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A giant maze

Jun 27, 2018 comment(s)

Arriving in Fez, we were dropped off not far from the riad (Riad Boustan) where we will be staying in for the next days. It was located in a very tight street. However, once in, we were amazed by the size of it. It is very well decorated by mosaics, columns and traditional furniture.

Being a bit far from the main street of the Medina, we decided to go to Bab Boujloud (blue door). The Medina can be accessed through the 14 remaining doors. Each of them are linked by battlements. Our riad was located next to Bab R’ssif.

GPS in one hand, we started walking in direction of the centre. We didn’t realised how difficult it would be. The Medina is a real maze, it was very hard to find our way. Obviously we got lost. At each corner, young kids told us that we were taking a dead end. We really didn’t know if we could believe them or not. We then realised how big Fez was, much more than Marrakesh.

We spent hours getting lost in this Medina so authentic. No more motorbikes like in Marrakesh, here donkeys and wheelbarrows are taking all the space! We met with many craftsmen. Abdul the tailor arrived from the Sahara 6 months ago. He works with 3 kinds of tissues: silk extracted from cactus, camel and sheep wool. He was working on an order of 100 covers! We also met with a potter engraving a jar, coppersmiths hammering non-stop or even carpenters assembling wedding thrones and many more.

The Medina is divided in many neighbourhoods and each one got a mosque, a fountain, an oven for bread and its souks. We remember especially:

  • The Medersa Bou Inania: located around 100 meters from the blue door, this religious school built in the 14th century is the biggest of the city. It is the only one which is also a mosque and therefore has a minaret. By entering the door from the souk, we couldn’t imagine how big the place was, astonishing!
  • Chouara tanneries: further north in the souk, they can be seen from terraces of private shops selling leather products. It is a gathering of colourful pits. Smell is strong but still breathable.
  • Henna souk: one of the oldest of the city and the cutest. It can be found any kind of natural aesthetic products.
  • Nejjarine square and the wood museum: a very nice fountain is located in the centre of the square. The museum goes back to the 18th century and is mostly built with carved wood. Moreover, the objects exposed there are really interesting. They are grouped by themes, from tools to toys to music instruments.
  • Seffarine square: here are gathered all the coppersmiths. They hammer and polish copper non-stop. They build all kinds of objects (tea pots, pans, trays, etc.)
  • Mnebi palace: its terrace offers an amazing view over the city
  • Others mosques and medersa: there are many of them and are only accessible to Muslims. However, their doors are usually open which let the inside partially visible. It is beautiful and huge compared to the street we are observing from.

The city is located in a shire surrounded by hills. As soon as we get higher the view is amazing. We actually had our first dinner on a terrace appreciating an extraordinary sunset.

Food was pretty good in the Medina. We stopped at Dar Zineb, traditional moroccan restaurant not far from Bab Guissa. We accessed it through a “secret path”. The alley was dark and we had to lower our head to not hit the ceiling!

We loved Fez very much and its Medina. Much more authentic than Marrakesh, we really enjoyed meeting with craftsmen.

For the next days, we plan to get out of the noisy Medina and explore the surroundings.