Upon your arrival at Mohamed V Airport in Casablanca with your group to Morocco, your tour leader will meet you at your arrival gate to take you immediately to check-in to your hotel in Rabat (Capital of Morocco). This is a wonderful short drive of about 45 miles through the lush farms and exotic plants. You will spend your day discovering the delights that Rabat has to offer. Your Rabat local guide will take on a historical and lively tour of the Jewish quarter, the Mellah in the Heart of the city starting at Place Sidi Makhlouf. The 12-century ramparts are best seen from this landmark. Walk up to Bab Chellah in the medina and cross Sidi Fateh St. This will lead you to the traditional Souk Laghzel (Yarn market). Your guide will introduce you to the importance of this guild on the textile role in the Moroccan society. Once the tour comes to an end we will go back to the hotel for dinner with your group. A briefing will be given by your tour leader about your next day tour to world sacred Music Festival of Fez
After breakfast, we will travel as a group to Fez. The first stop will be the ancient Roman city of Volubilis. Volubilis was a critical city in the imperial Roman department of Mauritania (modern-day Morocco, and Western Sahara) during the reign of Caracalla. Jumping forward in time and just a few minutes away is the venerated sacred citadel of Moulay Idris, founded in the 8th century by Moulay Idris Al Akbar, grandson of the Prophet Mohamed (s.a.w.s). This citadel is considered to be both the cradle of Sufism in Morocco as well as the first Islamic capital for the premier Arab dynasty of Morocco.
We will break for lunch at the imperial city of Meknes. Meknes is a 17th Century city built by Moulay Ismail to rival the city of Fez. It is also considered to be the Versailles of Morocco. Finally, you have reached your destination, the ninth century city of Fez. In the evening, you will get a taste of the greatest of the Imperial Cities of Morocco. Our local guide of Fez will meet the group and take you a panoramic visit of the city of Fez outside the ancient Medina. You will visit the sights on the outside of the ancient walled city, including the ramparts, the gates, and the Borjs Moorish Forts. After this introductory aperitif to the city of Fez, you will dine in your hotel and prepare for day three: The city of Fez! Your guide will give the briefing about tomorrow activities visiting Fez- Medina, and also about the world sacred Music Festival program.
The most ancient of the imperial capitals of Morocco and the most complete medieval city of the Islamic world, the city of Fez is reminiscent of a city suspended in time, unfazed by the constantly evolving world outsides of its walls. Time spent with your local guide in the city Fez will reveal much about the sophistication of the Moroccan artisan, providing an unparalleled learning experience to those who cross its path. Your morning will be spent visiting the Medina visiting in a group tour. Our specialized guide will take you on a historic discovery of the city of Fez starting at the King's Palace and its Meshwar with ramparts and majestic gates.
Next, you will explore with your guide the Jewish quarter, a 15th-century citadel with all its Moorish maze architecture and medieval glory in Morocco. Visits to Sephardic synagogues and mausoleums of holy Rabbis will be the highlights of this part of town. Then, we will drive to the Merinides hill to visit their necropolis over the Northern hills of Fez. Here you will stop for a photo opportunity and enjoy the best panoramic view on the old walled Medina (largest in Morocco), brimful with its countless minarets to call for the prayers in a city that has responded to these calls for 12 centuries. Drive down the hills to the gate of Bab Guissa to leave your vehicle and enter an ancient world of Morocco. the city of Fez has preserved its Medina as it was centuries ago. Not even a bicycle is able to be used as a tool for transportation. Only donkeys, mules and horses are able to help to move all that the city produces and needs as supplies.
Your group tour of Fez will continue exploring the medieval alleys and blind turns of the Medina of Fez. The first guilds you will immediately encounter are the cobblers, the saddlers and blacksmiths interlaced by some caravansaries for tribesmen who come from the surrounding areas to trade and supply their needs. Down the hill to Juteya you will encounter all sorts of crafts but noticeably carpenters and leather workers as one of the traditional tanneries is not far. This walk will lead you to El Ashabine square with its variety of activities. From there, you will wind your way to the Sgha square which will lead you to Attarine (spices merchants ST) then Souk el Henna and the Mausoleum of Moulay Idris, the founder of the city Fez. Next to it, you will visit the Nejjarine square with its famous fountain, its guild of carpentry and the museum of folk arts at the Fondouk.
You will walk to the tannery and on to visit the great Mosque university of Al Quarrawiyyine, passing by Shemma'ine, the market of dried fruits. After that, you will visit the Medersa Attarine and walk to Sbetryyine, a guild of bookbinders, which will lead you to the Seffarine Square, where the tapping of metalworkers is still deafening passerby as it was the case for centuries. You will break for lunch then continue exploring the marvels of the city of Fez Medina. These will highlight the Dyers souk, Foundouk Tetouan and the shrine of Sidi Ahmed Tijani. You will end your walk at foundouk Lihoudi where a local Fez family will host you for traditional mint tea in their home. After dinner, Your guide will give you a debriefing about the world sacred Music Festival of Fez, tomorrow's tour activities. Later take ride your tour bus to Bab Makina Royal Court to enjoy the Fez Festival Grand Opening
Today is a day to explore nature, Morocco's culture from the insider perspective and the spiritual healing of Sufi Saints landmarks. In the morning, you will travel to the Hot springs of Moulay Yacob. A sacred hot spring so popular all over Morocco. Located in a small, charming Berber village at the foothills of the Rif Mountains, the springs are famous for their healing powers. Legend affirms that Moulay Yacob was a Sufi master with the power of healing different diseases, especially muscular and skin disorders. The sanctuary is in the heart of this hilly village where you find herbalist and traditional healers still curing locals and visitors as the tradition holds. In their small workshops and even in the streets around the sanctuary, these healers are still selling herbs and pouches of compounds in the same manner as medieval times.
Across the valley from the village you can spot a mausoleum crowning the hill called Lalla Shafia (meaning literally "The Healer Lady"). It was indeed her name as a saintly healer who was handed this secret power of healing from her father Moulay Yacob. Even today, many women come from remote areas in North Africa seeking her Baraka (blessings). It is a venerated area and a spa for the poor and the wealthy. The traditional baths are down the hill where these hot springs pump 138-degree hot water from as deep as 470 feet below. There is, of course, another spa bath with all modern amenities, where you can enjoy all kinds of treatments or simply bathe in an indoor domed pool, which gets its hot water straight from natural springs. After a picnic lunch, you will return to Fez for the afternoon concerts, followed by dinner at your hotel and the sacred music Festival's evening events.
In the morning, our group tour will ride to Mount Zalagh to explore the natural surrounding of the hills surrounding the City of Fez. We will hike to mount Zalagh for an hour before reaching our camp set under the shady millennium-old Dardar trees near Sidi Ahmed Bernoussi shrine. Today we will have a taste of what is Sufism in Morocco. Your morning will be spent on an excursion to the Rif Mountains, where you will visit the Sidi Ahmed al Barnoussi shrine. You will enjoy a typical couscous picnic lunch over the red poppy fields with local scribes. Traditionally, this couscous lunch is considered to be a Sadaka, which is an offering to feed the scribes, the guests and the passersby. Upon your arrival to the shrine in the peaks of Mount Zalagh, you will be met by the Jajouka musicians and dancers of Morocco, who will enchant you with haunting melodies of their oboes and drums – a ceremony that you will treasure for the rest of your life.
Sidi Ahmed El Bernoussi (Zerrouq), a renowned Sufi Scholar was born in Fez in 1482 and died in 1534 AD. He took from many scholars and sheiks of his time mainly in the Quarawiyyine School of Thoughts, especially Sidi Abdellah Fekhar and Lalla Oum Hani Abdoussia. He traveled on a Sufi journey to Mekkah, where he studied. Then, he traveled to Cairo to learn from many sheiks. He was a master in Tafsir, numerology, and alchemy. He contributed to the Moroccan intellect a vast number of books and essays. His best work is the foundation of Tassawuf and the meanings of the attributes of Allah. Many of his disciples have followed in his footsteps and became eminent sheiks as Sidi Al Hattab al Kabir, Imam Shaarani and the Quotb Abul Hassan Bekri. He was a scholar, an imam, a mufti, a poet, a sheik, a stoic and a faquir (well venerated in Morocco). At the end of his life, he left Fez for Sabrata west of Tripolis, the location of his burial site and necropolis. A scholar will speak to our group about this great personality in the sacred history of Morocco, Islamic Jurisprudence, and Sufi teaching.
His school and retreat sanctuary is still in function in the outskirts of Mount Zalagh overlooking the Old city of Fez. His Mureeds are still holding on the tradition faithful to his Wadhifa up to our days. No sheik in this tariqa has ever claimed his Sirr. So, Sidi Ahmed El Bernoussi remains the sheik of his followers (Mureeds) even now. After our group festive lunch, you will have a tea ceremony and close with blissful prayers. You will return to Fez for the afternoon festival activities, dinner, and the evening's sacred Music Festival events.
Today is devoted to taking a leisurely break from the busy pace of the tour activities. You will have the entire morning at your leisure, free to do whatever you please in the city or simply to relax in your hotel to reflect on this marvelous experience. In the afternoon, you will attend the afternoon concerts, followed by dinner and the Festival's evening events. Later on, for those who feel resilient and wish to explore more, a Sufi master will open the doors of his home to share with you a Sufi gathering for dhikr and chants Harraki Order way. This Sufi gathering is only for this Morocco Discoveries Tour group, as it is not open to the public. This brotherhood dates back to Sidi Abu Lhassan Chadhuli, born in Morocco but buried in the Idab desert in Egypt. He was a disciple of Cheikh Abdeslam Ben Mashiach. The current Cheikh, who is responsible for the renaissance of the brotherhood, is Imam Sidi Nour El Houda Ibrahimi Andalouissi Shadhuli. Afterward, you will enjoy dinner at the hotel. Then, you will experience the evening Concerts of the sacred music festival.
The morning will be spent at your leisure, and after lunch, you will journey to the afternoon concert at Dar Batha. The evening concerts will be at Bab Makina. After the concert, Morocco Discoveries will offer a night of Issawa healing music. Come and experience the Hadra circle dance to heal the world with the Sufi drummers of Issawa Tariqa. The Aissaoui Order has the most exciting drumming with invocations to Allah praising all prophets and saints. Their slogan states: "Come to visit Moulay Al Hadi Sidi Ben Aissa, warrantor of his visitor's wishes." The adepts of this order use in both their private and public meetings the key phrase: "God is eternal." "Allah Da'em". A circle of drumming Hadra will take place exclusively for our group tour of the Fez Sacred Music Festival.
An excursion to a sacred site of Sidi Harazem thermal springs is offered in the afternoon for the whole group tour. Sidi Harazem is a thermal spring known to all Moroccan for its leaver and kidneys cleansing power, that its water is bottled to be sold throughout Morocco. We will visit the village and the spa then return back to Fez. Evening the sacred music festival concert will be at Bab Makina. This will be a relaxing day.
Our Sacred Music Festival tour continues on its quest exploring marvelous Berber towns and villages in the vicinity of Fez. In the early morning, you will enjoy a sunrise Sufi ceremony offered over the Merinides dynasty necropolis looking East for a dramatic sunrise over the sleeping giant of the 9th century Medina. Return to the hotel for breakfast and relax. Your day will include an optional day trip to the ancient Jewish city of Sefrou. Predating Fez by a thousand years, Sefrou once played a vital role as the last stop for the sub-Saharan caravans transporting goods to the European markets. There, you will visit the shrine of Sidi Lahcen Al Yussi, a venerated Sufi master who was considered the guardian of Sefrou. In addition, you will visit the mausoleums of other Rabbis, as well as the city's synagogues. On your return trip to Fez, you will visit the ancient Christian village of B'Halil, which is known for its distinctive troglodyte dwellings. Upon your arrival at Fez, you will attend the Fez Festival's evening music events.
After breakfast, Our group will meet at the hotel for a round table debriefing and reflecting on this wonderfull World Sacred Music gathering in Fez. In the morning, you will attend a lecture, followed by the Festival's afternoon events at the Dar Batha Museum. Dinner will be at the hotel, followed by the evening Festival sacred music events at Bab Makina, the court of the King's palace.
You will spend your morning visiting the Andalucian part of the Medina on the eastern side of the river, where you will learn the history of the settler Moors, who arrived from Spain during the 13th century. Learn about their lifestyle that is still intact today. Shop for music instruments and other artifacts of your interest as the Andalusian market known for these artifacts. The Festival's afternoon concerts will take place at Dar Batha, followed by dinner at the hotel and, afterward, the Festival's closing ceremony.
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Cost per person: $2485 USD
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