Visits, monuments and places to see in Fez - Morocco

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).

Old town main museums and monuments

The Nejjarine Museum

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 Bou Inania Medersa

The largest and most beautiful monument from the Merinides period (14th century) in Fez.
Closed on fri. - open: 10am to 5pm - 20dhs

Dar Batha Museum

Now closed for restoration
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 : 20dhs

The Attarine Medersa

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 - 20dhs

The Karaouine Mosque

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 of corans.
The minaret dates from the 10th century.

The Museum of Weapons - Borj North

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 - 20dhs

Here are some quarters and souks not to miss (but there is much more!) :

Henna Souk

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

Chouara tannery

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 were 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). Many riads propose a private taxi 2h tour around the walls of the medina including the main gate of the Royal Place, a stop at the two forts overlooking the medina and a visit to the potter's quarter.

Fez Jdid

Jdid means new. Fez Jdid was the first new town developped by the Merinides from the 13th century ! The quarter includes 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), and the Mellah, former jewish quarter, with its impressive cemetery and its two synagogues.

Self guided thematic circuits to discover the quarters, souks and monuments of Fez

example of sign for the thematic circuits

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 above: the white arrow up shows the direction to follow (turn left at the next street) to discover the "Andalusian gardens and palaces of Fez", an itinerary marked with green signs.

map of the thematic circuits

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. Attention : the Monuments and souk circuit (brown) is still indicated in dark blue (its previous color) in the guide. The color has been changed because there was a risk of confusion with the lighter blue circuit of the Andalusian Quarter.