With its historic architecture and rambling souks, the imperial city of Fez is one of the country’s oldest and most unique spots, located a few hours northeast of Casablanca. Although it’s possible to visit Fez on a day trip from Casablanca, the city also makes a popular inclusion on multi-day tours of Morocco, combined with visits to nearby cities like Meknes, Rabat and Tangier, or even Marrakech.
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With just one day to spend in Fez, you’ll likely spend most of your time exploring the Old Town, renowned as one of the best preserved medieval Islamic cities in the world and centered around the UNESCO-listed medina of Fez el Bali. Still encircled by its ancient city walls, the medina is where you’ll find top attractions like the 14th-century Madrassa BouInania, the Kairaouine Mosque, the Mellah and the prestigious Kairaouine University. Be sure to set aside time to explore the vibrant souks too, where you’ll find the famous Tanners’ Quarter, where leather and textiles are soaked in huge vats of colored dyes.
To start your day, you’ll be met by your driver-guide at your hotel, ship or aeroportaccording to which option you choose. Hop in the sedan, car or minivan, and relax on the 3 hour drive north toward fez,the third-largest city in Morocco. Fez is widely considered to be the country’s spiritual capital.
When you arrive,you’ll meet your local guide in the heart of Fez to start your sightseeing tour in the New Medina, the newer part of the city, before heading to the Old Medina. During your time here, you’ll understand why many consider Fez as having the best-preserved old city in the Arab world. In fact, the Medina of Fez is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Exploring the narrow streets of this medieval city, you’ll see a brilliant display of traditional Moroccan architecture, zillige tiling and elaborately painted and sculpted woodwork. Your driver-guide will point out Dar Bouanania, a popular local hotel, before taking you to AttarineMedersa, an educational institution built by the Merinides, which were the North African people of the dynasty between the 13th and 15th centuries. You’ll be amazed by the elaborate decorations of this architectural gem, built by the order of Sultan Abou Said Ohman.
Visit another ancient educational center, Kairaouine Mosque, founded in 857. This is the second-largest mosque in Morocco and the oldest Islamic monument in Fez, and is also considered by many as the holiest mosque in Morocco, governing the timing of all Islamic festivals across the country. Non-Muslims are not permitted inside the mosque, but you’ll admire it from the outside.
Finish your day in Fez el-Bali, the oldest walled part of the city, where you’ll find the Medina of Fez, a UNESCO World Heritage Site home to madrasas (educational institutions), fondouks(traditional inns for traders), mosques and palaces dating from Marinide rule in the 13th and 14th centuries, when Fez replaced Marrakesh as the capital of the Moroccan kingdom.
Wander the sprawling maze of souks where craftsmen sell their goods. You’ll feel as if you’ve been transported back in time. Feel free to purchase anything that catches your eye!
At the end of the day, relax on the drive back to Casablanca.
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