Fes, often referred to as the “Athens of Africa” and the “Mecca of the West,” is a city that encapsulates the essence of Morocco. Nestled in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, Fes is a city of unparalleled historical and cultural significance. In this guide, we’ll take you on a journey through the most popular place in Fes, providing insights into the heart of this mesmerizing city.
The Medina of Fes
Without a doubt, the most popular place in Fes is its ancient Medina, a UNESCO World Heritage site that dates back over a thousand years. This labyrinthine walled city is a living testament to Morocco’s rich heritage and is often considered one of the world’s largest urban pedestrian zones.
Bab Bou Jeloud (The Blue Gate)
Begin your journey in the Medina at the iconic Bab Bou Jeloud, also known as the Blue Gate. Its dazzling blue tiles are a symbol of Fes and serve as the entrance to the Medina. As you step through the gate, you’ll be transported back in time to a place where history and tradition converge.
Al-Qarawiyyin Mosque and University
One of the oldest universities in the world, Al-Qarawiyyin University, is located within the Medina. Founded in 859 AD, it continues to be a center of Islamic learning. While you may not be able to enter the university, the adjacent Al-Qarawiyyin Mosque is open to visitors and showcases stunning Moorish architecture.
For a truly unique experience, visit the Chouara Tannery, where leather has been crafted in the same way for centuries. Witness the tanning process up close and take in the vibrant colors of dyed leather. Be prepared for the distinctive aroma of the tannery!
Bou Inania Madrasa
Another architectural marvel within the Medina is the Bou Inania Madrasa. This 14th-century theological college boasts intricate tilework, carved cedarwood, and a serene courtyard. It’s a tranquil oasis amidst the bustling Medina.
Nejjarine Museum of Wooden Arts and Crafts
Fes is renowned for its craftsmanship, and the Nejjarine Museum showcases this beautifully. Explore the intricacies of traditional woodworking, musical instruments, and more in this charming museum housed in a restored caravanserai.
Q: What is the best time to visit Fes? A: The best time to visit Fes is during the spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) when the weather is pleasant and conducive to exploration.
Q: Is Fes safe for tourists? A: Yes, Fes is generally safe for tourists. However, it’s essential to take common-sense precautions and be mindful of your belongings.
Q: Can I enter the Al-Qarawiyyin University? A: No, the university is not open to the public, but you can visit the adjacent Al-Qarawiyyin Mosque.
Q: What are some traditional dishes to try in Fes? A: Don’t miss out on tasting tagine, pastilla, and harira, along with Moroccan mint tea.
Q: How can I navigate the Medina of Fes? A: It’s best to explore the Medina on foot, as it’s a pedestrian-only zone. Wear comfortable shoes and be prepared for narrow, winding streets.
Q: Are guided tours available for the Medina? A: Yes, guided tours of the Medina are readily available and are a great way to gain insights into its history and culture.
Fes, with its enchanting Medina and historical treasures, beckons travelers to discover its unique charm. The city’s intricate mosaic of culture, spirituality, and craftsmanship is a testament to Morocco’s enduring legacy. When you visit the most popular place in Fes, you embark on a journey through time and tradition that will leave you with lasting memories of this captivating city.