Fez, a thousand-year-old city and "melting pot of religions and cultures", according to the UN

In Morocco, the city of Fez, which recently hosted the World Forum of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, has for centuries been a melting pot of religions and cultures, writes the UN press service on its website.

In an article devoted to the spiritual capital of the Kingdom published on Sunday, the UN site notes in particular that the Jewish cemetery of Fez, 200 years old, symbolizes the harmonious coexistence of the various communities of the city.

“Here we lived in harmony. There was no tension. We all knew that we were Jews, Muslims or Catholics, and we never had any problems from this point of view”, underlines Johanna Devico Ohana, a Jewess who ensures the maintenance of the cemetery, quoted by the press service of the international organization.

The same source indicates that the father of Johanna Devico Ohana, who had to leave the country for medical treatment, asked Johanna, before dying, to make him this promise: “if I ever die in France, he insisted he, take me back to Fez”.

“He had also asked her to take care of the Jewish cemetery which he had taken care of for a long time. Her daughter accepted both requests and her father now rests in the cemetery, which she in turn maintains, ”says the portal. “My father was a lover of Morocco and a lover of Fez,” says Ms. Ohana, who was born and raised in the city.

The Jewish cemetery, located in the Mellah, is distinguished by its semi-cylindrical tombs, which evoke the history of the flourishing Jewish community in Morocco, underlines the same source.

And to recall that Fez, strong in its human diversity, was the appropriate place to host the ninth Forum of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), which was held last November.

“Today, the city is known for its arts, sciences, crafts and commercial activities. The medina of Fez, often described as the cultural and spiritual center of Morocco, is listed as a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)”, specifies the press service of the UN, adding that the city also hosts a great mix of cultures and identities, illustrated by its Jewish quarter, “Mellah”.

Quoting the King’s Counselor, André Azoulay, during the inauguration of the 9th UNAOC Forum, the portal recalls that “Morocco was built around a model of openness, harmony and synergy thanks to its Arab-Islamic, Amazigh and Saharo-Sassanid confluences, which was further enriched by African, Andalusian, Hebrew and Mediterranean contributions”.

Located in northern Morocco, on the Oued Fez, the city was founded in the 9th century and served as the capital of Morocco for hundreds of years. In the year 809, King Idris II encouraged Jews to settle in Fez to put their skills at the service of the city, recalls the UN press service.

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