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Top 5 reasons why you should visit Fez, Morocco

Fes is a northeastern Moroccan city often referred to as the country’s cultural capital. It’s primarily known for its Fes El Bali walled medina, with medieval Marinid architecture, vibrant souks and old-world atmosphere. The medina is home to religious schools such as the 14th-century Bou Inania and Al Attarine, both decorated with elaborate cedar carvings and ornate tile work.

1. The ancient capital of Morocco

It is referred to as the new Marrakech, because in recent years tourism activity has been increasing in this Moroccan city. The numerous tourist sites in the city bear witness to this. Today we are in Fez, the second largest Moroccan city with the largest number of inhabitants. Formerly the capital of Morocco before the transfer was made in honor of Rabat in 1912, the visit of Fez will satisfy you in several points. Whether it is the discovery of the medina or the impressive monuments, Fez remains a city of choice, the cultural and spiritual heritage of Morocco.

2. The Medina of Fez

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1976, it is without a doubt the biggest attraction in the old town. In this place steeped in history, you will discover many interesting things. Here, antiquity and modernity come together to communicate to visitors the spellbinding charm of Fez. Go through the narrow streets and explore fondouks, mosques, museums and palaces. Two main doors are known to the medina. These are the Bab Bou Djeloud gate (the gate that serves as the main entrance to the medina) and Bab Dekakène (the entrance where outlaws were subjected to their judgments in medieval times).

3. The Karaouine mosque

It was in Fatima al-Fihri that this mosque owes its foundation in 859. From Tunisia, the latter had come to settle in Fez and precisely in the district of Kairouanes. This is where the mosque got its name. Dating back to 956, the minaret of the mosque is the only element that was maintained. The architecture of the mosque as we know it dates from the time of Ali Ben Youssef. It is thanks to the latter that the mosque became an important center of knowledge. Unfortunately, access to the mosque is prohibited for non-Muslims. However, you can admire its beautiful view, having a drink at the adjoining restaurant.

4. Dar Batha, the palace-museum

In Arab-Andalusian style, this building was built, formerly as a palace by Moulay el Hassan towards the end of the 19th century. The objective of the latter was the unification of the cities Fez-el-Bali (old Fez) and Fes-el-Djedid (new Fez). Then, the palace was transformed into a museum of Popular Arts and Traditions under the French protectorate in 1915. The current museum abounds with marvels that reflect the traditional art of the city of Fez. Its main charm is found in its superb collection of pottery and ceramics, reputed to be the most beautiful in the country. In addition to the pottery, you can also admire sumptuous jewelry, magnificent clothes and astrolabes.

5. The famous water clock of Fez (Dar El Magana)

It is no longer functional, yet it remains one of the greatest curiosities of Fez which draws a large number of visitors to its feet. It is inspired by the clepsydra, a water clock of which the Egyptians are inventors. This is Dar El Magana, the famous hydraulic ball clock whose construction dates back to the 1357s. Located in the Talaa Sghira district, in the heart of a unique setting surrounded by carved plaster and wood, the clock is a work by Abou al-Hassan Ibn Ali Ahmed Tlemsani. Take advantage of the visit of Fez to discover it in all its ancient splendor.

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