Once the capital of Morocco, with over 1 million people Fez is still an important city in the country and is one of the largest places in the world to have a no car zone in the form of its two medinas.
The older of the two, Fes el Bali is UNESCO heritage listed and an actual MAZE.
One of the entrances to the medina
You won’t have to look too far to see tourists scanning their Lonely Planet guides to see if they can figure out where on earth they’ve ended up.
Tannery bound no doubt
My group did a guided tour through the medina which saw us go past everything from jewellery, clothing, sheep’s heads and meats of every kind to the all important leather goods.
The smell is understandably pungent but with some mint under your nose very bearable and going up into a leather store and having a view of a tannery such as this really is something to behold since this tradition has existed for centuries.
Men walk along treating the animal skins and dying them to a range of colours.
The end result
Next our guide stopped us at some wooden doors, wondering what lay behind them in the middle of the medina was to my surprise, a university.
The University of al-Qarawiyyin is considered one of (if not THE) oldest tertiary institution in the world and it has been continuously running since its creation by a woman called Fatima al-Fihri in 859!
We had lunch at Le Patio Bleu and it was fantastic! While the tagine was nice the best part was in fact the appetisers – the eggplant especially was perfect.
The restaurant is situated in a stunning building, with many levels to it and each table is decorated with beautiful seats. Dining here is a cool experience!
Continuing on – the urge to shop in the medina is strong with beautiful scarves, garments and leather goods at every turn but my favourite was the pottery.
Making a scarf
Our guide took us into a factory of sorts for pottery and we got to see the process from start to finish.
This guy was making a mosaic table and he does it completely face down – such skill!
Sadly I couldn’t fit all of these amazing plates in my bag otherwise I would’ve surely wanted to get a few for home.
Another highlight of our tour was walking past the doors of the Royal Palace.
As we stopped to hear more about the Royal family which still rules today, the luxury of this entrance is worth getting up close to scrutinise.
I loved the mosaic patterns used on the walls nearby too.
To cap off our busy day in Fez we bought some traditional gear for an included dinner which was full of tourists and average food but set in a beautiful building.
The live music did make up for the lacklustre cuisine though and it was my first time trying pastilla which was an interesting mix of meat filled pastry with iced sugar and cinnamon on top!
I had a great time in Fez and think it is a city not to be missed while in Morocco!