Fez is undoubtedly my favorite city in Morocco. With its gigantic and lively medina, colorful squares, delightful aromas, and smiling inhabitants, it’s a true treasure. This imperial city, with over 2 million residents, has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1980, showcasing its beauty, unique, and preserved history and culture. In my opinion, a trip to Morocco is incomplete without a stop at this destination. Fes: things to do in this beautiful city!
Fes: things to do?
1. The Medina
It is through the sublime gate of Bab Bou Jeloud that you will enter the medina. A true leap into an unparalleled, bustling, noisy, and incredibly intoxicating atmosphere. An interesting fact: the medina is the largest pedestrian zone in the world. It is also a real maze for tourists, where there is no need to fear getting lost. It was founded in the year 789 AD, during the reign of Sultan Moulay Idriss I, and experienced particular prosperity under the Merinid dynasty when Fez was the capital of the kingdom.
2. The tanneries
Visiting a tannery is undoubtedly an essential experience if you visit Fez. This is where animal hides are processed to transform them into leather.
With a mint leaf under your nose to alleviate the odors, you can admire the spectacle from a terrace. Tanks of a light gray color, workers balancing, and here, hides of cow, goat, dromedary, and sheep are left for three days in a mixture of pigeon excrement and ammonia.
Tubs filled with natural dyes, red for poppy, yellow for saffron, green for mint, blue for indigo, and brown for henna, await the deposit of previously cleaned hides to acquire the desired colors. They are then dried in the sun.
The Chouara tannery is the oldest and largest in Fez, where only 4 traditional tanneries remain.
3. The market
If you appreciate authentic places, there is much to see in Fez. The market is definitely one of the city’s attractions. Nothing seems to have changed for centuries. Here, vegetables, fish, and meats are displayed on the counters, creating an intriguing mix of smells. A must-visit to feel the pulse of local life!
4. The medersa Bou-inania
The Bou-Inania Madrasa is an Islamic religious school. It is the only one in the city with a minaret. Here, everything is art: from the mosaics to the engravings. A special mention goes to the men’s mosque, which is magnificent: the red and orange colors contrast with the cold beige covering the walls. Some stained-glass windows add a magical touch. There are other Madrasas to visit, such as the Attarine Madrasa and the Seffarine Madrasa.
5. The R’cif square
If you visit Fez, you will inevitably pass through Plaza R’Cif at some point, the perfect place to observe the residents living in this space of convergence and exchange. Hurried workers, men smoking, children playing football; sitting and watching the passersby is the best thing to do in this charming square.
6. The Seffarine square
If you visit Fez, Morocco, you will have a great chance to enjoy local art. In Seffarine Square, artisans work with copper to create teapots and trays, while coppersmiths craft pots, and buckets, among other things. It is a true spectacle for both the eyes and the ears.
7. The Karaouiyne mosque
A monument you must not miss under any circumstances, despite the crowds of tourists who visit it, is the Karaouiyne Mosque. The oldest university in the Arab world was founded in 859. Entry is prohibited for non-Muslims, but you can still explore its exteriors.
8. The Jnan Sbil garden
Jnan Sbil Garden is a botanical park where the residents of Fez gather, a true oasis of greenery.
Built in the 18th century, it was completely renovated and reopened in 2011. Across its nearly 7 hectares, around 3000 plant species flourish.
It’s a perfect place to sit, enjoy the sun, and observe the locals.
9. The heights
The medina is gigantic, and to better appreciate its size, nothing is better than gaining some height. The multitude of buildings unfolds before our eyes, the numerous minarets rise to dominate the city. It’s impossible to ignore the grandeur of Fez, its beauty from above.