Fez City Tour in 1 Day
Whoever is interested in Moroccan culture will appreciate the proximity to the imperial city of Fez. Founded in the 8th century, it is particularly remarkable for its medina, the ancient city classified as a World Heritage Site by Unesco, which is the largest and best preserved in the kingdom. Visiting Fez means discovering an exceptionally rich heritage, authentic craftsmanship (especially ceramics, marquetry and leatherwork) and a warm and festive atmosphere. The medina is largely pedestrianized and its souks invite you to stroll.
Fez is one of the capitals of Arab-Muslim civilization alongside Damascus, Cordoba, Baghdad and Cairo. Fez was a network center stretching from Mali and Senegal, to Algeria, Spain, Tunisia, France through Marseille … Several nicknames designate it from Mecca in the west or from Athens in Africa. So much honor to describe a city with many facets. The cultural, religious and culinary capitalof Morocco would also be a nostalgic city. Orientalist Roger le Tourneau describes the People of Fez as a complex mixture: “The Arab brought his nobility, the Andalusian his refinement, the Karouan his dexterity, the Jew his cunning, the Berber his tenacity”.
Historical capital of the kingdom, Fez is the oldest of the 4 imperial cities of Morocco. Its cultural and architectural heritage is considerable thanks to the preservation of these numerous monuments. Famous throughout the Muslim world, Fez has long shone intellectually and religiously. No wonder there are some of the finest museums in Morocco. Located in the Middle Atlas.
The big cities of Morocco have an extremely rich history, a past which knows how to seduce all generations but also a cosmopolitan life which attracts more and more tourists. Very often depicted as the cultural capital of Morocco, the city of Fez charms with its architectural, historical and intellectual heritage. It should be noted that in 1980 the city received approval and obtained the rank of UNESCO World Heritage, proving the vigor and dynamism of this city in preserving its history and identity.
To visit Fez is to take a leap into the past: walk the winding alleys of the medina, get lost in the souks, admire the finesse of the details of the Karaouiyne mosque, stroll along the city … So many discoveries that you will enjoy. will delight.
Fez is a very modern city. For lovers of sightseeing, cultural and historical discovery, to quench this thirst for learning, the city is full of curiosities, museums and monuments which are very well preserved.
The médina :
Discovering the medina is quite an adventure in itself because it is not revealed to people in a hurry. Il faut apprendre à apprécier ce lieu, à comprendre ses codes, à se laisser porter par les cris, les odeurs, la chaleur qui se dégagent de toutes les échoppes. You have to be prepared for the unexpected. The medina of Fez is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because it is, in fact, home to the oldest university in the Muslim world. The main sites of the medina to visit date from the 13th and 15th century and are the madrasah, the palace, the mosques and the fountains. The city of Fez is divided into 2 parts Fes Jdid and Fes El Bali (old Fez).
Fez el Jedid :
Is a city in its own right stuck to the north of Fez el Bali, the ancient city. It was built in the 13th century by the Merinid dynasty who wanted to give the city a new dimension. And what a dimension! The objective of the Merinids is to build a fortified administrative city comprising mosques, barracks, markets, dwellings and a royal palace to house the princes of the new dynasty. The Dar el Makhzen or royal palace alone spans nearly 80 hectares! A visit to Fez el Jedid is a must-see in Fez, as the walk only lasts 1 or 2 hours. A short comment is in order to convince you of the interest of the place. We advise you to take the immense Alaouites square as a starting point.
This is a category apart in the souks, leather tanners leave no one indifferent, especially because of the incredible smell that emanates from their workshop. For those who are not used to it, this smell can be pestilential. But when you leave the workshop, you will be offered a mint drink to (slightly) mask the smell. A difficult profession that must be discovered in order to understand.
Dar el Makhzen or The royal palace:
Literally spans an incredible area. It is the oldest palace in Morocco and surely the most important. Erected in the 14th century, it is called Dar El Makhzen. With its 80 hectares, it was built outside the old medina, it is now located near the Jewish quarter and the Mellah. Although visits are not allowed, you have to go there to discover its gigantic esplanade where you can discover large bronze doors that are framed with ceramic tiles. There are 7 doors like so many days in the week. It includes a mosque, a madrasah and a plaza, the huge gardens of Lalla Minna. However, we can admire the superb portal harmoniously combining the green of the tiles and the blue of the ceramics of Fez.
In the shadow of the palace is the old mellah (old Jewish quarter) probably founded in the 16th century. This neighborhood is sure to be one of the highlights of your visit. The main artery is the Grande rue des Mérinides. One of the nicest houses on the street is the House of the Chief Rabbi. You can also visit the superb Danan Synagogue. Built in the 17th century, this major place of prayer in the city is worth a detour, especially since admission is free. Continue on rue des Mérinides and cross the jewelers’ souk.
Bab Smarine Gate :
The real entrance to Fez el Jedid. Admire the various vaults of this immense door then enter the Grande Rue de Fès el Jedid. Bordered by lively souks, this street will lead you to the Jama el Hamra and Jama el Beïda mosques. At the end of the street stands the colossal Bab Dakene gate. We can extend to the old mechouar to admire this old weapon square.
The Karaouiyne mosque:
This university, the oldest in the Arab world, was founded in 859. Even though entry is forbidden to non-Muslims, it remains today a spiritual mecca. Discover its exteriors and the details that adorn its walls, its 270 columns and its 24 doors that surround an interior courtyard.
The mausoleum of Moulay Idriss II:
The mausoleum of Moulay Idriss II is the 2nd sacred site in all of Morocco. It is closed to non-Muslims. Moulay Idriss II was the founder of the city of Fez. It is a zaouïa located in the heart of the Fes el-Bali district, the oldest district of Fez. The mausoleum is dedicated to Emir Idris II and houses his tomb. It is considered, along with the Quaraouiyine mosque, to be the most famous and most visited monument in the city.
In this place are found many craftsmen who work with copper in order to make teapots, trays, ……… others, boilermakers are established to make pots, buckets and containers. A craft not to be missed.
The Nejjarine fountain:
Fez has a magnificent fountain called the Nejjarine fountain which is located near the carpenters’ souk and which dates from the 18th century. To see for the richness of its mosaics!