Fes: Ancient city and World Heritage site

Fes: Ancient city and World Heritage site

     Nestled within the captivating landscapes of Morocco lies the ancient city of Fes, a treasure trove of history, culture, and artisanal wonders. Stepping into Fes feels like entering a time portal, where  centuries past resonate through its labyrinthine streets and ornate architecture.

Photo is overlooking Fes from the fort


Fes has a past that stretches back over a thousand years. Founded in the 9th century, it quickly flourished into a vibrant center of trade, scholarship, and craftsmanship. Throughout the centuries, Fes served as Morocco's capital, witnessing the rise and fall of dynasties, the ebb and flow of empires, yet remaining steadfast in its cultural significance. Its medina, a UNESCO World Heritage site, stands as a testament to its enduring legacy, with its maze-like alleys, imposing gates, and hidden gems waiting to be discovered.

Navigating Fes' Medina feels like venturing into an intricately confusing labyrinth, where narrow pathways wind amidst bustling crowds. Exploring its chaotic streets is an exhilarating and somewhat confusing experience. Amidst the maze, you find yourself squeezing past not only fellow pedestrians but also the occasional donkey transporting goods and the vibrant stalls of merchants vying for attention. The medina pulsates with the energy of its inhabitants, creating a sensory overload of sights, sounds, and scents at every turn.

Above is a typical pathway. You just hope you don't meet someone coming the otherway.


The tanneries of Fez are an integral part of the city's cultural heritage, offering a glimpse into centuries-old craftsmanship and traditions. Nestled within the medina, these tanneries have been operating for centuries, continuing age-old methods of leather production. The Chouara Tannery, one of the oldest and most renowned, stands out with its distinctive stone vessels filled with dyes of vibrant hues. Visitors to the tanneries are greeted with a sensory experience unlike any other, as the pungent aroma of animal hides mingles with the vivid colors of the dyes. Despite the labor-intensive nature of the work, the tanners demonstrate remarkable skill and precision as they work their craft, treating and dyeing the leather using techniques passed down through generations. A visit to the tanneries of Fez offers a fascinating insight into the city's rich history and the enduring traditions of its artisans.

The tannery I visited was almost a thousand years old. When you visit you are handed a mint sprig to sniff to help with the incredible smell of natural tanning. 

Photo from the showroom at the tile factory and school.


Fes's tile artisans, known as maâlems, are the custodians of an ancient tradition that has defined the city's architectural landscape for centuries. These skilled craftsmen, with their deft hands and meticulous attention to detail, breathe life into the intricate mosaic patterns adorning the walls, floors, and ceilings of Fes' mosques, palaces, and madrasas. Using techniques passed down through generations, they transform humble clay into exquisite zellige tiles, each piece a testament to their expertise and artistry. The geometric designs and vibrant colors of Fes' tilework captivate the eye and inspire wonder, evoking a sense of timelessness and beauty that transcends generations. 

Below are photos I took of the amazing tiles and doors throughout the Medina.


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