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Why Visit Fes, Morocco

Often referred to as the "Mecca of the West" and the "Athens of Africa", Fes is the former Moroccan capital. It is renown worldwide for its stunning ancient medinas, the most famous of which is the Fes el Bali, a UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site which should definitely become part of your Morocco vacation itinerary.

Fes was founded in 789 by the Idrisid dynasty on the banks of Jawhar River. The city boasts the best-preserved old town in the Arab world, as it has managed to safeguard numerous gems from different time periods of its formation.

Some of the main highlights of Fes that can be mentioned is the University of al-Karaouine, the oldest continually-operating university in the world. It is a leading Muslim spiritual and educational center dating back to 859.

The 14th-century Bou Inania madersa is another religious college and a great example of traditional Islamic architecture to check out during your Fes sightseeing. Up in the hills of the town are the Borj Nord and Borj Sud fortresses, overlooking the old town.

The medieval narrow maze-like streets of the medinas preserve other treasures as well. As such, are the four gates of Fes, recognized by their exquisite traditional Moroccan tile work. Decorated with various shades of blue, the Bab Bou Jeloud gates are a true marvel worth stopping by during your Fes tour.

Another unique place not to miss is the local Chouara and Sidi Moussa. These tanneries, dating back to the middle ages, boast hundreds of colorful traditional leather-dying pits and are a unique centuries-old feature of Fes.

The city has one of the largest car-free urban pedestrian zones on the planet. The petite streets are swarming with markets and vendors offering numerous handicrafts, created by centuries-old traditions. Colorful shawls, aromatic spices, musical instruments, exotic dishes - all in the curvy streets of the ancient walled Fes Medina. Traverse the ancient cobblestone paths to get the feeling of traveling back in time.

Best Things to Do in Fes, Morocco

  • Explore the ancient perfectly-preserved old town of Fes Medina, the Fes el Bali
  • Stop by the University of al-Karaouine
  • Delight in traditional Moroccan tilework at one of the four gates of Fes, especially the Bab Bou Jeloud
  • Experience the unusual leather tanneries of Fes
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