The big Moroccan cities have an extremely rich history, a past that appeals to all generations, but also a cosmopolitan life that attracts more and more tourists. Very often described as the cultural capital of Morocco, the city of Fez charms with its architectural heritage, historical and intellectual. The city is full of curiosities, museums, monuments that are very well preserved. But to understand the subtleties and penetrate the unique atmosphere of the city, here are some places to visit and a non-exhaustive list of things to do in Fez.
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Discovering the Medina is an adventure in itself because it is not revealed to the traveler in a hurry. You have to learn to appreciate this place, to understand its codes, to let yourself be carried away by the cries, the smells, the heat that emerges from all the stalls. You have to be ready for the unexpected. The Medina of Fez is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because it houses, in truth, the oldest university in the Muslim world. The main sites of the Medina to visit date from the 13th and 15th century and are the Madrassah, the palace, mosques and fountains.
Two large doors are available to you when you want to go inside the Medina, it is the door Bab Bou Djeloud (photo) and the door Bab Dekkakin . Bab Bou Djeloud is the main gate that corresponds to the official entry of the Medina and the other door, with its castle-like appearance, is a place where criminals were then tried during the Middle Ages.
The souk of Fez has existed for hundreds of years and it seems to have changed very little. That’s the charm of yesteryear, which makes it so endearing. As Fez is a city of crafts, its souk is crowded with artisans who compete of ingenuity and know-how in the souvenirs to be brought back, such as pottery, ceramics or jewels. Do not forget to go for a walk to the souk of dyers, change of scenery!
It should be known that the Fondouk is a caravanserai or traveler inns: it is a building with floor which was conceived around a square court. That of Fez is worth a look because it houses today many workshops.
This university, the oldest in the Arab world, was founded in 859 AD. Even though entry is forbidden to non-muslims, it remains today a spiritual high place. Discover its exteriors and details that adorn its walls, its 270 columns and its 24 doors that surround an interior courtyard.
A Madrassah is an old Koranic school that serves as boarding school for students. In Fez, they are numerous and all as prestigious, especially in terms of their decorations. To see therefore the Madrassah Attarine (photo) which is in front of the mosque Karaouiyne. It is surely one of the finest madrassas in the Muslim world where lovers of calligraphy but also mosaics and marquetry can feast their eyes impressed. There is also the Madrassah Bou Inania: a Medersa very impressive in size, surely one of the finest buildings in the city. Another Madrassah to discover is the Medersa Seffarine which is the oldest of Fez since it was designed in 1280. Its decoration recalls the traditional houses of Morocco.
These tanneries are among the most emblematic sites of the city. To guide you, follow the strong smells of skin and dye. At the end of these tanneries, you will be offered a mint drink to try to hide the strong smell of the place.
On this square are found many craftsmen who work copper to make teapots, trays, perfume burners while others, boilermakers are established here to develop pots, buckets and various containers. A craft not to be missed.
It is the oldest palace in Morocco and surely the most important. Erected in the 14th century, it is called Dar El Makhzen. With its 80 hectares, it was built outside the old medina, it is now near the Jewish quarter and the Mellah. Even if the visits are not allowed, it is necessary to go there to discover its gigantic esplanade where one can discover large bronze doors which are framed by ceramic tiles. The doors are 7 in number as many days in the week as well as levels in the Moroccan monarchy.
it is a museum with an impressive collection of Moroccan arts and crafts. You can observe ancient objects such as beautiful wood carvings, zelliges and Chiselled stucco. But that’s not all, you can also discover pretty fassie embroideries, colorful Berber carpets and antique instruments. The museum also has a garden, Andalusian style. This last will offer you a well deserved calm after the agitation of the Medina.