Official language: Arabic, Tamazight
Time zone: UTC +0
Currency: Moroccan dirham (MAD)
The Al-Qarawīyīn (or Al-Karaouine) – a mosque and university in Fez – is considered one of the oldest academic centers in the world. It was founded in the 9th century and is still in operation.
The name “fez” refers also to a type of headdress originated in the city of Fez. It’s a unique conical felt hat topped with a tassel and characteristic ornaments that are worn by men in some Muslim countries.
Riads are traditional Moroccan houses offering accommodation (often with food). Their rich, palace-like interiors provide a perfect example of local material culture.
Upon entering the medina of Fez, you’ll feel as if time has stood still here for centuries. A vast area of the Old Town is characterized by medieval buildings and a dense lattice of narrow streets clogged with people and heavily-laden donkeys. It’s very easy to get lost in the medina. As the locals say, there are several different maps of Fez, but none of them truly reflects the actual infrastructure of the city. In fact, many tourists prefer to wander and lose themselves in the maze-like medina to get a real flavor of local life.
Fez is often considered an outstanding example of a well-preserved medieval town. Just like in the Middle Ages, there are many craftsmen among the city’s inhabitants – you can easily watch them at work. The most popular spots in Fez include, e.g., Chouara Tannery, the 14th-century Madrasa Bou Inania, and Al-Qaraouiyine Mosque.
At every turn of the medina, you’ll find stalls selling copper, wooden and leather goods, as well as patterned carpets or jewelry. It is also here that you can try some local specialties or stock up on oriental herbs and spices. Moroccan cuisine is a mixture of European and African influences. Tagines (stew-like meal) and harira (traditional lentil soup) are the most popular options. To taste the typical regional food and enjoy Moroccan mint tea, choose Chez Rachid (one of the best restaurants in Fez) or Riad Rcif offering a beautiful sweet view of the city. If you’re planning a romantic dinner for two, the best choice would be Jardin Chrifa – a charming place with a beautiful lush garden patio.
There are many nature and wildlife tours organized in Fez, including visits to nature reserves and jeep safari through the Moroccan desert. It’s worth taking a trip to the cities of Meknes, Rabat, and Casablanca, or shelling out for a camel trek. From Fez, you can also set out on a tour of Friouato – the longest and deepest cave in North Africa.