Fes Travel Guide

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Fez is a city in Morocco famous for being home to the world's oldest university, the Qarawiyyin university. It has an ancient walled city, which many compare to the walled city of Jerusalem.

Fes of Morocco
Fes of Morocco

Fez is the medieval capital of Morocco founded by Idris I in 789, and a great city of high Islamic civilization. Fez has the best-preserved old city in the Arab world, the sprawling, labyrinthine medina of Fes el-Bali, which is incidentally also the world's largest car-free urban zone. Within the medina transports of goods is provided by donkeys, mules and handcarts.

Fes of Morocco
Fes of Morocco

In the midst of the maze-like medina are the colorful leather-dying pits. Any number of young boys will offer to guide you to them: just listen for "you want to see the tanneries?" The tour is free (though it is appropriate to offer 1-5 dirhams to your "guide"). There is no chance of getting to see the tanneries by yourself, instead, be prepared for physical abuse for even trying! However, just 10m left of the entrance is a leather shop that offers views to the tannery free of charge and you can see it all from the balcony. Expect to be pressured into buying goods from the shop in return.

Fes of Morocco
Fes of Morocco

It is possible to get into the tannery itself, hang around near the entrance until someone offers to take you in for 10 dirham. He will get you past the entrance and then you can wander in amongst the workers. A word of advice...wear closed shoes and maybe bring a mint leaf to sniff if you have a weak stomach.

Fes of Morocco
Fes of Morocco

Bou Inania madersa: a breathtaking 14th-century religious college. The best example of Islamic architecture a non-Muslim can see in Fez, with wooden walls elaborately carved with geometric patterns and Arabic calligraphy, and a beautiful minaret. In the courtyard there is a portico with a still-functioning mosque, separated by the rest of the courtyard by a small moat.

Fes of Morocco
Fes of Morocco

The view from the hills surrounding the old city is spectacular- there are two fortresses overlooking the old city, the Borj Nord which contains an armaments museum, and the Borj Sud, which is being developed for tourism.

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