of the empire in Meknès, not far from Fez and placed a garrison of the guich Oudaya tribe in Fez. Moulay Abdallah, the successor of Moulay Ismail, moved his residence to the city and had numerous buildings erected in Fez.

The Franco-Moroccan treaty of 30 March 1912 was signed in the city of Fez whereby the French Protectorate was established in Morocco. At this time, Rabat was appointed the capital of the kingdom and many official buildings in the city were converted for different uses.

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Author: Araceli González Vázquez

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