Fes reigns between the Rif and the Middle Atlas. Climbing a little higher, you can see over its solid walls. An amazing spectacle lies before. The largest medina in the Arab world spreads out to the horizon, as you dive into a unique, authentic universe.
Away from the cars and the pace of life of the west, Fes is best explored on foot. Before entering Fesel Bali, the oldest part of the city, you pass under the blue gate "Bab bou Jelloud". Imposing and sumptuous, it symbolizes the cultural wealth that abounds in Fes. Once through the gate, you're back in the twelfth century.
With its network of 9,000 alleyways, it would be so easy to get lost in the medina, and yet one is irresistibly drawn to it. As you weave your way through the alleyways, you gradually delve deeper to discover Moroccan culture: the shops and gardens, flavours and smells ... The medina, listed as World Heritage by UNESCO, contains a multitude of treasures. Turning a corner, you can admire the stunning Moorish architecture of a madrasah, before you come to Al Quaraouiyine a few meters away. Built in 859, it is the oldest university in the world and the emblem of the spiritual and intellectual importance of the ancient capital of the country.
A little further on you can see the ramparts and borjs (towers), a sign that you are approaching Fes El Djedid. "New Fes" is just as welcoming as "old Fes". Climbing Borj south, the city unfolds before your eyes in an amazing panorama with minarets and palaces rising above the skyline. At Borj north you can retrace history as you examine the historical relics in the museum. Then, inevitably, your gaze will fall on the doors of the Royal Palace in Fes, Dar el Makhzen. A work of art carved in copper, we can only be struck by its sheer size. The visit of Fes has lots more to offer, but other treasures are waiting to be discovered beyond the walls.
65km from Fes, Meknes, another of the 4 imperial cities, is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. This gigantic work, produced by one man’s megalomania, is a true architecturalmasterpiece. In this former Sharifian capital, Sultan Moulay Ismaïl commissioned a sumptuous palace, with mosques, monumental gates, imposing ramparts and vast gardens. Little known by tourists, Meknes is not merely a city to travel through; it is one to linger in to discover its Moorish architecture.
At the gateway to Fes and Meknes, the Middle Atlas unveils some of the most grandiose landscape in Morocco. Unusual features that must not be missed, highly recommendable excursions, particularly around Ifrane mountain resort, the pearl of the region: caves, waterfalls and cedar forests... inhabited by its most emblematic representative, the macaque monkey.
SITES AND MONUMENTS
- Madrasa Bou Inania,
- Royal Palaces.
- Souks and Fondouks.
- The tanning district.
- Merinides tombs.
- Moulay Yacoub hot springs.
- Olive groves.
- Ifrane and its national park.
SITES AND MONUMENTS
- Madrasa Bou Inania and Royal Palaces.
- Mausoleum of Moulay.
- Bab Mansour and Place El Hedim.
- Dar Kebira, the Imperial city.
- Haras de Meknes stud farm.
- Volubilis, the biggest Roman site in the country.
- March: Enthronement Day in Fes
- April: Fes Festival of Sufi Culture
- May: Fes Festival of World Sacred Music
- June: Sefrou Cherry Festival
- September: Tissa Horse Festival
- Mechouia Salad: Salad made from tomatoes, cooked peppers, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice.
- Salad with olives (meslalla), fennel, feggous (small, thin cucumbers), grated carrots sometimes flavoured with orange juice.
- Bissara: broad bean soup.
- Harira: soup made from tomatoes, flour, lentils or peas, served with pieces of meat.
- Couscous with vegetables, chicken, lamb or beef.
- Pastilla: Meat pie made from crispy warqua pastry, minced pigeon or chicken, parsley, hard-boiled eggs, almonds and honey, sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.
- Briouat: donut made from warqua pastry stuffed with ground meat, chicken, sausages, fish or almonds.
- Tajine: stew of meat, poultry or fish with vegetables and fruit.
- Kebabs and keftas (spicy meatballs), eaten with the famous flat round Moroccan bread, plain or flavoured with fennel seeds and caraway.
- Mechoui, meat roasted on an open fire.
- Ka'b al ghzal or gazelle horns.
- Briouat with honey and almonds.
- Ghoriba with almonds or sesame seeds.
- Bechkito: crispy butter cookies.
- M’hanncha: coiled pastry sprinkled with cinnamon powder.
- Shebbakia: fried strips of dough with warm honey and toasted sesame seeds.
- Ktefa: milk pastilla, made from sheets of warqua pastry (flour paste and water) flavoured with orange blossom and almonds served with a little cold milk.
- Orange salad flavoured with orange flower water and cinnamon.
- Pancakes with honey and sesame seeds.
- Fresh fruit juices: orange, banana, avocado, almond milk...
- Local Beer: Flag Special, Casablanca, Stork, Heineken.
- Mahia: fig liquor.
- Mint tea