What to see in Fez Morocco ?
The old town of Fez, listed as world heritage by the Unesco, is considered as the most beautiful medina in Morocco. Its visit requires
time, particularly if you want to see more than the touristic places and feel the true atmosphere of this unique medina.
Hiring a local guide who will introduce you to the complexity, the richness and the character of this wonderful medina can be a excellent solution for a first visit. Then, to know the medina better, you have to come back, take your time, open your eyes, seat down at a small café, wander through its narrow streets, talk to people... Friday is a quiet day in the medina, most shops close, especially around noon, time of the main prayer of the week when most Moroccan go to mosque.
Getting to know the medina is a long story ! Do not rush... in the western world you have high speed trains, but in Africa we still have time !
Be kind to people without being naive, be respectful and show interest to people and to the local culture and traditions. Try to learn a few words of Darija (Moroccan arabic).
18th century caravanserai now converted into a very interesting museum of wood arts and crafts. Beautiful view from the terrace. tel: 0535 74 05 80 - closed on tue. - open: 10am to 5pm - 20dhs
The largest and most beautiful monument from the Merinides period (14th century) in Fez. Closed on fri. - open: 10am to 5pm - 10dhs
Former royal palace from the 19th century, now home of the morocan arts museum. Nice garden. Closed on tuesdays - open: 8.30 to 12am & 2.30 to 6 pm - entrance fees : 10dhs
A small jewel of the Merinide art. Extremely reffined zelliges and carved wood.
Closed on fri. morning
open: 10am to 1pm and 2.30 to 6 pm - 10dhs
It is the beating heart of the medina (closed to non-muslims), it has long been the largest in North Africa with a capacity of
20000 persons. Home of one of the most famous coranic university in the arab world sheltering an exceptional library wit a unique collection
The minaret dates from the 10th century.
An imposing 16th Century fort overlooking the medina turned into a modern museum presenting a unique collection of ancient
weapons from the prehistory to the first half of the 20th Century.
closed on mondays
open: winter 8.30am to 5pm & summer 8.30am to 6.30pm - 10dhs
A charming little square shaded by a plane tree where stallkeepers propose traditional cosmetics (henna, kohl...), potteries and products for traditional medecine.
The dyer's souk
A colourful souk but also one of the major source of pollution of the little river which flows behind !
The Chouara tanneries
The colourful Chouara tanneries, the biggest in the medina, must be visited preferably in the morning when it is more active. Most leather shops located in the street by the tanneris offer terraces overlooking the vats where tanners work. It is a fascinating place which attracts many tourists and tourist hunters !
The potters' quarter
Due to the dense clouds of black smoke generated by the oven which are heated with dry olive oilcake the potters' quarter has been moved out of the medina to Aïn Nokbi on the Taza road. Although it is a modern complex it is interesting to visit to see apprentices and workmen moulding and decorating pottery as well as carving and assembling mosaics (zelliges).
Jdid means new. Fez Jdid was the first new town developped by the Merinids from the 13th century ! The quarter also includes the Mellah, former jewish quarter, with its cemetery and the Royal Palace which is not open to the public but whose impressive main gate can be admired on the Southern side (Place des Alaouites).
Self guided thematic circuits to discover the quarters, souks and monuments of Fez
Six thematic itineraries, each with a different color, have been signposted through the medina, allowing you to visit the medina at your own pace and according to your centres of interest. You just have to follow the signs of one color depending on the chosen theme. See example on the left: the white arrow up shows the direction to follow (straight) to discover the "Andalusian gardens and palaces of Fez", an itinerary marked with green signs.
The thematic circuits :
An interesting guide providing information on what can be seen on each itinerary is sold in most riads or hotels at a cost of 100 dhs.