Although Moulay Idriss is an important religious site in northern Morocco, what I loved the most is the way the town tumbles down two hills and how, traversing a winding labyrinth of alleys that lead to spectacular vantage points from the top, it appears that life in this picturesque little hamlet hasn’t changed for centuries.
The town is the final resting place of Morocco’s religious and secular founder, Moulay Idriss el Akhbar, a decendent of the Prophet Muhammad who brought Islam to Morocco. It is said that five pilgrimages to Moulay Idriss are the spiritual equivalent of one to Mecca, earning it the nickname the poor man’s Mecca. Until 2005, non-muslims were not allowed to spend the night in town.
Here, as in many other hillside settlements where space is tight, the humble donkey is the only way of getting things up or down the hill.