Fes: A Visual Travel Diary

The quick flight to Morocco is a cultural transition like none I’d ever experienced before. Powdery terracotta is a tone you'll quickly become accustomed to the moment you step out of the plane. As the country’s oldest imperial city, Fes was no exception. This World Heritage Site was riddled with passages that see far less visitors than Marrakech. The time worn, medieval lanes of the medina and lack of street signs immediately transport you to an earlier century. The narrowness of the alleys leave you no choice but to get ensnared by ebb and flow in no time at all and you're bound to wind your way through narrow street after narrow street, dodging donkeys, mules and handcarts, small boys on bicycles and people doing their daily shopping.  I also visited the largest leather dyers still operating in the medina. Although sprigs of mint are provided to filter out the smell, I didn't find the smell that strong, nor offensive.

Chouara Tannery

Zaouia Moulay Idriss II; Bou Inania Madrasa; Al-Qarawiyyin Madrasa

The medina is divided into two: the Andalusian area named after those Moors expelled from Spain, and the Quaraouiyine- named after Moors expelled from Kairouan in Tunisia. Thousands of people still live in the medina, the poorest rubbing shoulders with the rich - there is no class differentiation. In the Andalusian medina, which is quieter, the shop types are mixed, but in the Quaraouiyine area the shops are more distinctly divided by type of trade. The Al-Qarawiyyin Madrasa is one of the largest mosques in Africa and the world’s oldest university. It was founded by Fatima Al-Fihri in 859. To think that empowered visionary women like her have existed since the dawn of time left me utterly spellbound by the place!

Dar El Makhzen (Royal Palace of Fes)

Fes El Bali

Fes truly is one of those places where there is more to it than meets the eye. My number one advice would be to not be misled by appearances. As people cover themselves in simple cloth, buildings have deceivingly plain facades which house hidden gems like these!