Medina Fez Reviews
Awesome, scary, and very recommended! Jun 07, 2014
The medina in Fez will assault your senses in all directions...smells, brilliant colors, textures, sounds...it's a labyrinth that is best navigated with the help of a knowledgeable guide.
If you have mobility issues, be sure to take a cane or walking stick - the paths through the souk are very uneven (my portable cane really saved my knees).
The buildings look really rough on the outside, but step inside a carpet shop and see really ornate walls and floors (this is a good place to stop for some tea and cool off).
Out of all of Morocco, this was one of my favorite stops!
Part of the Traveling to Exotic Morocco travel blog
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Fez el Bali - Ancient & Cultural Nov 29, 2010
Fez el Bali (Fez the Old) is the eastern portion of the 10th century, wall-protected medina of Fez. Basically, it's a gigantic craftsman workshop & market with over 1000 narrow, dark, low, cobbled, twisting alleyways (derbs), just teeming with sights, smells, colours & Moroccan culture.
Fez has many culturally significant sites, and most of them are in Fez el Bali: The Kairaouine Mosque, Medersa Bouanania (Koranic school), the Zaouia of Moulay Idriss II, the Tanneries and, of course, the vendors' stalls.
The arches, minarets, doorways, tiles and general architecture are *fantastic*. It's completely from another time. Old Fez was designed so that invading armies could not ride animals or manoeuvre masses of troops in the city. Across some derbs, one must still duck to get under ancient timbers crossing alleys (so horses could not get thru). It would take less men to defend a narrow, low alley instead of a broad boulevard...
Unlike Marrakech, there are no cars or scooters (hooray!) allowed in the Fez medina. However, it is darker, more claustrophibic and even more daunting as a 1st timer. Faux guides and husslers are everywhere!
Of course, the vendors will perster and call out to you. If you don't want to engage in conversation (a.k.a - bartering & buying), DON'T MAKE EYE CONTACT and move on. It's not hard to get lost in the crowd again. If you're going to buy something, haggle hard(!) and start at about 1/3 of the price the vendor starts with. If you get it for 1/2 price, you're still getting ripped off, but how bad do you want it?
Obviously, there are shops selling every item you can imagine and workshops everywhere. Textiles, food of all colours & shapes (and smells), trinkets, lanterns, furniture and carpets, carpets, carpets.
The medina's main, outer gates are also very picturesque. The most famous is understandably Bab Boujloud at the western edge.
Having been to both, I would say that the Fez medina is more culturally authentic and less tourist-driven than Marrakech's. Lots of tourists in Marrakech; not so many in Fez. There are still places with loads of people everywhere, but mostly locals instead of wide-eyed pale-faces. I would definitely recommed hiring an official guide for at least a half-day to find your bearings. Expect to get lost without one 1st time in. Lost.
Unforgettable place. Go if you can!
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