Fez is the cultural and spiritual centre of Morocco. It was founded in 790 AD by Idris I and is the oldest of the three Imperial Cities. The main attraction in this ancient city is the larger medieval Medina, Fes el Bali, which has been continuously inhabited since the 10th century and still bustles with a bewildering throng of colourfully costumed locals: from olive-dealers and veiled women on their way to the baths, to industrious merchants and traditional, bell-ringing water-sellers. This medina is the most complete medieval city still in existence, the preservation of which began under French occupation. The more modern part of the city, like Marrakech, is known as Ville Nouvelle, and has a decidedly French influence.
Fez, Morocco © Zimaal
A guided tour is the easiest way to tackle the buzzing hive that is Fez. A visit to the souks will undoubtedly lead to a stopover at Fez's famous tanneries where one of the oldest arts in Morocco (and the world) is practiced, and where tourists can buy premium, soft leather products to take home as souvenirs.
The best vantage point over the ancient walled city, which lies at the eastern end of the plain of Saiss. From here visitors can view the skyline with its profusion of satellite dishes, and to pick out some of the magnificent palaces, green-roofed holy places and the Karaouine Mosque, all hemmed in by workshops and tenements, souks and squares. Fez is a wonderful destination for those looking to have a real, cultural experience during their holiday in Morocco.
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