The Jewish community of Fez is the oldest and largest in Morocco, dating back to the establishment of the city by the Idrisid dynasty. It grew through immigration after successive waves of expulsion from the Iberian Peninsula. In the 15th/9th AH century the Maranid dynasty established the quarter known as the Mallah or Mellah, moving the Jewish community closer to the palace. The quarter remains bounded to the north by the Royal Palace, a placement that tied the interests of the community to the monarchy, and affirmed the Sultan's role as protector of community.
In addition to being a residential neighborhood, the quarter was an artisanal, commercial, and financial center. The northern part of quarter on the surroundings of the Bulakhsissat, was the wealthier, populated mostly by immigrants from the Iberian Peninsula. These dwellings were luxurious and elaborately decorated. The neighborhood south of the La Grande Rue is poorer and housed native Jews and included smaller commercial establishments, as well as less luxurious housing.
Sources: Ilahiane, Hsain. "Spanish Balconies in Morocco: A Window on Cultural Influence in the Mallah (Jewish) Community," In Charting Memory: Recalling Medieval Spain, ed. Stacy N. Beckwith, 171-193. New York and London: Garland Publishing, Inc., 2000.
Mezzine, Mohamed. "A Day in the Life of a Jew in Fez." In Andalusian Morocco: Discovery in Living Art. np: Museum With No Frontiers, 2001.