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Fès (fĕs) or Fez (fĕz), Arab. Fas, city, N central Morocco. In a rich agricultural region, it is connected by rail to Casablanca, Tangier, and Algeria. The city is noted for its Muslim art and its handicraft industries. It gave its name to the brimless felt caps that were formerly characteristic items of Muslim dress in the Middle East. Fès was the capital of several dynasties and reached its zenith under the Merinid sultans in the mid-14th cent. It declined under the Sa'adi and Filali dynasties, who chose Marrakech as their capital. The ulama, or religious council, of the city often played a role in the selection of the sultans of Morocco.
Fès consists of the still vibrant old city (or medina; founded 808) and the new city (founded 1276), connected by walls. The city has more than 100 mosques; the mosque containing the shrine of Idris II, founder of the old city, is one of the holiest places in Morocco. The Qaraouiyine (or Qarawiyyin) mosque is the center of a Muslim university that was especially influential in the Middle Ages and has one of the world's oldest libraries. Fès is the destination of pilgrims who visit the many tombs of saints and scholars. Nearby are the thermal baths of Sidi Harazem.
(named for Fès, Morocco, where the production of fezzes was widespread), a woolen or felt hat in the shape of a truncated cone, usually with a black or dark blue tassel, which is often interwoven with silver or gold. The fez is worn by men in Morocco, Egypt, Algeria, Turkey, and Southwest Asia and is part of the native dress in some regions of Albania and Greece. It is worn either under a turban or as a separate hat. From 1826 to 1925 a red fez with a black tassel was the official headgear of civil servants and soldiers in Turkey.