Fès: The imperial city of a thousand colours, scents and tastes!
Fès is the oldest Moroccan imperial city! It is situated 350 metres above sea level, at the foot of a very fertile valley. It is a holy city, considered the cultural capital of the country, and its Medina is a UNESCO-protected property.
It is also home to the culture and art of Muslim North Africa university.
The Medina of the Imperial City
At the entrance to Medina is situated the Bab Bou Jeloud gate, also called “the blue gate” because of the colour of its mosaic decorations, built in 1913. As soon as you enter you can see the two main streets: to the right Talaa Kebira, meaning “Big Slope,” and to the left Talaa Seghira, meaning “Small Slope.” It is always recommended to walk on the right side of the roads, as mopeds and donkeys loaded with goods, pass by on the other side.
Within this imperial city there is also the Medersa Bou Inania. Built in 1350, it is considered the finest Koranic school in Fez. Unlike the other Koranic schools in Morocco, there is a mosque inside. The minaret inside is decorated with green tiles that create a magical effect with the sunlight.
Exploring among the many Souks, you will find the most famous one: the Souk of the Chowara Tannery. Here it is possible to watch traditional leather processing, paying a small tip for the visit. The artisans can be observed from terraced leather shops. At the entrance you will be given a bunch of mint leaves to hold under the nose to hide the unbearable smell of the tannery.
Outside the Medina
Not far from the Blue Gate, you will see the Bou Jeloud Gardens, also called Jnan Sbil. These are the oldest public gardens in Fez; they were created in the 18th century and they are a green oasis within the city.
If you want to change the viewpoint, however, it is possible to see Medina from above. From the Tombs of the Merenids, that are not far away from the medina with a taxi, you are able to enjoy an exceptional view and it can prove to be very impressive to go to the tombs at sunset!
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