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Fes (when you’ve finished shopping)

June 27, 2016

My tour guide-slash-personal salesperson managed to take me to a handful of places that were actual attractions of Fes over the course of the tour. A few highlights:

Madrasa Bou Inania

A madrasa is both an educational institute for young muslims and a congregational mosque. This particular madrasa dates back to 1356 and boasts some of the most impressive architecture and internal design in Fes, with its classrooms, courtyards, and areas for prayer.

The Bab Boujloud

This beautiful central gate into the medina(translated as “the blue gate”) served as my main anchor point any time I got hopelessly lost (often) in my two days in the Fes medina. The minaret of the Madrasa Bou Inania can be seen to the left.

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The medina

The medina, or market, was the main draw of Fes, with its constant bustle of people, animals and endless attempts to draw your attention to some shop or another. You could wander through these streets all day.

The palace and the mellah

The Dar el-Makhzen palace is the official residence of the king while in Fes (each major city has their own equivalent). While off-limits to general access, we could appreciate the ornate details of its exterior up close. The mellah, or Jewish quarter of the city, included balconies—a notable architectural feature, since traditional Muslim-owned Moroccan houses barely had windows to ensure women were not able to be seen by outside onlookers.

Overlooking Fes

I had to get my 250 dirhams worth after my tour guide upsold me into a car trip around the city. It was worth it to get a birds eye vista of this sprawling, centuries-old medina.

The Kairaouine mosque and university

The pottery tour

Not all the tours my tour guide took me on were blatantly designed to get me to buy stuff. This pottery tour, in particular, was diverse, interesting and well worth the $15 worth of pottery I subsequently bought.

Tanneries

The tanneries were well worth the smell—definitely one of the more interesting artisanal operations in Fes. The white pools are pigeon dung, used to separate the skins from the fur of the animal, while the colored pools are dyes for the leather.

Rugs

Last but not least, the rugs. No trip to Morocco is complete without someone trying to sell you a few thousand dollars worth of rugs. They are, however, beautiful to appreciate from an appropriate distance away from the shop proprietor.

Oh, and did I mention pastilla?

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2 Comments
  1. Samantha Wong permalink
    July 25, 2016 2:35 pm

    Wow fes looks amazinggg!! Especially the tanneries. Love looking at the photos Jesse!

    • Jesse Germinario permalink*
      July 26, 2016 10:33 am

      Thanks Sammie 🙂

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