Moulay Idriss is a town and important religious site located about 25 kilometres from the imperial city of Meknes. The main sight of this hilltop city is the tomb of its founder Moulay Idriss, a descendent of the Prophet Muhammad. For many centuries Moulay Idriss shrine has been a place of pilgrimage that entertains people from all over the Kingdom.
The city was founded in 788 by Moulay Idriss, the famous ruler of the first Arabian dynasty in Morocco, after his flight from the Middle East. The Zerhoun Mountains seems to have been his first place of refuge in Morocco, from where he spread the new religion of Islam.
In the beginning, only a few houses surrounded the tomb. Then, as 17th century historians Leo Africanus and Marmol pointed out, habitations and construction began to spring up around the mosque and tomb in order to accommodate and serve an increasing number of pilgrims.
Non-Muslims cannot enter the shrine or visit the Mosque and the Medersa of Moulay Driss ZErhoun but can have great views on the sanctuary. Best views of the tomb and the city can be had from the Restaurant Trois Boules d’Or on the Terrace Sidi Abdallah el Hajjam.
Another interesting sight of Moulay Idriss is the Idriss Medersa, which was built from materials taken from Volubilis. It has an unusual modern minaret (1939), which is cylindrical in shape and has a chapter from the Qur’an inscribed in green mosaics.