11 Essential things to do in Fez, Morocco

11 Essential things to do in Fez

The great cities of Morocco have a very rich history, a past that knows how to seduce all generations, also a cosmopolitan life that attracts more and more tourists. Quite often portrayed as the cultural capital of Morocco, the city of Fez enraptures with its building, historical and mental heritage. Note that in 1980, the city was approved and received the status of UNESCO Global Heritage Site, proving the strength and dynamism of this town in preserving its own history and identity.

To visit Fez, whether you are an art lover or an ordinary tourist, is to leap back in time: wander the zigzag streets of the Medina, get lost in the markets, admire the fine details of the Qaraouin Mosque, walk through the city’s fortifications… There are so many discoveries that will enchant you.

Fez is a very modern city in which you simply find accommodation as well as comforts. For the lovers of excursions, cultural and historical discoveries, to quench your thirst for knowledge, the city is full of curiosities, museums, monuments, which are very well preserved. But to fully understand the intricacies and get into the unique atmosphere of the city, here are a few places worth visiting and (an incomplete) list of things to do in Fes.

1. Medina

Discovering the Medina {on its own} is a real adventure, so that it is not revealed to the hurried traveler. You must learn to appreciate this space, to be aware of its codes, to let yourself be carried away by the clicks, the smells, the warmth that emanates from all the stalls. You must be prepared for the unexpected. The Medina of Fez is a UNESCO Global Heritage Site, so in fact, the oldest institution in the Muslim world is located here. The main attractions of Medina worth visiting date back to the 13th and 15th centuries, and are the madrasah, palace, mosques and fountains.

2. Leather tanners

This is a special category in the markets, leather tanners leave no one phlegmatic, especially because of the indescribable aroma that emanates from their workshop. For those who are not used to it, the smell can be fatal. But when you leave the workshop, a mint drink will be offered for you to (slightly) mask the smell. Discover the classic tanneries of Fez.

3. Fondouk

It’s important for you to understand that the fondouk is a caravanserai. It is a two-story structure built around a rectangular courtyard.. It is worth a look in Fes, so there are a lot of workshops in it at the moment.

4. Markets

The market in Fez has been around for hundreds of years and doesn’t seem to have changed much. This is what gives it its old-world charm, which makes it so pretty. Since Fez is a city of crafts, its market is crowded with artisans who compete in ingenuity and know-how in bringing back souvenirs such as earthenware, pottery or decorations. Don’t forget to go to the dyers’ market, a change of scenery!

5. Karawin Mosque.

This institution, the oldest in the Arab world, was founded in 859 AD. Even though entry for non-Muslims is forbidden, it now remains a spiritual elevation. Discover its exterior and the details adorning its walls, 270 columns and 24 doors surrounding the courtyard.

6. Madrasah

The Madrasah is a former Koranic school that serves as a boarding school for students. There are many of them in Fez and they are idiotically prestigious, especially in terms of decoration. So, it is worth seeing the Attarine Madrassa, which is located opposite the mosque of Karaouyine. It is certainly one of the most unique madrassahs in the Muslim world, where lovers of calligraphy, mosaics and marquetry can admire its impressive eyes. There is also Bu Inania Madrasah: a madrasah of impressive dimensions, surely one of the most unique buildings in the city. Another madrasa worth discovering is that of Seffarin, the oldest in Fez, because it was designed in 1280. Its decoration is reminiscent of the classic houses of Morocco.

7. Medina Gate.

Two huge doors are available to you when you want to go inside the Medina, they are the Bab Bu Jhelud door and the Bab Decaten door. Bab Bu Jeloud is the main gate, which corresponds to the official entrance to the Medina, and the other gate, which looks like a castle, is the space where criminals were tried in the Middle Ages.

8. Visit the Seffarin.

In this square there are many artisans who work with copper to create teapots, trays, and incense pots, while others, the kotelniki, are based here to make pots, buckets, and various containers. A craft not to be missed.

9. Tsar’s Palace

This is the oldest palace in Morocco and certainly the most principled. Erected in the 14th century, it is called the Dar El Mahzen. With its 80 hectares, it was built outside the old Medina and is now located near the Jewish Quarter and the Mellah. Even if visits are not allowed, you must go there to discover its huge esplanade, where you can find huge bronze doors framed in clay tiles. There are 7 doors, as well as the number of days in a week, also levels in the Moroccan monarchy.

10. Dar Bata Palace and Museum

The palace was built by Hassan I because he was passionate about connecting the two towns that make up Fez, specifically Fez el-Baki and Fez el-Jedid. This palace was later converted into a craft museum where you can see pottery and ceramics from the 13th century as well as medieval embroidery and decorations. Don’t forget to take pictures of the richly crowned gates and the large padlocks that close the doors at night (that is, the dark time of day).

11. other ideas for visiting fes

Finally, Fez has a beautiful fountain called the Fountain of Nejarine, which is located near the Carpenters’ Market and dates back to the 18th century. It is worth beholding the treasure of its mosaics!

The Moulay Idriss II Mausoleum is the second most sacred place in all of Morocco. It is closed to non-Muslims. Moulay Idriss II was the founder of the town of Fez.

Finally, you should discover the district of Mellach: it is an old Jewish quarter that still bears witness to an incredible historical wealth and impressive cultural knowledge.

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