Fes is a city deeply rooted in Moroccan history and culture. From its ancient medina to its vibrant festivals, the city offers many cultural experiences. Here are a few highlights:

  1. Medina of Fes: The Medina of Fes is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the largest car-free urban areas in the world. Its labyrinthine streets are filled with traditional markets, known as souks, where you can find everything from spices and textiles to ceramics and leather goods. Exploring the medina is like stepping back in time and immersing yourself in Moroccan culture.
  2. Al-Qarawiyyin Library: Located in the heart of the medina, the Al-Qarawiyyin Library is one of the oldest operating libraries in the world. Established in the 9th century, it houses various Islamic manuscripts and books on various subjects. 
  3. Festivals: Fes is known for its vibrant festivals, which showcase the city's cultural heritage. The Fes Festival of World Sacred Music is the most famous, held annually in May. It features performances by renowned musicians worldwide, celebrating different traditions' spiritual and cultural diversity.
  4. Traditional Crafts: Fes is renowned for its traditional craftsmanship. Artisans in the city specialize in various crafts such as pottery, carpet weaving, leatherwork, and metalwork. Visit the workshops and souks to witness the intricate craftsmanship and purchase some unique souvenirs to take back home.
  5. Islamic Architecture: Fes is home to exquisite examples of Islamic architecture. The city boasts several beautiful mosques, including the famous Al-Qarawiyyin Mosque, one of the world's oldest universities. Marvel at the intricate tile work, carved woodwork, and geometric patterns adorn these architectural wonders.

Travel Tips for Fes: Making the Most of Your Visit

Here are some travel tips to consider for a smooth and enjoyable trip to Fes:

  1. Dress Modestly: Morocco is a predominantly Muslim country, and it is respectful to dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites or conservative areas. Both men and women should avoid revealing clothing and opt for modest attire.
  2. Navigating the Medina: The Medina of Fes can be a maze-like labyrinth, so it's helpful to have a map or a reliable guide to assist you in navigating the narrow streets. Be prepared for a sensory overload with the hustle and bustle of the markets and the vibrant atmosphere.
  3. Bargaining in Souks: Bargaining is a common practice in Moroccan souks. When shopping for souvenirs or items in the medina, be prepared to negotiate the price. A general rule of thumb is to start with a lower price and gradually work until a mutually agreed price is reached.
  4. Try Local Transportation: Fes has a well-connected transportation system, including buses and taxis. Consider taking a petit taxi (small blue taxi) for short distances within the city and grand taxis (shared taxis) for longer distances or day trips to nearby attractions. Confirm the fare before starting your journey.
  5. Respect Ramadan: If you visit Fes during the holy month of Ramadan, be aware that the city's pace may slow down during daylight hours, as many locals are observing fasting. Respect Ramadan customs by avoiding eating, drinking, or smoking in public during fasting hours.

Interesting Facts about Fes

Here are some intriguing facts about Fes that add to its allure:

  1. Fes is the oldest of Morocco's imperial cities and was founded in the 9th century.
  2. The University of Al-Qarawiyyin, located in Fes, is recognized by UNESCO and the Guinness World Records as the world's oldest continuously operating degree-granting university.
  3. Fes is renowned for its traditional tanneries, where animal hides are treated and transformed into leather products. The tanneries still use traditional methods, and visitors can witness the fascinating process.
  4. The city's iconic blue pottery is a unique feature of Fes. The distinctive blue hues are created using cobalt oxide and can be found adorning various ceramics and tiles.
  5. Fes has inspired numerous artists, writers, and filmmakers, capturing the city's mystique and timeless charm. It has been featured in movies like "The Sheltering Sky" and is a source of inspiration for many Moroccan artists.

Top Places to Visit in Fes

  1. Bou Inania Medersa: This stunning Islamic school is known for its intricate tilework, carved woodwork, and tranquil courtyard. It is a masterpiece of Moroccan architecture.
  2. Merenid Tombs: Located on a hill overlooking the city, the Merenid Tombs offer panoramic views of Fes and are an excellent spot for watching the sunset.
  3. Jardin Jnan Sbil: Escape the hustle and bustle of the medina and relax in this serene garden. It is the oldest garden in Fes, dating back to the 19th century, and offers a peaceful oasis with beautiful plants, fountains, and pathways.
  4. Chouara Tannery: Take a guided tour of this iconic tannery to witness the traditional leather-making process and experience the vibrant colors and smells. It's a unique and memorable experience.
  5. Nejjarine Museum of Wood Arts and Crafts: Explore the fascinating world of Moroccan woodworking at this museum, housed in a beautifully restored caravanserai. Admire the intricate woodwork and learn about the craftsmanship behind it.
  6. Borj Nord: Visit this fortress located at the northern end of the medina for panoramic views of the city. It also houses the Arms Museum, where you can learn about Moroccan military history.
  7. Moulay Idriss II Mausoleum: Pay a visit to the mausoleum of Moulay Idriss II, a revered Moroccan ruler and founder of Fes. The mausoleum is an important pilgrimage site and offers a glimpse into Moroccan religious traditions.
  8. Fes el-Jdid: Explore the "New Fes" district, which dates back to the 13th century. Visit the Royal Palace with its impressive golden doors and enjoy the lively atmosphere of the Jewish Quarter.
  9. Bab Bou Jeloud: Enter the medina through this iconic gate, known as the Blue Gate. It is one of the main entrances to the medina and serves as a symbol of Fes.

Fes is a city that captivates visitors with its unique blend of history, culture, and culinary delights. Whether you're exploring the bustling medina, savoring the flavors of Moroccan cuisine, or immersing yourself in the city's rich heritage, Fes will leave a lasting impression.