The Blue Gate was our grand gateway into the Fes medina. On our arrival, we thankfully followed our host as he weaved his way through the bustling maze of alleys and stepped through an unassuming door into the beautifully decorated courtyard of our riad (traditional Moroccan home converted into a bed and breakfast style hotel). Thankfully, because there is no way we would have arrived at all without his expert navigational assistance!
On first impressions it seems like time has stopped here. That today the medina looks, smells and tastes like it has done for 1000s of years. Our eyes feasted on the fruit and vegetable markets (we were less excited by the freshly prepared ready-to-eat goats’ heads), we inhaled the sweet fresh smell of baskets of rose petals and lapped up the 50c pints of freshly squeezed orange juice.
Our tour of Fes took us outside the medina to a stunning viewpoint so that we could get a birds-eye view on the ancient city, which our guide boasted is home to the oldest university in the world. From old Fes to new, we continued to the King’s Palace, where we were only allowed to view the gates, which were spectacularly designed, the inside left to our imagination. Boaz was in good form and almost got himself arrested by taking a photo in the wrong direction!
We spent some time getting to know Jewish Fes, visiting the Jewish cemetery, museum and synagogue, all of which were more or less in good condition. We were also had the great fortune to make a new local friend who has made a documentary about Moroccan Judaism (if you are interested you can watch it here). Youness, like most people we met, explained that Jews and Muslims in the most part have lived peacefully together in Morocco and there is a rich history of friendly co-existence.
The other amazing part of Fes is that it is the craft centre of Morocco. Visiting the local factories gave us an insight into how ceramics, perfumes and leather are made and also how unbelievably talented the craftspeople are.
Cooking bowls big enough to swim in…
Last but not least, our favourite cafe!!