What Is Fez Famous For
Dar Batha Museum dates back to the end of the 19th century. The palace was built by Hassan I of Morocco. Museum has a nice garden and exquisite collections of traditional local art works in addition to crafts and antiques. Some concerts of the Festival of World Sacred Music in Fez are held in it.
Nejjarine Museum of Wooden Crafts and Arts is placed in the building restored in 18th century with the whole Nejjarine square, was designed initially to be funduq, Inn for the merchants coming to Fez, which was developing into commercial centre at that time. So the ground-floor was some kind of the market and camels stayed there too, while merchants were accommodated above it. Now it houses museum exhibits.
Belfhazi Museum is a big riad, built in traditional style and turned into museum, where exhibits are demonstrated at present. Do not skip a chance to look at crafts there. The collection of art works is great though not that big than in the cities of Rabat and Sale.
Borj Nord Arms Museum with the rare weapon items is placed in the fortress of the 16th century. The collection of arms will attract attention of any person even if one is not a fan of the subject. You will like the atmosphere there, as well as architecture and picturesque view upon the city from its roof.
Bab Boujloud is a massive gate with blue and green tiles (zellij). This is the main entrance to the old city (Medina), which replaced the original gate in 1913 in Protectorate period. New gate was constructed with bolt from the outside to close the city at night. The original gate still exists and you can see it beside the gate. The entrance was constructed in such a way not to let rams get inside. Its arched form was needed to be protected from intruders using these rams.
Fortification Walls of Fez, erected in the 11th and in the 13th century are interesting from historical point of view. Get to Bab al Fatouh from Palas Jamai along the walls enjoying the view.
Bou Inania Medersa, educational institution of the 14th century, which is under the renovation at the moment, nevertheless it is possible to see the beauty of the minaret, as well as entrances located on Talaa Kibeera and Talaa Sghira. The walls are decorated with medluk – Moroccan traditional plaster.
Water Clock, a constituent of Bou Inania, is nice to visit after it was renovated. There were initially 12 bowls of bronze, but just 6 of them remained until present time.
Cherableeyeen Mosque was constructed in the 14th century. It is located on Talaa Kibeera. With a stunning minaret the mosque is one of the most spectacular sights in Fez. Look at the way the wood is carved over the entrance to the washroom of the mosque opposite the chief entrance. Fez mosque used to be a heart of the complex, which had a bakery, school for kids, where Koran was studied, called msid, toilet, and public bath, called hammam.
Souk al Henna is a place where people buy pottery and henna. It was an asylum when it was built in the 13th century. It is renovated at the moment.
Moulay Idriss Zaouia is a mosque with a shrine where Fez founder’s son was buried and only Moslems can enter it, but even its outer beauty is great. It is surrounded by souk. The beams of wood you will see there did not let Christians, Jews and donkeys in. As it was a holy place, the police couldn’t enter and arrest the criminals.
Attarine Medersa or Medersael-Attarine is the nicest medrese of Fez in the opinion of many people. It has beautiful decoration of Moroccan mosaic tile (zellij). It is not as big as Bou Inania building. Entrance to the prayer room deserves special attention. Its panels are fantastic.
Having been built in the 9th century, Kairaouine Mosque and University is known for being one of the oldest Universities in the world. Constructed for Tunisian refugees, it is one of the biggest in Morocco now. It is better to have a look at the pavilions from the main entrance. The pavilions are constructed in the way like the similar ones in the Alhambria in the Court of Lions. Go further to see the incredible bronze doors of the 12 century.
Medersa Mesbahia is a medersa which requires renovation and does not function for this reason. As you enter the central entrance with stunning carved wood, you can see Kairaouine. As wood is old there, the beams were painted white in an urgent way when Hilary Clinton was going to come to Fez. But the visit was cancelled as the weather was bad.
Funduq Tetouanien created on the 14th century also has many samples of the best wooden craft works in the old city. It leads to the mosque in direction of Seffarine. Pay attention to the carved central door and wooden ceiling. These are best samples of woodwork in the old city of Fez.
Karaouine Library is considered to be the main entrance located on the Seffarine Square, and it is under restoration at the moment.
Seffarine Square is a beautiful place right beside the mosque. There brass and copper items are produced. You can go to Seffarine Medersa from it, which was the first one constructed in Fez in the year of 1280. You will be surprised, but it still continues to work and has the same function as many centuries ago.
Cherratin Medersa belongs to the biggest medersas in Fez. It is located not far from the Karaouine and Seffarine.
Zaouiya of Sidi Ahmed al-Tijani, a burial place of Sufi shaykh and a Moslem mosque, was constructed in the 18th century.
Tannerines is a place of special interest to tourists. The leather is tanned there at first and then colored. This process has been continuing for centuries. Do you want to feel the smell of it and learn the way it happens? The street going from Seffarine can take you there.
Bab al Guissa is Almohad gate built in the 12th century, which is amazing in its beauty. It is situated beside Palais Jamais Hotel.
Andalous Mosque is an important mosque of medina. Constructed in the 9th century, it is the main one in Andalous quarter of the old city. Look at the striking chief entrance of the mosque. It will surely leave its mark in your memory.
Sehrij Medersa is a great medersa beside the Andalous Mosque, constructed in the 14th century. Students still continue to stay there, but it is possible to have a look at the chief courtyard.
Glaoui Palace belonged to Glaoui family, which were in power in Morocco. It is a gorgeous palace. The public is not admitted there, but there is a man at it – Abdou, who is responsible for keeping it. He will be glad to show the place. Three generations of his family lived in Dar Glaoui. There are two ways to meet him: just to knock at the door or appoint the meeting in advance. His phone number is 067 36 68 28. People make donations to him when they come to the place. This is a good support which helps to take care about the palace.
Palace Mnebbl is a beautiful palace built in 19 the century on Talaa Sghira. You can find it near the Bank Populaire. It was a residence of a minister of finance and defense. In Protectorate period General Lyautey lived there. Now it houses a restaurant and a carpet shop too. Look at its wonderful decoration. Moroccan tilework and plaster make it worth visiting. You will certainly also like cushions with nice embroidery.
Dar Adiyel, a house of the 17th century, was renovated by the government of Italy not long ago. The governor of Fez lived there before, later it placed the first bank of the city. A museum of Moroccan crafts came to its place, which was replaced by conservatoire of Andalousia music, but later all fell into decay. After restoration it became the conservatoire again. It is located on Wad Rashasha near Dar Sherifaat. You can visit the place and knock at the door to see the interior. This is possible to do when there are no lessons. Some contribution will be gladly accepted by the guardian.
Royal Palace is the entrance, which was renovated not long ago. It is situated on the way from Ville Nouvelle to the Mellah. Bab al Makina was initially the entrance and Fez Music Festival held concerts there.
The Mellah is the Jewish Quarter of Fez, where Jews lived under sultan’s protection. Its most important street is interesting to visit because the balconies there are decorated with tilework in Art Deco style. But Mellah belongs to poor district at present and Jews moved to the Ville Novelle.
Ibn Danan Synanogue, built in the 17th century, has been renovated lately.
Merenid Tombs are of no special interest to the tourists, but the place is good because here you can have a wonderful view of the city. It is better not to come to the place without company as this is a desolate place.
Fez Hammams are public baths, which are traditional for the place. This is an essential part of usual life in Fez. People visit hammams every week. It does not matter whether there is a shower in your place or not, all the same people go to hammams as they believe that only this way you can become clean. The Mernissi Hammam can be considered to be the cleanest public baths in Bab Boujeloud. As you do not know the customs of the place, it is better to go there with some local who will explain the way you should behave.
Cafes: this is great to observe usual life in Morocco and see how people communicate with each other. The best ones are opposite the Hotel Batha, La Noria near Bou Jeloud gardens, café beside Kantrit Bouros pharmacy and on Tanga Sghira, where the bank Populaire is located.
Festival of Sacred Music in Fez is one of the most important cultural events of the city, during which you can hear excellent music from different parts of the world.
Lessons of standard Arabic or the Moroccan language: One can study the chosen language from 3 to 6 weeks. In case you wish private lessons, Fez Arabic Language Institute is always ready to help you.
TRIPS FROM FEZ
Azrou is a picturesque Berber town in the mountains. It is situated 17 km away from Ifrane. It is great to look at the road from Afrain to Azrou to enjoy the view. There is a good choice of carpets at this place. Good cuisine lovers can enjoy nice restaurants in the town. Cedars grow in woods near Azrou. It is a habitat of Barbary apes too.
Dayet Aoua is a nice place where you can have a bite between Immouzer and Ifrane. There is a mountain lake there. There are periods, when Chalet du Lac functions only on Saturday and Sunday, therefore call in advance to be sure: 055 063 197.
Immozer is also a pleasant place to stop for lunch when you go to Ifrane or Azrou.
Sefrou is a small market town, where Berbers live. It is located 30 km away from Fez. The town has a nice centre and a Jewish quarter.
Moulay Yacoub is located 20 km from Fez and is famous for thermal spring near the town. Thanks to Moulay Yacoub Spring chic spa appeared which attract tourist from all over the world.
Volubilis used to be a Roman town in ancient times, but in spite of being built in the 2-3rd centuries AD, it was reserved well. One can see excellent samples of mosaic at this place.
Meknes is a must-be during the trip around Morocco as it was its capital in the 17th century. There are a lot of interesting sights there for this reason. And medina there is nice.
Taza is a city in the northern part of Morocco. If you happen to be there, visit the Gouffre du Friouato, one of the biggest in Morocco and the deepest in northern part of Africa.