fes or fez (arabic: فاس‎ [fās], french: fès) is the third largest city in morocco. fes, the former capital, is one of the country’s four “imperial cities,” the others being rabat, marrakech and meknes. fes el bali, which is the old part of town is a unesco world heritage site. its medina, the larger of the two medinas of fes, is believed to be the world’s largest contiguous car-free urban area. the university of al-karaouine, founded in a.d. 859, is the oldest continuously functioning university in the world (even if you can’t graduate from it with a useful and/or applicable degree, literally the lectures take place on the floor, sans boards, with a professor sitting on a high chair in front of a group of men). fes proved to be much more welcoming then marrakech, less tourists in general, less opportunity to haggle, the market is definitely smaller, although the medina is larger in size. the riad we are staying in is a traditional moroccan house, for the first night we had the entire place to ourselves, the owners are very welcoming (even though i have a stinky suspicion that they are working towards some sort of a tip in the end). our room is the cheapest and so not anything to brag about but some of the rooms in this place are extraordinary. the difference between the two cities may be contributed to 1. that, over the past couple of days we have become slowly accustomed to the madness that is morocco and/or 2. that we hired a guide to take us around the old medina and show us the leather tanneries. it was quite wonderful not to have to worry about the complexity of these mazes that cover the area nor the people that are constantly in your face about everything. we even run into a friend who shared a room with us in marrakech and got him to join the tour. we then ended the night by eating some couscous, tajine and mint tea under the cool 30+ night sky at a restaurant by the blue gate (bab boujloud), run by a very sweet man by the name of hamid. my next post shall be about the fabulous experience that was hamid’s des junes.

One Response

  1. Anonymous says:

    fez – the best own in Morocco! Make sure you check out the old medressa with the out-of-this-world tile work. love the posts! fu goy

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