Moulay Idriss is Morocco's most sacred town, the final resting place of the nation's religious and secular founder, Moulay Idriss I. 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. Non-Muslims are not allowed inside the tomb at all, and until 2005 were not allowed to spend the night in town. A splash of white against Djebel (Mt.) Zerhoun, the picturesque town tumbles down two hillsides. The pace of life is leisurely, visits are normally hassle-free, and people watching in the main square offers a view of Moroccan life that hasn’t changed for centuries.
Moulay Idriss attracts thousands of pilgrims from all over Morocco to its moussem in late August or early September. Non-Muslims are welcome to attend the secular events, which are a fascinating glimpse into Islamic life and celebrations.