Fez in Morocco: in the alleys of a labyrinthine medina

Fez in Morocco: in the alleys of a labyrinthine medina

My encounter with the imperial city of Fez was very intense.

You know a wave breaking on the rocks? Here, such a thing.

Fez, in my itinerary in Morocco, came immediately after the silence and peace of the desert, days in the middle of nowhere; you understand that I had to reconnect suddenly with the complex and chaotic Moroccan world, which was not easy at all.

From being the only car on the road I went to not knowing which way to look, who to give priority to. I stop? I'll go, you go, no he passes by. In short, it was a quick return to stress and finding a parking space was not as easy as I hoped.

In the hustle and bustle of Fez I managed to find a parking space in front of the Gare Routiére Main, 100 dirhams for 2 nights thanks to the parking attendants ... abusive or non abusive? I honestly don't know but given the related stress of Fez traffic I didn't think twice about leaving the car off.

Visit Fez in Morocco

Fez doesn't seem to have filters, the medina absorbs you, you could spend months and months in the labyrinthine alleys. And yet, life within it flows frenetically. Everyone, except tourists, knows their street, their destination, their little door to enter. Fez in Morocco: in the alleys of a labyrinthine medina

A street in Fez

The first piece of advice I would like to give you is to ask, perhaps at your hotel, for the contact of an official guide that makes you discover the city in complete tranquility.

Fez is a fascinating labyrinth (As Marrakech but much more chaotic), getting lost is a moment, it is a city to be understood, to be understood little by little without having to stop every 5 seconds to look at a map. It goes savored in all its neighborhoods with someone who knows how to tell you anecdotes, curiosities and glimpses of everyday life. I am convinced that many places can be visited without a guide, but in others the guide is not only necessary but also an added value. And for Fez it is a double added value.

This time I won't go into detail on what to see or what to do, I think Fez is more to be interpreted and admired.

In the medina of Fez you can find everything, it is an ecosystem in itself. Suffice it to say that our guide's father has always lived inside the walls, he has never moved.

Fez in Morocco: in the alleys of a labyrinthine medina
A man at work in the production of fabrics

To try to understand Fez you have to walk through its alleys paying attention to the various donkeys (the most used means of transport) and visit the various craft areas. The one where wood is worked, that of grinders, fabrics, fish, fruit; each area has its own characteristic. And so, turning and turning through the various alleys, you can not help but rely on your guide, thus appreciating all the peculiarity of Fez.

One of the most interesting places in Fez is certainly the area of Chouara tanneries where the leathers are treated with the use of natural dyes. Fez in Morocco: in the alleys of a labyrinthine medina

Tanneries workers at work

Here, every day the various employees immerse themselves in the various pools and work the hides. To see the tanneries just go up one of the balconies. Fez in Morocco: in the alleys of a labyrinthine medina

The tanneries of Fez

At that height it already feels decidedly stink, although thanks to the sprig of mint it is quite bearable. The balconies are obviously the back of the leather goods shops, all beautiful and of extreme quality and all obviously for sale. But I didn't feel like buying anything, I didn't feel like feeding a business linked to the killing of animals.

To me Fez liked a lot in all its aspects, even the most extreme ones and of which I will always remember such as the evening of my arrival in the medina: I leave the hotel and go to the first kiosk where everything is sold. I ask for bread and the boy hands me 1 sandwich for 1 dirham. At that point I ask if he has any cheese, the usual, inevitable and omnipresent soft cheeses in aluminum foil. He takes the bread, cuts it in half and begins to unwrap the cheese. The first is ok, the second feels the blow and falls to the ground at his feet. Well, I tell myself, let's hope you throw it away. But no, he scrutinizes it and after a completely questionable quality analysis he puts it in my sandwich. I am thrilled. He smears. I am more and more thrilled. He hands me the bread. End of a sad story.

Oh well, but this also happens while traveling, obviously I haven't eaten the sandwich but this will still remain an anecdote to tell. This is also why we travel, our memories grow and sometimes we think about it and make us smile.

I usually identify the various cities with things to see, but not with Fez, no, with Fez will be a mixture of memories and sensations and, perhaps, sometimes, it is much much better that way.

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