MOULAY DRISS ZERHOUN
Moulay Driss Zerhoun is the first Muslim city in North Africa, and was named according to the name of its founder Moulay Driss. Geoghraphically, the city is perched at an altitude of 550 meters, under Zerhoun mountain and extends over two hills, surrounded by green plains where olive groves abound. Up to 1917, the city was forbidden to non-Muslims visits, today it retains its character of a holy city.
The city clings to a hill, it's a maze of stairs! Some places, called "terraces", offer a bird's eye view of the city, the mausoleum, the entanglement of alleys and those small houses that surround it.
THE MAUSOLEUM OF MOULAY DRISS THE 1ST
he sanctuary of Moulay Driss I, descendent of the prophet Mohammed, who was the founder of the Idrissid dynasty, 1st Muslim dynasty of Morocco, had taken refuge in Moulay Driss Zerhoun, after having fled Baghdad at the end of the 8th century.
He has been lying there for 12 centuries.
THE MOUSSEM OF MOULAY DRISS AL AKBAR
This moussem is the largest religious feast in this small holy city.
Each year, at the end of August, thousands of pilgrims, Sufi fraternities and various corporations, in search of blessings, come to pay tribute to their saint, bringing many offerings anf ritual gifts, accompanied by folk troops such as Aissaoua, Hmadcha and Hal Touat.
The Moussem is considered as a spiritual pilgrimage of poor people, those who cannot go to Mecca.
The Sufi fraternity of the Alamiyines inaugurates the ceremonies by the khamra (symbol of drunkenness) which leads the followers through increasing exhilarating phases, to the ecstasy of the mystical union with the divine.
MOULAY DRISS OLIVE
From antiquity, the region of Moulay Driss Zerhoun is famous for the production of olive oil. There are still oil mills in the small town. From the second half of November, an entire economic activity begins: the picking of olives is in full swing. Plastic canvases of all colors are spread under the olive trees, to pick the reachable olives at hand and to beat down the distant ones.
In the region, olives quickly reach the presses or various other containers that are waiting to be filled with oil. These are also occasionnal markets for fresh olives.