Fes, the former capital of Morocco, is a world-class ancient treasure and the site of the world’s oldest university. Throughout Morocco’s booming history, the capital’s title has always been one of the four cities of Rabat, Morocco, Meknes or Fes. After retaking this title twice, it is now Rabat that bears the title of Moroccan capital. Each of the Morocco, Rabat, Meknes and Fes cities have survived several periods of ascension and decline and have been able to preserve their magnificent pas architecture and culture.
It was founded by Idris Ibn Abdullah, son of Muhammad. In 784, he fled to North Africa. Soon afterwards, he decided to set up a new government. But he needed a city in which to start his government. To this end, he built a city on the east bank of the Fes River, which is the present-day Fes in Morocco. After a long time, the city, built by Idris Ibn Abdullah, became a very powerful headquarter and the Idris dynasty gained much power.
In the narrow, intertwined alleys and quaint passages of the old part of town, strolling along with the scent of peppermint and other spices patrolling the air, the sense of the past comes alive as if you have stepped away.
The ancient city of Fes is one of the largest medieval cities in the world where markets are still more than a mile long. The image of the city has not changed much over the years and the seven traditional elements of Islamic urbanization are still prominent features.
These elements include: mosques, schools (Quranic schools), souks, timiches, ponds or fountains, a public bathroom and a bakery.
In narrow alleyways, craftsmen create and sell goods in their traditional ways depending on their profession.
1. Medersa Bou Inania
It was built by a person named Abu Annan. Its construction dates back to years 1350 to 1357. This school is religious and as you may know in Morocco only Muslims are allowed to enter the religious buildings of Islam, but non-Muslims are allowed to enter this place despite being religious.
This school has a very elegant architecture and is one of the most attractive buildings in Morocco. Interior decorations and engravings on the school walls are unique in their kind.
2. Medersa El-Attarine
In this school you can see the spirit of Moroccan architecture. Medersa El-Attarine was built by Abu Said. The school building is extraordinarily beautiful and the carvings on the wall and ceiling are unique. Especially the calligraphy on the walls of the school and its tiles are great. Crescent vaults and school corridors reflect Moroccan-specific architectural style.
In the courtyard of this school we also see a flat pond, facing the entrance of the mansion. On either side of the pond, there are several entrances to two adjacent corridors.
3. Fes el Bali
Fes el Bali is the oldest part of the city. In fact, it is one of the oldest areas in the world and is considered a World Heritage Site. To get to Fes el Bali you must pass through a gate called Bab Boujloud. In a part of this old area, you will find historical mansions that are back to back continuous. There are also several traditional markets in the area that are great for shopping. The markets in the area are still run in a traditional way and you can find all kinds of Moroccan specialty goods. On the other side, you would reach the residential area. There are, of course, several spectacular monuments here. For example, in the residential area you can visit the Alandalus Mosque. The mosque was built in 1321 and you will be able to see the white and green minaret from a distance.
4. Borj Nord
The tower, as its name implies, is located in the north of the city. The architectural style of this tower makes it a Portuguese building. Borj Nord is now a weapons museum. You can see all kinds of weapons of war in this museum. There is even a 5 meter ball with 12 ton weight.
In this museum you will be able to see weapons from different periods of Moroccan history. Each of these weapons represents a part of Morocco’s booming history.
5. Quaraouiyine Mosque
It is also one of Fes’s religious training centers. In addition, it can be considered one of the oldest educational centers in the world. As a result, the mosque and university of Quaraouiyine have achieved the rank of the world’s oldest university in the Guinness Book of Records.
The mosque and university of Quaraouiyine were built by a Tunisian woman. Its construction dates back to 869 AD.
In addition to this mosque and university building, you will find a library of 30,000 ancient and historical books. Most of these books are religious or historical. You will also be able to view old versions of the Quran in this library.
6. Batha Museum
You must go to Mauritius Hippsano Summer Palace to visit this museum. It was built in the last years of the 19th century. The museum building is very spectacular and its architectural style is intertwined with Moroccan and Islamic architecture. In this museum you can see Moroccan art. Here you will find a valuable collection of handicrafts, embroidery, handmade carpets, jewelry and more.
7. Nejjarine Museum of Wooden Crafts
In this museum you can see wooden artifacts that are of great artistic and cultural value. Of course, besides this museum building, there is another valuable asset; it has been used as an inn for the past. Especially the merchants who were crossing this road, used this place to stay, and the museum was a place of rest for the merchants.
8. Fes El Jadid
To see the glory of Fes City, go to Fes El Jadid. It was built in the thirteenth century. Here you will find the most prestigious palaces and golden buildings of Fes.
9. Chaouwara in fes
This is the most fascinating sight in Fes. You must visit this place during the early hours of the day to see the leather pits. Especially when it comes to dyeing leather, it will be amazing to watch. The only way for visitors to view these leather goods is to go to shops built around the walls of this place. You can watch them from the terrace of these shops.
Here, Shopkeepers will explain everything about the process and you can have the knowledge of Chaouwara very soon.