Fes فـاس

This way to Fes!

Fes is the great imperial city of Morocco. Founded in the 800s, it remains the lifeblood of the country. Fes is altogether different from both Casablanca and Marrakech. Tucked between the Middle Atlas and Rif mountain ranges, the city is more compact than other large cities in the country.

We begin with our drive from Marrakech to Fes. Starting in the low desert around Marrakech at an elevation of 1,500 feet, we skirted the High Atlas mountains as we drove northeast to Fes. Some of the distant peaks reach over 4,000 meters (over 13,000 feet). Along the way we passed through many towns, several wilayats, or provinces, and lost our way a few times (which should surprise no one by now).

We arrived in Fes and were quickly picked up by a faux tour guide who was on his motor bike. He showed us to some hotels in New Fes, but it was too far from the Fes el-Bali medina. He then took us to a riad just inside the walls of the medina, the Dar Masmoudi, where we decided to stay.

The entire Fes el-Bali (Old Fes) medina is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It contains nearly 10,000 narrow streets and alleys covering 740 acres (100 acres smaller than Central Park in New York City). Within this medieval medina live about 160,000 people, 223 people per acre or 142,454 people per square mile. Compare that to the highest population density areas in New York (Upper East Side) that are around 100,000 people per square mile. And, since most buildings are under four stories in Fes el-Bali, the population density in Fes is all the more meaningful than in New York, where we have 40-story apartment buildings.

On to Fes

On to Fes

Pit Stop

Pit Stop

Our Trusty Micra

Our Trusty Micra

Path to Nowhere

Path to Nowhere

Unknown Town

Unknown Town

The Fes Skyline

The Fes Skyline

Fes Skyline

Fes Skyline

Rooftop View

Rooftop View

Inside Our Riad

Inside Our Riad

Fes from Merenid Tombs

Fes from Merenid Tombs

North of Fes

North of Fes

Merenid Tombs

Merenid Tombs

Bou Jeloud Gardens

Bou Jeloud Gardens

Bab Dekkaken

Bab Dekkaken

Tile Makers

Tile Makers

Cutting Tiles

Cutting Tiles

Forming the Mosaic

Forming the Mosaic

Zellij Factory

Zellij Factory

Medersa as-Seffarine

Medersa as-Seffarine

Upstairs in the Medersa as-Seffarine

Upstairs in the Medersa as-Seffarine

Andalus Mosque

Andalus Mosque

Andalus Mosque Entrance

Andalus Mosque Entrance

The Royal Palace

The Royal Palace

The Kairaouine Mosque

The Kairaouine Mosque

The Textile Mill

The Textile Mill

The Double Minaret

The Double Minaret

Young Weaver

Young Weaver

Sales Pressure

Sales Pressure

Entering the Tannery

Entering the Tannery

Tannery Workers

Tannery Workers

The Tannery

The Tannery

End of the Day

End of the Day