Taza (probably derived from the Tamazight word ‘tizi’, meaning ‘hill’ or ‘pass’) is a city in the north-east of Morocco between the Rif and Middle Atlas, and is the capital of the province of Taza.
In Roman and Islamic times, the valley of Taza, for militarily purposes and as a trade route, was of great importance. Taza was first settled by ‘Miknasa’ tribesmen (at the end of the 7th century), who gave it its name ‘Miknasa Taza’. In 1074, the ‘Almoraviden’ took over Taza. They were replaced by the ‘Almohad’ empire in 1132. In 1248 the city was captured by the ‘Maranids’. The adjacent fortifications date from ‘Almohade’ times. The largest part of the fortification walls has been built in medieval times under the ‘Almohades’, but the ‘Merinides’ and ‘Saadites’ have added and reinforced it.
Taza has always been of high importance because of its strategic location as a passage between the Rif and the Middle Atlas. Taza is divided into two parts: the Medina (Taza-Haut), at an elevation of 585 m above sea level (surrounded by a fortified wall made of rammed earth), and the Ville Nouvelle (Taza-Bas), located in a fertile plain at an elevation of 445 m, established by the French in 1920. In 1956 ‘Taza’ regained some local administrative importance, when it was made the provincial capital of the region. The medina of Taza and the Great Mosque of Taza are on the list of suggestions for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995.
Taza is part of the tourism region ‘Maroc Centre‘ of Morocco.