Fes – where centuries of history and vibrant culture come alive

Fes, also written Fez, is the ancient city of Morocco, a beautiful destination in the North of Morocco. It has a population of about 1,3 Million in 2022. It is located between the hills of the Atlas Mountains. The city is divided into two main areas. There is the ancient walled city known as the medina. And the modern Ville Nouvelle (New Town) that surrounds it. The medina of Fes is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is often referred to as the “heart” of the city. It is a maze of narrow alleyways, bustling markets, and stunning architecture.

Old city Fez
Medina Fes
Colorful street in Medina Fez
Colorful street inside the medina

Arts & Crafts in Fes

Fes is known for its arts and crafts, which have been passed down through generations and contribute to the city’s rich cultural heritage. For example, Leatherwork: Fes is home to one of the oldest leather tanneries in the world. The Chouara Tannery (inside the Medina). The tannery is known for its traditional methods of leather production, using natural ingredients such as plant-based dyes and pigeon droppings to soften and dye the leather. So it produces a wide range of leather products, including bags, shoes, belts, and jackets. Visitors can witness the tanning process from special observation points and purchase high-quality leather goods in the nearby markets.

Tannery Fez
Chouara Tannery from above
Leather products Tannery Fez
Leather products

Al Attarine Medrasa

Inside the Medina of Fes is another attraction worth seeing. The Al Attarine Medrasa (Medrasa means School). Built in the 14th century, the Medersa Attarine is known for its intricate tile work, ornate plasterwork, and exquisite architectural details. The name “Attarine” refers to the nearby spice and perfume market. The Medersa Attarine is divided into small dormitory cells where students once resided during their studies. These cells are decorated with carved wooden elements, stucco plasterwork, and beautiful calligraphy inscriptions. The attention to detail and craftsmanship is truly remarkable, showcasing the artistic skills of Moroccan artisans of the time.

Al Attarine Medrasa Fez
Al Attarine Medrasa
Al Attarine Medrasa Fez
Detailed craftsmanship

Nejjarine Museum of Wood Art & Crafts

Also in the medina is the Nejjarine Museum of Wood Arts and Crafts. This museum showcases the artistry of Moroccan woodwork. Beautiful carvings, traditional furniture, musical instruments, and artifacts that highlight the rich heritage of wood craftsmanship in Fes.

Mudeum of Woods Arts and Crafts
Nejjarine Museum of Wood Art & Crafts
Ville Nouvelle

After seeing the highlights of the Medina, it is time for the Ville Nouvelle – the new city. It is a beautiful place to have a walk. The streets are lined with palm trees and many places to sit down along the way. Another highlight here are the roundabouts – each is special in its own way. The palm trees end at the shopping mall – Borj Fes. It offers shops, boutiques, and dining options.

While planning your visit, it’s important to consider the weather. Summers in Fes can be quite hot. In contrast, winters in Fes can be chilly, particularly inside the traditional houses. Therefore, it’s recommended to bring warm clothing to stay comfortable.

Ville Nouvelle Fez
Ville Nouvelle
Lake in Parc Ville Nouvelle Fez
Parc in the new city
In conclusion,

Fes – a unique mix of tradition and modernity. The narrow streets of the Medina or the spacious streets of Ville Nouvelle. Fes has something to offer for everyone’s taste.

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