Among the scientific city-states, Fez is one of the worst: while it is relatively more useful than Mitla, it can never measure up to the rest due to the unreliable nature of its Suzerain bonus. First and foremost, despite being a scientific city-state, its bonus requires a religion, which itself requires a large Faith output to be useful. For a scientific civilization, the former is guaranteed to no one except Arabia (who can probably make the best use of this mediocre city-state), and the latter is often completely unnecessary and not worth the effort to grow. Fez isn't very useful for a religious civilization either. If you are aiming for a Religious Victory, Science is not your main priority, so the Science granted upon the first conversion (remember, it only works once per city) is a nice bonus but does not help you achieve your victory faster. Lastly, if you founded a religion but are aiming for a Cultural Victory, you will want to generate Faith but not necessarily build Holy Sites in every city just to maximize Faith output (unless you are running a Relic-based strategy), as you should save your Faith for Naturalists and Rock Bands.
Furthermore, the actual reward of bonus Science does not scale over the course of the game, being a flat calculation of 20 Science multiplied by the Population of the city converted (for example, when converting a city with 7 Population, you will gain 140 Science). Spending Envoys and time completing city-state quests can be big decisions, and Fez's bonus is often simply not good enough to compare with other city-states.
That said, the best (or possibly only) strategy involving Fez requires you meet them early and become their Suzerain. After founding a religion, choose any beliefs you want except Religious Colonization. Around this point in the game (the late Ancient to late Classical Era, or Turns 60-130 in a Standard speed game), it is not uncommon to have been focusing on Settlers and neglecting other yields, so you would be making around 20-70 Science and Culture across this period. With the potential to be made more efficient by the Exodus of the Evangelists dedication in a Golden Age, converting a single city with a decent Population can equal multiple turns worth of Science and make Fez a way for your formerly religion-oriented civ to catch back up in Science, or pull completely ahead.
The returns are often in the Suzerain's favor: a theoretical Missionary will cost anywhere from 100 to 350 Faith, and if it can either convert one large city (7+ Population) or multiple small cities (2-3 Population), which would ideally be your newly settled cities, the Suzerain will essentially be converting Faith into Science at a shockingly efficient rate. Exploited at its earliest, the cheapest Missionary costs 100 Faith, and if it can convert a city with 5 Population (which shouldn't be hard to find), the conversion rate will be 1:1, or even better in a more populous city.
The weakness of this strategy is that it must be improvised: one cannot decide where Fez spawns on a map (except on TSL, where Spain, Mali, and Arabia can make use of this strategy), and it becomes increasingly outdated and inefficient later on in the game as both human and computer players gain more Science per turn...and perhaps more importantly, as the Faith costs of religious units rise. By the late game, Fez's bonus becomes useless as even a large newly converted city will barely equal one turn's worth of Science, and you shouldn't send more than 6 Envoys there.
To make matters worse, Fez's bonus activates only upon using Spread Religion charges. Neither passive religious pressure nor repeated combat (theological combat, Byzantium's civilization ability, Warrior Monks with Disciples, or the Conquistador) will grant the bonus, so you have a timer counting down before you can no longer make use of this mediocre bonus.
The oldest of Morocco's imperial cities, Fez has been an important center of trade and learning in North Africa for centuries. It boasts some of the oldest centers of craft and Islamic education in the world, and the old quarters of the city today are a UNESCO Heritage site.
There were two cities that grew up on either bank of the Wadi Fes, first on the east bank in 789 by Moroccan sharif Idris I, and the west bank in 809 by Idris II. The oldest madrassa in Fez, and indeed that of the Islamic world, is the Al Quaraouiyine, dating to 859 CE, which might be considered the oldest continually-operating and first degree-granting institution in the world (this is a matter of dispute with Bologna, see that City-State entry for another claim of oldest university).
The two settlements were united by the Almoravids in the 11th Century, and by then the region had been infused with Arabic and Berber cultural traditions, and the Almoravids are generally credited with reinvigorating the city as a result of this unification. Fez became the capital of the Moroccan Marinid Dynasty in the early 13th Century, and much of the classical Moroccan architecture that defines the city was introduced during this period of time.
The Marinids strongly encouraged the construction of madrassas, which further increased Fez's preeminence as a center for Islamic jurisprudence, particularly the Sunni Maliki school. Fez was also remarkable for the size of its Jewish Quarter, and the quality of the work by its goldsmiths and jewelers. The world-famous traveler Ibn Battuta passed through Fez at the beginning of his journeys in 1325, and would not return to the city again until 1349.
Numerous caravansaries existed within the city as well, as the trans-Saharan trade goods made their way towards the Mediterranean ports, like Algiers. The city was famous for its tanneries, and the Chouara Tannery has been tanning leather in traditional fashion since the 11th Century. The city was walled and fortified, and these walls still exist in good repair to this day.
Fez's fortunes have waxed and waned as the capital of Morocco shifted to Marrakech. Its madrassas remained important centers of learning during the time, making the city the intellectual center of Morocco. Its location inland made it an important trading nexus, and the hills above the city grow olives and fruit trees. Today it is a popular city for tourists who come to admire its old quarter, and the city boasts an enormous, pedestrian-only region at its heart. Guests may stay in villas or in traditional Moroccan inns called funduqs.
A word on the fez as headgear: The exact historical source of the tarboorsh (the short, brimless, truncated conical hat) is hard to pin down. However, during the Ottoman Empire, the size of a man's turban was considered to be a mark of his importance in society. Consequently, fashions involving turbans had become more and more complex, including being subject to sumptuary laws. The fez (or a fez-like hat) served as the core around which the turban was rolled, and Fez was the source of most of these. In 1829, Sultan Mahmud II embarked on a series of reforms that included abolishing turbans. He himself adopted a simple, red fez in daily wear, in what was widely hailed as a magnanimous, egalitarian gesture.
- Fez's city-state symbol is based on a stylized version of Morocco's former flag.
|Civilization VI City-states |
|1 Requires DLC|