Fes: what to see in the ancient imperial city of Morocco
What to see in Fez, visit the medina, from mosques to the monuments and handicrafts, ville nouvelle, the royal palace and madrassa until Hammam baths.
Medieval city, Fes is considered the cultural center of the country and artisan, is at the foot of the Atlas Mountains, situated on the crossroads of ancient caravan routes. Very well preserved, is one of the four imperial cities of Morocco, along with Marrakech, Rabat and Meknes. Founded in 700 by Idris, founder of the dynasty of Idrisid dynasty, and later became the capital city holy. The old town is one of the most interesting historical centers of the whole Islamic world for its buildings, some of which are used as mosques.
What to see in Fes
Medina: the old city is a maze composed of more than 9,000 narrow winding cobbled streets full of people, it easy to get lost also while walking quietly, observing the many markets hawkers where to buy dried fruit, leather products, copper, ceramics, textiles and carpets of all kinds, all made by hand by local craftsmen, who work hard from morning to night. The medina is also the intellectual heart of the city, is home of the oldest universities in the world. To see the mosques and the four gates of the medina, the gate of Bab Boujeloud more colorful, or the western gate, with tiled facades of the colors blue and green. Some of these architectural gems have been restored recently.
Fès El Jdid, south of Medina, is a city of the 13th century, built by the rulers Merenid to have more space to be devoted to the construction of their palaces. Here lies the Mellah Jewish quarter, which is distinguished by ornate balconies and windows in hand-forged iron.
Ville Nouvelle is the modern city center, with French-style boulevards, hotels, restaurants, cafes and bookstores. Walking along Avenue Hassan you can see lush coconut palms, red flowers, beautiful fountains and modern shops. Nearby you can go hiking and mountain biking in the summer, while in winter ski lovers can go to the slopes located near Ifrane, a typical Berber town.
Nejjarin Nejjarine fes is a former caravanserai exquisitely restored, which is a meeting place in Fes. In the past had the function of providing food and shelter to merchants, today it has become a museum dedicated to the arts and crafts of the wood. Inside, you can see up close, the sculptures in wood finely carved and elaborately carved arches of the courtyard. Outside there is the fountain Nejjarine, better known as the mosaic fountain of the medina and, in the alleys leading to the square, the Nejjarine Souk, where the carpenters still work with the chisel to carve wood cedar.
Medersa mosque, recently restored, is one of the few Islamic religious buildings open to non-Muslims. It had functions of school educational and congregational mosque. It was built between 1350-1356 by Sultan Bou Inan, the dynasty of the Merenides, it is considered the most beautiful and most richly decorated Madrasa built by Marinids, with interior carved cedar wood and a wonderful courtyard entrance marble, the only Madrasa in Morocco with pulpit and minaret. It is closed to the public during the hours of prayer.
Tanneries: represent one of the most deeply rooted traditions in Fes since ancient times, from Terrasse de Tannerie and other surrounding terraces you can observe the workmanship of leather and hides.
Dar Batha Museum: contains a large collection of Moroccan crafts, including embroidery, leather, carpets and jewelry, wood carvings and colorful ceramics. The visit of this ancient Moorish palace is strictly guided and includes the fabulous Andalusian garden.
Kairaouine Mosque: non-Muslims are not allowed to enter this huge building dedicated to Islamic worship, located in the heart of Fez, but often the door is open and you can take a peek inside. Founded in 857, is one of the oldest in the Western Muslim world. Because of the proximity of the surrounding houses and shops, the best place to appreciate the scale of the mosque from the roof of Medrasa el Attarine, occasionally open to the public.
Madrasa el Attarine: founded in 1325 in the heart of the medina, has beautiful decorations and, after the Bou Inania, is the most impressive of medieval Islamic colleges.
Hammam is a beach where you can relax after a bath undergoing a massage treatment.
Royal Palace covers 80 hectares of land, situated in the midst of beautiful gardens, ancient mosques and madrasas. Built in the 17th century by the rulers Merenid, is located in the center of Fez el Jdid. The building is not open to the public, but you can admire the outside. It is used as a temporary residence of the king of Morocco when he is in the area.