Morocco: Fez, the Imperial City

Posted by on June 24, 2012

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Fez is one of the imperial cities in Morocco aside from Meknes, Marrakesh and Rabat. For over four centuries Fez is considered the capital city of the country making it a center of culture and religion. There are two towns within Fez. The old town is called Fez el Bali which is medieval in nature. The new town is referred to as Fez el Jedid. Fez is considered to be a Unesco World Heritage Site. Walking through the city, it is like discovering the ancient world. The narrow alleys give the place a unique atmosphere. Fez is the oldest among the cities. It was established under the rule of Sultan Idriss. After the fall of his dynasty, the Almoravides ruled making Marrakesh the capital. However, Fez remained an important place. Fez is surrounded with walls that extend up to 10 miles. In the north side of the place is where you can find the Merenid tombs that offer the best view of the whole city.

Vieux Mchouar II, Fez

Vieux Mchouar II, Fez

Out of the walls of Fez

Out of the walls of Fez

Merenid Tombs

Merenid Tombs

The core city is Fez el Bali where half of the population resides. Most visitors often spend time in this area. There is a modern part of Fez referred to Ville Nouvelle which is built by French during Protectorate period. There are several mosques in the area but it is not open to non Muslim visitors. Tourists can still look into the entrance of the Zaouia Moulay Idriss. Fez is where you can find quite a number of structures like Medersa or the religious college. It is surrounded by Bou Inania which was an ancient courtyard.

Zaouia Moulay Idriss

Zaouia Moulay Idriss

Medersa

Medersa

Bou Inania

Bou Inania

There is a newly opened museum called Belghazi that is worth your time. It holds treasure on a townhouse surrounded by garden. The main tourist attraction is the medina with narrow alleys where horses and donkeys often pass to get supplies to the shops in the market. Part of the fun in visiting medina is getting lost. You can find every kind of store that you can think of. Going around Fez can be confusing and it gets crowded. Expect to get hassle by store owners as they try to sell you their products.

Belghazi Museum

Belghazi Museum

Medina MarketMedina Market

You might want to hire a guide that can help you find the highlights.  Don’t forget to purchase traditional hat in Fez. There are quite a number of sights all around the city. One is the Kairaouine Mosque which is the center of Islamic education in the country. Only a short distance is where you can find the Souk Dabbaghin or The Tanner’s Quarter. Despite the smell of the dye, it is worth your time. There are various souks all around Fez where you can find various stores selling different products like food, dyed cloth, copper, spices etc.

Kairaouine Mosque

Kairaouine Mosque

Souk Dabbaghin or The Tanner's Quarter

Souk Dabbaghin or The Tanner’s Quarter

 

Fez photo 1: Sonja Blanco, Fez photo 2: Estefa Lozano, Fez photo 3: Sanne Albers, Fez photo 4: Anthea, Fez photo 5: Planete Vivante, Fez photo 6: eatswords, Fez photo 7: Samiaerr, Fez photo 8: Daniel Bosma, Fez photo 9: alikarim, Fez photo 10: Michael Williams,

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