Fez: Where Moroccan Tradition Flourishe

Fez, a city in Morocco, is renowned for its walled old town, often likened to Jerusalem. Visitors can explore its historical richness today. Established around the 8th century, it was Morocco’s inaugural imperial city, boasting considerable antiquity. Additionally, it played a pivotal role in establishing Islamic worship in the country and hosts one of its oldest universities. Understanding its significance is paramount. These distinctions render Fes, as it’s commonly called, a captivating city with a vibrant and indispensable cultural heritage. Indeed, it is celebrated as Morocco’s cultural and spiritual nucleus, as well as a prominent hub of art and science.


Fez places in morocco

Fez is one of the most exciting and beautiful places in the country. Still, Casablanca, Marrakech, and Rabat are some of the country’s bigger cities. It doesn’t matter that Fes has been able to adapt to modern life because it still has its traditions and an authentic Moroccan way of life that is all over its streets.

We can walk through the city’s narrow streets and get lost in the fantastic architecture part of everyday life. It has adobe and brick walls, patios of different heights, pillars with tiles, etc.

Although we could label the medina as the ‘human wonder’ of Fez, it is not the only one. Although we could call medina Fez’s “human wonder,” it is not the only one. The blue color is attractive, and the cobalt color is a symbol of Moroccan pottery, where some of the country’s most beautiful pieces of porcelain are produced or made. Its streets are also characterized by the nature of a maze, which increases beauty and mystery.

Fez, in Morocco, is the union of three cities that lie on the banks of the Fez and Zitu rivers.

Fez el Bali

Fez el Bali

Moorish city from the 9th century is an excellent medina of more than 9,000 alleys. It has the luxury of being the best preserved in the Arab world and, why not, the largest living monument in all of Morocco. The extensive and labyrinthine medina of Fes el-Bali also stands out as the largest urban area in the world without car traffic. Donkeys, carriages, and motorcycles carry out the transport of goods. They are alleys where time seems to have been lost …

The Medina of Fez el Bali is a vast network of narrow streets that lose in all directions. Due to its complexity, it can be challenging to orient oneself, even for the most experienced in Morocco. For a visit to the medina of Fez, consider hiring an official guide to show you and explain all its secrets.

Fez el Jedid (Yedid)

Created in the 13th century by the Merinids, it quickly became the seat of royal power. This part of the city hides a dense urban fabric where the Jewish quarter (Mellah) and the Royal Palace are located, as lively souks and craft shops are. The highlight here is to visit the Royal Palace (only from the outside, as it is forbidden to enter), walk the alleys of the Jewish quarter, and see its synagogue and the Jewish cemetery. The Jewish quarter is worth visiting because it has an architectural style different from the rest of the city.

La Ville Nouvelle

The new city, or Ville Nouvelle de Fez, was founded by the French in 1920. This part of the city maintains a European architectural style, being the opposite pole of the medina. It houses administrative services as well as westernized hotels. The Bank of Morocco and Florence square are also located here. The wide avenues are lined with trendy shops, and the traffic is hectic and chaotic. Of the attractions to visit in Fez, there are practically none. But if you are interested in staying in westernized hotels, this is the place to do it. Being the new part of the city, we can walk to its bars, cafes, and modern-style terraces and take advantage of a good mint tea.

What to see in Fez

As we have said before, the Medina of Fez el-Bali (or old Fez)

It is one of the world’s largest medieval sites, a magical place full of life. Among the monuments to see in Fez, the Karaouin and y de Los Andaluces mosques occupy a very prominent position, built, according to legend, by two heiresses of a Kairuani exiled in the 9th century. The gates and walls surrounding them enhance their magnificence a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Unlike many fortified towns of its time, Fez has not changed its boundaries. There are now more people living there. They have moved to the southwest and the slopes, forming an arc extending from north to south of the new area; the best way is to hire a guide to show you around. How much is it to hire a guide for the whole day?

Chahrij Bouinania

Chahrij Bouinania

Other interesting constructions in Fez are the many madrasas (Koranic schools), such as Chahrij Bouinania. It’s a wall clock with a chime from 1357; it was built in 1300. It had beautiful examples of Meriní plasterwork and wood from three dynasties between the 13th and 17th centuries. It is also full of examples of Meriní handicrafts and offers fantastic views of the old city from its rooftop.

Karaouine Mosque

Karaouine Mosque

In terms of size, the Karaouine Mosque is the second-largest mosque in Morocco, after the new Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca. The Karaouine Mosque is possibly the most sacred place in Fez and Morocco. It is a pity that non-Muslims cannot admire the beauty of the interior, but that is how the Islamic religion regulates it precisely because of its sacred character. In 956, the minaret of this mosque in Fez was built. It is the oldest Islamic structure in the city of Fez. The Kairaouine also handles the calendar of all Islamic festivals in the country. It is hidden deep in the heart of the medina, it is vast, but you can hardly get a good overview of its size as it is nestled among hundreds of shops and houses. Some 20,000 people can pray here daily, but as we have said before, You won’t be able to get in unless you are a Muslim. It also has one of the oldest and most essential libraries globally.


It’s worth going to three old and exciting museums in Fez to escape the hustle and bustle of the streets and old parts of the city.

. The Museum of Nejarine Arts and Wood Crafts, the Museum of Moroccan Art (Batha), and the Museum of Weapons are three museums in Batha (Bordj Nord).

We also highlight Henna Souq, a market specializing in hair dyes. These are beautiful henna tattoos made on women’s arms and legs.

Fez el-Jdid is next to the old walled city., the headquarters of the Jewish community, made up of spectacular buildings. Among them is located the Museum above Batha.

The Merenides Tombs

Merenides Tombs

 They are outside the walls of old Fez and can be seen from most rooftops and rooftops in the city. The tombs are close to Hotel Merin. They have great views of the medina and the city and the hills full of olive trees surrounding the town. Good places to take pictures can be dangerous to opportunists.

The Mausoleum of Moulay Idriss mosque

 Houses in the city’s heart are the tomb of the founder of Fes, its Patron Saint. It is a holy place generated by the city’s inhabitants and pilgrims from different regions. The building restores by the Alawite Sultan Moulay Ismail, who adorned it with a beautiful pyramidal dome. The entrance is only allowed to Muslims, but it is worth looking from the door. The mosque is next to the Kbira Talaa near the Souk Attarine.

The Mellah (Jewish Quarter)

When the first official mellah was set up in 1438, it was in Fez. On that day, the Jews moved. from Fes to Hims, built in a place known as al-Mallah, ‘El salinar.’ Over time, the term was used to designate the Jewish neighborhoods of other cities in Morocco. The Mellah neighborhood, or Jewish quarter, is the oldest structured neighborhood. On our tour of the mellah, we can visit the IBN Dayan Synagogue(17th century), which was recently restored, and the Jewish cemetery with its white tombs, barrels of vineyards, and beautiful panoramic views of the city. In the Mellah, you can appreciate the architectural originality of this neighborhood, with its characteristic narrow streets, balconies, and openings to the outside decorated with wooden elements. It is highly recommended to have a guide to tell us about the area’s rich history.

Royal Palace

Royal Palace

This list of what to visit in Fez differs from the Royal Palace; it can only be seen outside. But it is worth the trip here. It is located in the Plaza des Alaouites and stands out for its majestic golden doors. This construction comprises a Meraní madrasa, gardens, and parade ground.

Jnan Sbil Garden 

park jnan sbil

Suppose you have some time to walk and relax. In that case, we recommend visiting this beautiful garden, famous in Fez for its variety of species and hydraulic infrastructure.

How to get to Fez

The best way to get to Fez in Morocco is by rail from Rabat, Marrakech, or Tangier. From Tangier, there are two main routes: by the A1 toll motorway to near Rabat (200 km) + A2 motorway to Fez (another 200 km, in total 400 km, 4 hours), or by the A1 motorway to Larache (80 km) + road N1 to Ksar el Kebir and Souk-el-Arba-du-Rharb (70 km) + N413 to Sidi Kacem (60 km) + N4 to Fez (110 km, in total: 330 km, 5 hours).

Surroundings of Fez

In the surroundings of Fez, you will find:

·  Sefrou: Cherry Festival in June; Moussem in August

·  Ifrane: winter sports, mountaineering

·  Immouzer: Amazighhoney festival, in May

·  Azrou: the most beautiful cedar forest in Morocco

·  Taza: first Almohad capital and pole of attraction for caving

Fez Sacred Music Festival

There is a Festival of Sacred World Music festival in Fez el Bali in the early summer. Try to make it there in late May or early June. Artists from all over the world come together to perform at this event, which brings together international stars and local performers worldwide. You can expect to hear Sufi chants, Amazighritual music, the Dervishes of Konya, and Japanese drums daily. You can also expect to hear Russian Orthodox choirs and Tibetan monks. Performances happen in a lot of different places outside.

Besides musical performances, the festival has a lot more to offer. We want you to look at the art shows, film screenings, and poetry readings. In the cafes in the area, you can go to literary talks.

In 1994, the first time the festival was held, it was mostly about Jewish, Christian, and Muslim traditions. Over time, the event grew to include other religions and eventually a talent pool from worldwide. Even though the event has grown, If you’re willing to be spiritually moved by what’s happening, you can find a lot of value in what’s happening.

What to do in Fez

One of the fun things you can do while in Fez is walking around the medina (old city). In the medina, finding your way around takes time. It makes it easier to get lost in all the noise, smells, and sights and find your way out when you’ve had enough.

The narrow streets of the medina can be bustling. Make sure you get a chance to get away from the noise and see the medina from another angle., such as from atop one of its rooftops: some shops and restaurants have rooftop terraces. The views are spectacular at night and sunset.

· The Amazigh pharmacy, located in the medina, has hundreds of jars and twisted roots all over the wall.

tannery in Fez

· The tannery of the medina has maintained the characteristics and manufacturing techniques since the Middle Ages. The men walk through narrow corridors between the enormous vats of bleach and colored dyes. The buildings in front of the tannery are covered with skins hung up to be dried. Visiting before the sun heats up is advisable since the smell can become uncomfortable.

· At the Arabic Language Institute of Fez (+212 35 62 48 50, fax 212 35 93 16 08, < info@alif-fes.com >), they offer quality three and 6-week courses in cultured Arabic and Moroccan colloquial language. The Institute can also organize accommodation with a Moroccan family for students.

· The Sofitel Palais Jamai has a terrace with an incredible view over the medina. Of course: you have to pay 30 DH to have tea and be able to access these views. It is an excellent option to schedule the visit to this terrace to coincide with the call to prayer; it can be heard from the balcony if there are a lot of minarets.

· What to do in Fez if you want to get to know the city on your own? Well, walk, as there are several well-marked trails around the city: green (Andalusian palaces and gardens), orange (walls and fortifications) … To avoid complications and avoid narrow streets and dead ends.

Safety in Fez

Fez, in general, is a safe city, but it has a lot of bustles. Take the usual precautions for the wallet, the purse … etc., if you hear “Belek! Belek! “Behind you, stay clear because a donkey with heavy loads passes nearby and may run over you. Appear to know where you are going at all times, even when you are unsure, to avoid many false guides.

The best technique is to ignore them. If you need any indication, ask any business owner for it. False guides are not allowed by the government and can be imprisoned for up to 2 days. Police officers are often dressed in plain clothes.

Crafts in Fez

Crafts in Fez

In Morocco, we could say that Fez is the capital of crafts. It is a city that can pride itself on having a great and attractive artistic experience in the various trades that work in ceramics, wood, or leather. It is where businesses have become art, and the medina is an artisan’s paradise. Due to its many souks, it is one of its old neighborhoods.

One of the Fez crafts’ fundamental elements is wood extracted from Morocco’s trees. An excellent place to look at Fes woodwork is the Wood Arts and Crafts Museum, located in the Nejjarine foundouk. The artisans of this beautiful neighborhood make various movable objects inspired by multiple palaces.

Where to buy

As we mentioned, many people consider Fez the capital of Moroccan crafts. And before or during the purchase, it is possible to see all the manufacturing processes in the different souks, guilds, and cooperatives. You will find good leather, copper, and brass items. However, you will also find reasonable prices on drums and other musical instruments. Glazed ceramics, the best in the country, and mosaic tiles are famous in Fez and Morocco.

Pricing examples

·  Leather bag: from 200 – 400 days, depending on the quality

·  Drums: between 30 – 150 days, depending on size and quality

·  Tagine plate: 10 – 20 for a plate the same size as the tagine, plus an additional plus if it has varnished or decorated

Suppose you are interested in cobalt blue ceramic. In that case, it is possible to go to the ceramic workshops where they make it. It is a pleasant experience to see how they shape the clay in a tagine in 45 seconds. From Bab el-Ftouh, a taxi will cost you five DH. Ask the driver to take you to the “Fez Pottery Workshops.”

· Avenida Mohammed V and Calle Fez Jdid: branded clothing stores and shops of another type

· Calle de Los Merinidas: located in the Jewish quarter (Mehllah), where goldsmith shops and markets abound

The Souks of Fez

The Souks of Fez

·  Attarin Souk: recommended for buying spices.

·  La Kisaria: with all kinds of local crafts.

·  Potters Souk: for the purchase of Moroccan ceramics.

·  Hene souk: all kinds of colorants: for hair, nails, etc.

·  La Juita: the market for salt, fish, and eggs.

· Tanners’ souk: tanned hides and skins.

·  Dyers souk: wool and cotton.

·  Souk of the alhería: carpenters and stores of wooden objects.

Where to eat in Fez

Keep in mind that we are also in the country’s gastronomic capital. You can taste typical delicious dishes of Moroccan cuisine in restaurants that occupy old medina palaces, some with traditional live shows. We can stand out:

· Dar Saada. Next to the Souk Atarin. They do not give dinners.

· Give Tajine. 15, Rue Ros-Rehi, Ras Djenane. Good lemon chicken tajines. Quality show.

· Dar Tijani. In an alley next to the medersa of that brotherhood. Traditional house.

· Give Firdaous. In Bab Gussa, next to the Hotel Palais Jamaï. Night tourist show.

· Palais de Fes. 16 Rue Boutouil-Karaouiyyïn.Terrace with views over the medina.

· Al-Ambra. On the outskirts, at 47 Route d Imouzzer. The favorite of the local bourgeoisie in a neo-traditional style. Only dinners.

· La Maison Bleue, Place de L’Istiqlal. Reservation essential. Fixed menu enlivened by musicians in a suggestive setting. Medium-high price.


· Snack Omar. Rue de la Poste (Batha area, on the post office corner), Hours from 10.00 to 2.00, simple decoration, clean, and great food decent. A good restaurant for dinner, even for groups of 15-20 people, or for an afternoon aperitif.

· Mezzanine 17, Chams Kasbat (in front of the Jnaj Sbil garden, less than 50 meters from the Boujeloud), Distributed on three floors, with an outdoor patio. The mezzanine offers a cozy room and a larger capacity area for dinners and parties.

· Le Kasbah. Near Bab Boujloud. Friendly service, a great variety of inexpensive Moroccan dishes (they have an excellent vegetarian tagine), and a couple of beautiful terraces overlooking the Puerta on one side and the medina on the other. It is a comfortable place with an excellent atmosphere to chat with other travelers and a good refuge from the bustle and busy streets of the medina.

· Fez Lounge. 95, Zkak Rouah-Tala Kbira, Below the Kbira Tala, in a small street on the right. With dark grey tadelakt walls and an atmosphere of an ultra-contemporary Arab dream. Fez Lounge is highly recommended for its Mediterranean-inspired tapas, such as Camembert bruschetta with walnuts and balsamic vinegar, or its fame as a hot chocolate brownie. Traditional Moroccan dishes like Bastille and tagines are also available. Owned by an Italian, you can feel his style in the design, the atmosphere, and the music.

· Cafe Medina. Near Bab Boujloud. Tasty and cozy bar-restaurant style; however, it can get too touristy. Food is ok.

· Ania restaurant. Near Bab Boujloud. Enjoy lunch on the terrace or a quiet dinner on the second floor. The service is amiable and willing to light the fire to make the skewers early in the day. Tagine, couscous, and other typical dishes are well made for approximately 40 DH. Negotiable prices.

· Cafe Clock. Near Bab Boujloud. Magnificently restored, it is a house in the old Fez medina converted into a Cafe. The staff is friendly (and speaks English), and the food is excellent. Ask to sit on the terrace and hear the call to prayer from the minarets of several surrounding mosques. Recommended for taking photos.

· Moroccan Restaurant Typique Jenno. 50 DH for salad and the first course. Delicious couscous. The owner speaks fluent English and has some exciting stories to tell. Address 1112 Read Zhoun, Fez Medina.

· Casa Nostra. You can try this Italian restaurant for pizza, one block from Hasan II and Mohamed V.


· Le Palais de Fes. Also known as Dar Tazi (R’cif Place). A restaurant on the roof of a carpet shop, Dar Tazi Fez, offers the best Bastille and other traditional Moroccan dishes. The stairs to access are steep and narrow; dinner costs around 350 DH per person, but the food and the views are worth it.

· Merinides Palace (Talaa Kbira). Round table with the basic menus of Moroccan specialties. Mediocre quality but has a fabulous setting.

· San Remo. It is right in front of the police station, its owners are Italian, and they offer different dishes from that kitchen.


· People live in the Dar Saada neighborhood. The restaurant is in the middle of the medina and is a Travel and Leisure magazine favorite. It is worth the money, too.

All of this information comes from L’Ambre. It’s in the middle of the medina and a nice place to eat. Moroccan food is served uniquely. The food is served in one of the three rooms, including a beautiful terrace.

What to do in Fez at night: nightlife

Almost all establishments consuming alcohol in Fez are concentrated in hotel bars. And in other places. Fez is a much more traditional city than Casablanca or Marrakesh. It is technically illegal to drink alcohol in public. Buying alcohol or sugar in the city will cause evil faces and looks.

Hotels in Fez: accommodation

Sleeping in Fes will not be a problem, whatever the bottom line of your pocket. So many people go there yearly that it has a wide range of hotels. As the years go by, that range grows bigger and bigger. It’s best to stay in the medina because most things to see and do are there. If we stay in the new city, we’ll need a taxi for everything.

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