Fez Tourist Attractions
The most mystical of Morocco's imperial cities, Fez was founded in A.D. 808 by the Moroccan ruler saint Moulay Idris II. Fez became the capital and spiritual center of Morocco.
The city is situated in a narrow valley against the backdrop of the Middle Atlas and positioned on the old crossroads of caravan routes connecting the Saharan empires like Timbuktu and Takrur with the Atlantic and the Mediterranean shipping lanes. Fez remained a commercial center for much of its history.It is still considered Morocco's premier religious city by virtue of its Islamic traditions. It is the site of Qarawiyyin Mosque (the largest mosque in North Africa) and Qarawiyyin Madrasah, and is also the burial place of Moulay Idris II.Apart from the European town built after World War II, Fez is divided into two distinct areas: Fez el Jdid (the new) and Fez el Bali (the old).Textile and flour mills, oil-processing plants, tanneries, soap factories, and a large handicraft industry all can be found within the city of Fez.Many people have moved from the older imperial city to the modern suburbs but the ancient city is powerfully compelling and it remains one of the world's great architectural treasures.
Medersa Bou Inania
The Medersa Bou Inania was built between 1350 and 1357 buy the merenid sultan Bou Inan. The carved woodwork is magnificent and is one of the few functioning religious buildings non-Muslims may enter. The rooftop offers a spectacular view of Fes.
This 16th century fortress will be appreciated by weapon specialists and art lovers. The collections of this weapons museum have been built up mainly as a result of royal donations and include a number of rare pieces. Every civilization is represented: Indian, European and Asiatic. Also on display is a canon, five meters long and weighing five tons, used during the Battle of the Three Kings.
Fes el Bali
Fes el Bali is the "Old" part of the city. Within there are two distinctly different districts, one is the right bank the other is the left bank. Each has beautifully sculpted woodwork, engraved bronze, polychrome carving, moucharabies, and sculpted plasterwork.The medina of Fes el Bali in one of the largest in the world. Streets are filled with craft workshops, restaurants, medersas, tanneries, mosques and dye pits.
Dar Batha Museum
This museum is located in a Hispano-Moorish palace built in the late 19th century and houses collections of traditional art from Fes, including carved wood, wrought iron work, sculpted plaster, embroidery, carpets, jewelry and coins. The centerpiece of the museum is the pottery room where the famous Fes blue ceramics, colored with cobalt, are featured. Astrolabes are also prominently featured.
El Qaraouiyyin Mosque
The El Qaraouiyyn mosque was built by the Kerouan people in 857. It is the oldest center of learning in the western world and is one of the main intellectual centers of North Africa.Its library is one of the oldest in the world and it contains over 30,000 books. Among its collection is the ninth century Koran.
The Kairaouine Mosque is one of the largest mosques in Morocco and is capable of holding 20,000 people. It was built by Fatma bint Mohammed ben Feheri between 859 - 862 for her fellow refugees from Tunisia. Its university has one of the finest libraries in the Muslim world. It is closed to non-Muslims.
Mosque and Tomb of Moulay Idris II
Considered one of the most sacred places in Morocco, the tomb of Moulay Idris II is a place of pilgrimage for Muslims from throughout Morocco and beyond. The atmospheric interiors are richly ornamented.Non-Muslims may not enter or even draw near the entrance.
One of the largest mosques in Africa, the Qarawiyyin Mosque is also one of the world's most beautiful places of worship.For more than 1,000 years great Muslim saints and scholars have congregated in its ornamental courtyard. It remains one of the most majestic monuments of Islam.
Souk Al Henna
In the city of Fes, the finest display of pottery is in the Souk Al Henna. Here, visitors can browse and admire a wide variety of bowls, vases, dishes and storage jars, painstakingly crafted and decorated in the age-old tradition of "Moroccan blue".
Fes el Jedid
Fes el Jedid is the "New" part of the city and was built by the Merenids in the 13th century. It has the old Jewish quarter, mosques and Koranic schools.It was established by the Merinides in the 13th century because they felt that Fes el Bali ("Old city") would be too small to contain their palaces.
Bou Jeloud Gardens
The Bou Jeloud Gardens in Fes are bounded by the Bab Dekkaken gate and the Bab Bou Jeloud gate. The river Oued Fes (the city's main source of water) flows through the gardens.
The Andalousian Mosque in Fes, built in 1321, is easily identifiable by its green and white minaret.
Bab al Makina
Some of the finest carpet weavers in Morocco are at the Bab al Makina, which is open to the public.
Festivals and Cultural Activities
The main festivals and cultural activities in Fes are the Carpet Fair, Wood Engraving Fair, Moussem Moulay Idris II, Pottery Fair and the Handicraft Moussem.
Tissa - Horse Festival
The Horse Festival in Tissa takes place in September. Horses are rounded up and in addition to many equestrian events there is music and dancing.
Festival of Sacred Music
The Festival of Sacred Music in Fes takes place in October.
The Jewish cemetery is situated in the midst of the Mellah, the Jewish quarter.
World Sacred Music Festival
The World Sacred Music Festival in Fes is held each summer.
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