FEZ, Morocco -- Western music and Islamic traditions come together
this summer between June 23 and July 1 during the Fez Festival of
World Sacred Music.
The multicultural lineup of performers ranges from opera diva
Wilhelminia Fernandez to Bobby Jones and the Campbell Brothers on
From other corners of the world will come the sacred songs of
Algeria and Morocco, a Hassidic repertoire and Jewish Andalusian
traditional music, twirling Sufi dervishes, French gypsy religious
songs, Gregorian chants, Greek opera and Indian devotional
The Fez Festival was launched after the Persian Gulf War to show
that music can be a force for harmonizing cultures.
Concert venues will showcase many of the historic attractions
that led to the designation of Fez as a Unesco World Heritage site,
such as the Bar Batha Moorish palace and the Bab Makina (the king's
14th century palace reception court), as well as the Roman ruins of
Volubilis outside the city.
Fez is three hours by car from Casablanca and 1,000 years back
Clients can plan a few days around the festival and still find
time to explore this first imperial city, the soul of Morocco and
its intellectual, religious and artistic capital for the Islamic
and Jewish peoples.
While there is a modern Fez with a fine, elaborate royal palace,
the city's heart is Fez el Bali, the definitive medina.
Along narrow, twisting streets in the heart of the old city,
there is a commercial order to the seeming confusion: tanners have
their own odiferous quarter, the metal workers their sunny square,
the dyers their alley.
Within the vast marketplace, artisans fashion copperware,
embroidered caftans and decorative leather goods; also for sale are
fine rugs, old silver jewelry, ceramics and old bits of
Fez is as much about religion as it is about commerce, and there
are 14 medersas (Koranic schools, of which the architectural
superstar is the Bou Inania Medersa) in Fez el Bali, and a number
of mosques, the oldest of which is the ninth century Kairaouine
While the Royal Palace is closed to visitors, a visit to the
Museum of Moroccan Arts gives some idea of how royalty lived a
Historic chambers are filled with everything from medieval
Arabic astrolabes to local carpets and costumes.
Royal Air Maroc, in cooperation with hotels in Fez, is offering
festival packages that include air, three- to nine-night stays with
accommodations, a half-board meal plan, entry to all concerts,
films and exhibitions, airport transfers and transport to Festival
U.S. tour operators with programs to Morocco also will be a good
source for booking stays in Fez at the time of the Festival.
Royal Air Maroc
Phone: (800) 344-6726