Morocco - Fes

Fes is the 2nd largest city in Morocco with 1.1 million people, and holds one of the largest medinas in the world. The medina is an old part of town where cars are prohibited and the narrow streets are lined with shops. People from all over the world travel to Fes to experience the controlled chaos of the medina in hopes of finding that perfectly unique souvenir. Leather goods, pottery, and textiles are just a few of the staple pieces that you will walk away with.

Old city of Fes.

Old city of Fes.

As you enter the city of Fes, your senses explode with the sights, sounds, and smells of the medina. The winding streets are alive with people buying and selling goods and you instantly feel like you are taken back in time. Whether you are looking for food or durable goods, the medina is the place to get it. Each shop is packed to the ceiling with merchandise, and the "democratic" prices get your blood pumping as you haggle to work out the best possible deal.  

The narrow streets of the medina.

The narrow streets of the medina.

Custom made shoes.

Custom made shoes.

Vendor selling fresh herbs.

Vendor selling fresh herbs.

Vendor selling fresh nuts and spices.

Vendor selling fresh nuts and spices.

Fresh msemen bread.

Fresh msemen bread.

Snails and olives

Snails and olives

Camel head stew anyone?

Camel head stew anyone?

No vehicles are allowed in the medina, so vendors use donkeys to transport merchandise to shops.

No vehicles are allowed in the medina, so vendors use donkeys to transport merchandise to shops.

The leather tanneries are a must see in Fes. The smell is repulsive, but you won't see anything like it anywhere else. Workers will take themselves and full cow hides into the toxic dye pools to tint the leather. Be sure to bring a sprig of mint to hold over your nose!

Workers dying cow hides will others hang out to dry.

Workers dying cow hides will others hang out to dry.

Mint leaves help cut the smell of the hides as they dry.

Mint leaves help cut the smell of the hides as they dry.

The mosaics are absolutely stunning in Morocco. A must see in Fes is the making of these mosaics as well as their pottery. True artists of their craft, much of the tile work and pottery are molded, assembled, and painted my hand.   

The famous Al-Attarine Madrasa mosaic walls.

The famous Al-Attarine Madrasa mosaic walls.

Detail of the Al-Attarine Madrasa tile work.

Detail of the Al-Attarine Madrasa tile work.

An artist molding a chalice out of clay.

An artist molding a chalice out of clay.

A finished clay chalice sits out to dry.

A finished clay chalice sits out to dry.

Pottery set out to dry before being painted.

Pottery set out to dry before being painted.

hand painting a pattern on a bowl.

hand painting a pattern on a bowl.

Paint for the pottery.

Paint for the pottery.

Hand painting water pitchers.

Hand painting water pitchers.

The textile market is an amazing thing to see. The bright colors of fine silk fill the shelves while artisans hand weave rugs, blankets, scarves and the traditional garmet called, djellaba.

Handmade blanket.

Handmade blanket.

An artisan working on a garment.

An artisan working on a garment.

Your pick of color and size.

Your pick of color and size.

Thread ready for use.

Thread ready for use.

A loom in the process of making a blanket.

A loom in the process of making a blanket.

Fes is a must see in Morocco. The rich culture, mosaic archways, old medina shopping center, and beautiful handmade goods are one of a kind. After a few hours of wondering in the labyrinth of the medina, I was ready to head out. Before leaving I had to stop and see the amazing Blue Gate of Fes (Bab Bou Jeloud)!

Bab Bou Jeloud - The Blue Gate, entrance to the old medina.

Bab Bou Jeloud - The Blue Gate, entrance to the old medina.

The Blue Gate archways.

The Blue Gate archways.