Tuesday, December 16, 2014

++Morocco | Day 7 | FES

Around Fes.
- breakfast at our hotel (included)
- Fes old medina (Maze) - the largest labyrinth city in the world and listed as one of the UNESCo world heritage. Contains over 9000 streets & around 600k residents. it is 24kmsquare in size, and there are 5 areas inside it. each area must have a quranic school, a mosque, a hammam, a fountain water (water communal) & a bakery.
- tourguide 50 MAD (JES)
- madrasah sbaiyine
- Mosquee al anouar
- chouara tanneries (the oldest tanneries in world)
- lunch at fes old medina (near hotel). ate kefta tagine with mint tea (90 MAD)
- car 40 MAD
- artgille (famous ceramic maker)
- jardine jnane sbil
- allal's art gallery
- blue gate
- buy FOren 5 MAD
- merenid tombs - to see panoramic view of the medina
- palais omeyad
- new medina (car 20 MAD)
- borj fez (fes mall) (icecream 12 MAD)
- shop at carrefour 17 MAD (water n bread)
- dinner at mikdunald (15 MAD)
- buy water 6 MAD
- overnight at hotel bab al madina (Fes)

*total spending: 145MAD on f&b, 60MAD on transportation
Fes or Fez (Arabic: ????, Moroccan Arabic [f?s], Berber: ??? Fas) is the third largest city of Morocco.
Fes was the capital of Morocco until 1925, and is now the capital of the Fès-Boulemane administrative region.
The city has two old medinas, the larger of which is Fes el Bali. It is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is believed to be one of the world's largest car-free urban areas.[3] Al-Qarawiyyin, founded in AD 859, is the oldest continuously functioning madrasa in the world. The city has been called the "Mecca of the West" and the "Athens of Africa".

- The Medina of Fes is not to be missed! We were lucky to have a guide with us, although we usually opt out of guided tours, but it was good, considering the huge labyrinth of streets you could take- so this was very helpful! We learned and saw a lot in the old city, and were overwhelmed by the charm of the place and the people. Vendors, although extremely warm and inviting, are quite pushy to sell their wares so be prepared to bargain...A LOT!

- chouara tanneries (the oldest tanneries in world)
It is the largest of the four ancient tanneries still in existence in the medina of Fez and is composed of numerous dried-earth pits where raw skins are treated, pounded, scraped and dyed. Tanners work in vats filled with various coloured liquid dyes derived from plant sources. Colours change every two weeks, poppy flower for red, mint for green, indigo for blue, chedar tree for brown and saffron for yellow.
The tanneries are completely worth seeing. It creates a fascinating and somewhat sad picture, watching such an old process of tanning. However knowledge of the workers chemical exposures will definitely make you appreciate your working conditions at home.
A twig of mint is offered on entry to the shop overlooking the Tanneries but the strongest smell came from the workers outside cleaning the animal skins by the river. Once you come to terms with the smell the terrace overlooking the Tanneries gives a wonderful view of this medieval process with it's workers trampling skins knee deep in coloured dyes. Entrance is free but exit is via the multi-levelled shop with leather goods as far as you can see but without too oppressive salesman.

- jardine jnane sbil
Gardens play an important role in Moroccan culture, and this gorgeous green space just outside the medina walls is one of the oldest in Fez. Once part of the Royal Palace, it was donated to the city in the 19th century by Sultan Moulay Hassan. Because of its importance, the garden recently underwent four years of restoration to return it to its former splendor, and it reopened to the public in 2011. Now a stroll around its shady pathways, with time to admire its many towering palms, rose bushes, lakes, and fountains, is the perfect escape from the medina’s hubbub.

- Bab Bou Jeloud - The Blue Gate
This is one of the main tourist entrances to the Old Medina. The Blue gate (Bab means gate)is actually only blue on one side. the fine zellij tile work on the side facing into the medina is green - the colour of Islam. The blue on the outside represents the colour of Fès. Fes pottery is famous for a blue made by firing a cobalt mixture painted on as a design. The potteries overlooking the Medina are well worth a visit.
Just inside the Bab Bou Jeloud are the entrances to the two main alleyways into the medina - the Tala'a Kbira and Tala'a Sghira. Also, just inside you will find several great eating places, though you may wish to go further into the medina to escape the tourist prices.

- The Marinid Tombs or Merenid Tombs
are a few giant tombs on the hill above Fes, Morocco, possibly housing royalty or personages of some importance, dating back to the Marinid Dynasty. The tombs are in a high state of disrepair and are crumbling, but there is some script still to be seen in the stone. Their primary attraction for tourists is the views they afford of the ancient 1200-year-old medina below, especially at sunset.


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