5 Reasons to Visit Fez, Morocco’s Most Mysterious City
Visiting Fez was not high on my list of things to di in Morocco. A lot of travelers do not make it that far being distracted by Marrakesh and other more accessible and tourist-oriented parts of Morocco , sadly.
Why you should visit Morocco’s Fez
I was traveling back in time, embracing history, visiting a northern African Jerusalem. Just a few expressions that can describe what visiting Fez was like.
Fez is the soul of Morocco, and if you want to see what Morocco is about , you should include this ancient city in your trip. But here are 5 additional reasons to visit Fez, in case you still have doubts.
1-Fez has the oldest Medina in the world
The city of minarets, with almost 10,000 narrow streets, makes for a gigantic labyrinth that Minotaurus would envy. Shrouded figures and neglected passages radiate the mystique of the east.
The most mysterious, crowded and captivating part of the city is the Medina. Medina streets are just wide enough for donkeys are mules that you’ll see frequently. There are more ancient monuments in the Medina than in any Moroccan city.
There are very few places in the world where you can dive into the Medieval atmosphere, looking more like a movie setting or a living museum than a city. Watch the passing mule carts and djellaba-robed men walk by.
Being the capital of Morocco in 13-14 centuries, its Medina is still the commercial mecca of Muslim life; it is also the home of one of the oldest universities on Earth!
University of Al-Karaouine, founded in 859, is the oldest degree-granting university.
It was Fez’s scholars that enlightened the West about astronomy during the Moorish reign over Spain.
The medersas- religious universities, where young men have been staying since the Middle Ages still function.
2-Fez is the most authentic city in Morocco
For all the years of my travels, I have never seen a city so indifferent to tourists.There are barely any tourist traps. Instead, it is living its life, and without trying to appeal to its visitors, it still strikes you as the most authentic place they’ve ever seen.
Medina exists for the locals, not for tourists. Tourists are barely noticed(which feels very nice, especially after Marrakesh).
Being a Unesco Heritage means that a sight must be preserved in its original shape and form. It means that no skyscrapers will ever substitute the sand-colored squares and mosques, dense rows of riads and bazaars. No asphalt will ever take over the cobblestoned twisted roads in the labyrinths of narrow medina streets.
3-Shopping in Fez is much better than in Marrakesh
Chances are you are flying into Marrakesh. Or you are spending a weekend in Marrakesh.The city most famed for its colorful bazaars and exotic shopping. But most likely, probably definitely all the artisan gems – silver teapots and trays, tiles, exquisite wood carved decor )you see on Marrakesh bazaar comes from Fez. Not only can you buy all the these beauties much cheaper in Fez,you can also watch them being made right in front of you!
Shopping in Fez deaths Marrakesh in prices and variety.
4- Fez speaks in symbols
Calling all Dan Brown fans. Fez contains more symbols that da Vinci code .
Each mosaic,each tile and its placement is a symbol. Every detail, from tattoos on the faces of Berber women to the patterns of tiles is symbolic. You would not expect anything else from one of the oldest cities on earth.
Fez used to be the center of the ancient world and managed to combine the best symbols and turn it into distinctive art you see everywhere in every building :
Fez style of wood carving came from Egypt.
The tiles are from ancient Rome and Persia.
The flowers in the stucco are lotus blossoms from India.
The calligraphy and the arches are from Iraq.
5- Fez is a Culinary Heaven
The northeastern city of Fez is more than its medieval architecture. Fassi cuisine is a complex mix of Arab, Moorish, Turk and French flavors and techniques. Fez is Morocco’s culinary capital for many travelers, and you can experience it both in street food stands and sophisticated shopping malls. Like the 21st-century, air-conditioned shopping mall Borj Fez.
After doing some shopping, head on to the city’s Medina, the oldest part of the city, and UNESCO Cultural Heritage. Going back to the 9th century, this was once Morocco’s capital city, and walking its narrow streets is traveling back in time.
More about Morocco food and drink
This “Best things to of in Fez, Morocco” article will help you find the best things to do when visiting Fez.