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I really loved Morocco and particularly Fez. It is a very exotic city that is one of the world’s last pockets of medieval civilization. It has beautiful mosques, madrassas and palaces and its trades and crafts have been the same for centuries. There is the New Town and Old Fez which consists of Fez el Bali and Fez el Jdid. I focused on the Old Town as I really had no interest in the New.

Here is what I enjoyed:

The Medina, which is an UNESCO World Heritage Site, is amazing. It is really a medieval town, with the hustle and bustle of small shops, mosques, donkeys delivering goods, great antique stores and traditional trades and crafts. I would hire a guide as you might never find your way out of the narrow, winding streets. Dar Tijani is a great place for lunch. It is in the middle of the Medina. The Moroccan salads were great.

Bab Boujeloud: The main gate or entrance to the Medina with beautiful tiles and decorations.

Kairaouine Mosque: This was founded in 859 and was one of the largest mosques in North Africa or the Maghreb. It is also one of the largest religious teaching centers dating from the 10th century. It is beautifully decorated.

Attarine Medersa: This is the most beautiful medersa in Fez with its tile and stucco work throughout.

Nejjarine Fountain: Located in the Place Nejjarine, or carpenters souk, this fountain is the focal point of the square with beautiful tile mosaics.

Place Seffarine: Devoted to the metal workers, this is one of the prettiest in the Medina.

Chouaras Tanneries: Not having changed since medieval times, I thought the tannery quarter was one of the most interesting areas of the Medina. I particularly liked the views from above of the huge stone vats with red, yellow and brown dyes.

Check out the many antique stores. I found great antique painted boxes, silver Koran boxes and other great decorative accessories. You can also find beautiful ceramics. Fez pottery is tin-glazed earthenware decorated with predominantly cobalt-blue designs. Also look for Berber tribal or kilim rugs. They are really amazing. I bought three wonderful pieces.

For dining, the restaurants at the Hotel Palais Jamai were excellent. My favorite was the Restaurant Al Fassia serving traditional Moroccan dishes in a stunning room. Dinner by the pool at Palais Sheherazade is also a must.

For other dining in the Medina, Epicurious.com recommends the Palais Amani Riad.

The book 1000 Places to See Before You Die recommends the annual Festival of World Sacred Music. It takes place in June.

I have two wonderful Moroccan guides. They are Jalil Braoul at jalil_102@hotmail.com and Saida Ezzahoui at saidam@hotmail.com. They are both based in Fez.

 

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