One of the world’s largest, car-free urban destinations and the third largest city in the whole of Morocco, Fes is a subwaypolis of unassuming doorways, spectacular courtyards, luxury hotels and winding alleyways down which we willingly lost ourselves.
Dating back to the 9th Century, the medina in Fes is the oldest in the country. With the absence of motor vehicles, all you’ll hear as you wander the narrow streets are the sounds of craftsmen at work and the occasional warning call from a local as they squeeze past with their arms full of hand-crafted goods. The architecture here, like in much of Morocco, is truly awe-inspiring. Intricate detail has been worked into every wall, door, floor and ceiling. You won’t know where to look.Read more
Having dropped off our bags at the incredible Dar Roumana (for more information on this luxury hotel, please click here) it was time to plan our foray into this urban jungle. We knew Fez is widely recognised as Morocco’s culinary capital, so there was no better place for us to begin than in R’cif, Fez’s popular food market. Wandering down this narrow lane, bordered on both sides by an array of tempting food stalls, we came across baskets of rose petals alongside stores boasting giant heaps of fresh olives. Stopping for a while to film, we watched as one woman skilfully cooked piles of delicious pancakes over a scalding hot stone, serving them with date jam. The whole experience was an assault on the senses and if we’d had our way we’d have spent a whole day sampling the sweet and savory treats on offer in R’cif. One local let us in on the mantra ‘If you want to be well fed, you must marry a girl from Fez’ and having tasted some of the local cuisine, it was easy to see why Fes was a city recognised for its culinary triumphs.
Away from R’cif, we came across a variety of craftsmen hard at work. Think metal workers, sculptors and weavers. One trade in particular, however, had us mesmerised. The leather dyers of Morocco attract crowds of tourists every day, who position themselves on balconies above the tanneries to watch this fascinating, albeit smelly process. The smell of ammonia, which is used to prep the animal hides for the dyeing process, hit us before we’d even come close enough to see what was going on. Having climbed some stairs to reach a vantage point, we were given a handful of mint leaves to hold to our noses which made the stench just about bearable. Still, it was worth it. The colors and sounds of the tanneries are just too fantastic to miss and there was no way we could produce a video on Fes without them.
Authentic and ancient, Fes was an appropriate place to end our journey through Morocco. Having immersed ourselves in the bustling streets of Marrakesh and Fes, wandered over the scorched plains of the Atlas Mountains and enjoyed the peaceful atmosphere in Essaouira, Oualidia and El Jadida, we really felt as though we’d seen Morocco from all sides. Whatever type of trip you’re looking to take, you’re sure to find what you want in this vast and enchanting country.