One Day Tour Fes
Duration: 9:00am - 6:00pm
Morocco Travel: In Luxury 4x4
English, French Speaking Driver, Guide
Starting & Finishing Point: Your Hotel In Fès
Travel to Fes, Morocco and discover a UNESCO World Heritage site (Book a Tour or call (800) 787-8806. Let us be your guide to Morocco Travel.
Fès is the fourth largest city in Morocco and also known as one of the ancient imperial cities). It is separated into three parts, Fès el Bali (the old, walled city),Fès -Jdid (new Fes, home of the Mellah), and the Ville Nouvelle (the French-created, newest section of Fes. The Medina of Fès el Bali is believed to be the largest contiguous car-free urban area in the world.
To enter the medina, you will pass through the Bab Boujeloud gate, with its decoration of blue and green faiences. You will explore the medina’s narrow streets lined with local shops and stalls of fresh fruit, mounds of spices, intricately woven Berber carpets and many other Moroccan handicrafts and home goods. Fès has two main streets, “Rue Talaa Kebira “ and the “Rue Talaa Seghira “ which are utilized as the main throughways when exploring the medina- and the mysterious maze-like streets in between. The Fès medina is a labyrinth of sloping, winding alleyways are crammed full of stalls and workshops. This area is known as the famed Kissaria -the commercial center. A multitude of locally produced goods are on sale including cotton fabric, silk, brocade work, slippers, and many more. Each district in the Fès Medina produces its own specialty goods: cobalt blue enameled pottery, carpets, wrought iron ... one looks on as the dyer stirs his yarns, steeped in their multitude of colors, as the tanner tramples his skins under an open sky -skins that the leather-worker will eventually adorn with fine gilt for book-binding.
Fès’ Ville Nouvelle is where the major government ministries of Morocco reside. Fès is a city that will impress you with its culture and stimulate your senses with its extraordinary sounds, smells and visual elements. The people of Fès, referred to as Fassis, are most hospitable. Declared a world heritage site by UNESCOFès is also considered one of the most spiritual and religious cities in Morocco. It has stood at the heart of Moroccan civilization for over five centuries and was a major cultural and intellectual center, competing with those of Europe.
Fès, once a small village on the right bank of the river, was founded by Moulay Idriss in 789. Then in 808 his son, Idriss II built another town, El-Alya (High Town) on the left bank. By allowing Muslim families expelled from Cordoba, Spain and later 300 refuge families from Karaouiyine, Tunisia to use his land as a refuge, Idriss II is responsible for Fès becoming the center of Islamization and Arabization. Fès’ rich cultural history continued in 1145, when the Almohads conquered the city and helped build its prestige to become Morocco’s major economic metropolis. Fès’ development was also influenced by the Merinids who established the Fès El Jdid(new city) and raised Fes to imperial status.
Fes’ achievements and prestige made it the apple of every leader’s eye. In no time it was re-conquered by the Alaouities in 1666. However, after Moulay Ismail rejected Fès as his capital, choosing Meknes instead, Fès went into a decline until the early twentieth century when the French established the Protectorate. Today Fès is abustling city inhabited by Moroccans and Westerners. A tour of Fès is an exciting opportunity to learn about its fascinating cultural history, visit ancient landmarks and discover the ancient medina. Fès is also a great base for taking day trips toMeknes, Moulay Idriss and Voubilis/ Walili.
After a breakfast of Semolina break, fruit, coffee and fresh squeezed orange juice, your day will begin at the Merenid Tombs of Fès. Standing among olive trees and blue agaves, the sixteenth century elegant ruins of marble and epitaphs face a breathtaking view of the Fès. Continue along the old curtain wall of the medina and make a stop at the Musée des Armes, a fortress that once protected Fès. Today it is possible to see a display of 8,000 pieces of artillery from Makina, the arsenal built by Moulay Hassan I.
Next, enter the Fès el- Bali through the symmetrical horse shoe arches at Bab Boujeloud (The Blue Gate). Fès -el Bali, best characterized as a sea of rooftops embellished with minarets and domes, is too narrow for cars. Aside from walking, donkeys and mules are still the best way to travel within the cities old walls.
Upon entering Rue Talaa Kebira, the main street in the medina, you will see lines of shops covered by canopies. Make your way to the Karaouiyine Mosque. Located in the Karaouiyine quarter, the Mosque is one of the oldest in the world and functioned as the first university in Morocco. After your visit, continue along the streets which will lead you to some of Fes’ most important buildings including Dar el- Magana, a fourteenth century water clock and Zaouia el Tijaniya, containing the tomb of Ahmed el Tijani, who spread his infamous doctrine Tariqq el- Tijaniya (The Way) throughout Morocco.
Moving along, stop to admire Ech Cherabliyine Mosque (Mosque of the Slipper makers) then browse the surrounding lines of souks selling henna, slippers, caftans, silks, jewelry and spices crowded around the kissaria. Next visit the UNESCO recognized site, Fondouk el- Najjarine. Within the foundouk’s three floors is theMusée de Bois, which displays carved doors from the Bou Inania Medersa.
Stop for lunch within the medina at one of the fine Moroccan palace-restaurants that serves an extravaganza of mezas (small plates of food) common among Fassis tradition. The mezas that are often brought to your table prior to the large mid-day meal will be several of these: Choukchouka salad, Zaalouk salad, Carrots with Cumin Seed, raisin and orange salad, Cold radish, orange, and Fennel Salad. The mezas are traditionally followed by the main meal which will include the option of a: Lamb, Prune, and Date Tagine, a Chicken Tagine with Olives and Preserved Lemons or a Vegetable Tagine. For desert you will be served with fruit/ or local Moroccan pastries along with Mint Tea.
After lunch we will visit the Musée Dar el- Batha to view the great collection of pottery, leather-work, wood, books and manuscripts from the nineteenth century.
Next, enter Bab el Ftouh, the “Gateway of the Aperture” to explore the Andalusian quarter, a residential part of the medina laced with monuments.
Visit the El- Sahrij Medersa and the Mausoleum of Sidi Bou Ghaleb. Our last part of the tour will take you into the Fès el Jedid, a kasbah which functioned as Morocco’s administrative center until 1912. Explore the royal palace and many interesting quarters including the Moulay Abdalllah Quarter, the Mellah (Jewish Quarter) and a little farther down south lies Ville Nouvelle (The New Quarter).
Within the medina, we will the following historical sites:
Medersa Bou Inania: An (Islamic school) founded by Abu Inan Faris that is highly decorated from floor to ceiling. The medersa is one of the few religious places in Morocco that is accessible to non-Islamic tourists.
Kairaouine Mosque: Morocco’s second largest mosque was built by Fatima in 857. The Kairaouine Mosque became the home of the West's first university and the world's foremost center of learning at the beginning of the second millennium.
University of Al-Karaouine: Founded in 859, this university is one of the leading spiritual and educational centers of the Muslim world and is considered the oldest continuously operating institution of higher learning in the world.
Medersa el Attarin: A (Koranic school) that was named for local spice merchants known as attar. Founded by Sultan Abou Saïd in the 14th century as a students' dormitory, it is attached to the Kairaouine Mosque.
Zaouia Moulay Idriss II: A zaouia (shrine) dedicated to and the tomb of Moulay Idriss II, who ruled Morocco from 807 to 828 and founded the city of Fès for the second time in 810.