Today we journey to Fez, Morocco. The birth place of scholars, and artisans. Referred to as dark, dilapidated and dense, Fez is also known to others, as something that may mirror Jerusalem with its high walls, and majestic appearance. one of the world’s largest urban pedestrian cities, it has been known as the “mecca of the west”, and the “Athens of Africa”. It has two old medina quarters, the larger being Fes el Bali, and was the capital of Morocco until 1925. You can find many of the streets filled with dyeing pits, leathermaking and pottery being practiced in the narrow streets.
The city was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1981, and is a major tourist hub. It’s easy to lose your way in the city, as it is a massive maze of buildings. You have two options for accommodations, either the basic hotels in Fes el Bali and Fes el Djedid, or the hotels of Ville Nouvelle. Although the better hotels do offer amenities such as pools, reliable water supply, restaurants and pubs.
Sights to see
- You can’t avoid visiting the Chaouwara Tanneries, as the streets are lined with dyeing pits, and you can see the process at it’s finest. The bright colors, are like a rainbow that paints the street. The Tanneries are located at Derb Chaouwara, Blida.
- The Art Naji center is a great place to go to see ceramics being made. The prices for pottery run from Dh100 to Dh500, compared to the medina, because the products are extremely high quality.
- The Royal Palace is not open to the public, but the building can be appreciated for its craftsmanship from outside. The large brass doors, and carved cedar wood are something to see.
For more sights, check out Lonely Planet.
Places to eat
- With small round tables next to a blossoming mulberry tree, The Ruined Garden cafe/restaurant is a tiny piece of heaven in Morocco. With shade, birds singing nearby, and a vast menu of delicious meals to try, this is one of the many places you’ll want to visit. Located directly across from the Pharmacy at Sidi Ahmed Chowi. They also offer to have someone meet you at the batha, due to poor maps of medina.
- Fes Palais Sheherazade et Spa is a hotel/restaurant. It’s grandiose appearance, and luxurious decor make you feel as if you’re royalty. With various seating options available in the restaurant, none of them are a sore sight. With tables adjacent to a shimmering pool, and inside a little patio that boasts large glass windows with blue accented glass, your meal will surely be one to remember.
You have several options for getting around Fez. One being the “Grand taxis” that are big white mercedes. The other being “Petite taxis” which are the small red ones. You could also take the bus which is #16 and stops down the road at the roundabout. That’s only to get you from the airport in Fez. When you get to the city, you will be using your two legs to get you around, and it can get tricky if you tend to get lost easily, as it is a maze. But the trick, is to walk in any general direction, and you will eventually come to the edge of the medina, from where you will be able to find your way.
So when you book your next trip, make sure you consider Fez, as its history and sights are something you don’t want to miss. This is the next place on my bucket list.
Photo credits // Time travel turtle