What you need to know

Map of Fez- Marocco

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Fez was the capital city of modern Morocco until 1925 and is now the capital of the Fès-Meknès administrative region. The city has two old medina quarters, the larger of which is Fes el Bali. It is listed as a World Heritage Site and is believed to be one of the world’s largest urban pedestrian zones (car-free areas). University of Al Quaraouiyine, founded in 859, is the oldest continuously functioning university in the world. The city has been called the “Mecca of the West” and the “Athens of Africa”.

Population: 1.112 million (2014)

Language

There are a number of languages in Morocco, but the two official languages are Modern Standard Arabic and Amazigh (Berber). Moroccan Arabic (known as Darija) is the spoken native vernacular.

There are 20 to 25 million Berber speakers in Morocco, about 60 to 80% of the population. French retains a major place in Morocco, as it is taught universally and serves as Morocco’s primary language of commerce and economics, culture, sciences and medicine ; it is also widely used in education and government. Morocco is a member of the Francophonie.

Currency

The currency used in Morocco is the Moroccan Dirham, often abbreviated as Dhs or MAD. The exchange rates fluctuates, at the time of writing one pound is worth approximately 15 dirhams; one Euro is closer to 10 dirhams.

Education

The University of Al Quaraouiyine is the oldest continually-operating university in the world. The al-Karaouine mosque was founded by Fatima al-Fihri in 859 with an associated school, or madrasa, which subsequently became one of the leading spiritual and educational centers of the historic Muslim world. It became a state university in 1963, and remains an important institution of learning today.

Climate

Located by the Atlas Mountains, Fez has a Mediterranean climate with a strong continental influence, shifting from cold and rain in the winter to dry and hot days in the summer months between June and September. Rainfall can reach up to 600 mm (24 in) per year. The winter highs typically reach only 15 °C (59 °F) in December–January. The highest and lowest temperatures ever recorded in the city are 46.7 °C (116 °F) and −8.2 °C (17 °F), respectively. (see weather-table below). Fez’s climate is strongly similar to that of Seville and Córdoba, Andalusia, Spain. Snowfall on average occurs once every 5 years.

Transport

The city is served by Saïss Airport. It also has an ONCF train station with lines east to Oujda and west to Tangier and Casablanca.

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