A day trip to meknes a half hour far from Fes.
is worth a visit.you can take the train from fes train station.the ticket is can be purchased from the station.
The trains are clean comfy and arrive and depart on time.
Beni Mellal sits at the foot of Mount Tassemit and is the capital city of the Tadla-Azilal region. You will pass through this area on the way to Fez from Marrakech. There is a restaurant and café on the highway which also has a mineral shop attached to it.
High on the hills overlooking the city are the Merenid Tombs. They were originally built within the walls of the old Merenid Kasbah. There are little remains of the structure and you can only reach the ruins by taking a goat path from the road. If you do make the climb, the views from the top over Fez are supposed to be well worth the effort.
As we drove through the villages I managed to take this photo of carpets belonging to a local house being left to dry after being washed. Something we would never see at home, but common place in Morocco. These carpets would be luxury items in our homes but here in Morocco are treated as common everyday items.
We actually purchased a hall runner rug in Marrakech and are yet to attempt to hand wash such a precious carpet.
Driving from Marrakech to Fes we left the lowland farming districts and climbed the Atlas Mountains which are snowcapped during winter. As it was September and the end of summer we did not see any snow, however the terrain was rugged and bare, with little grass and some some subsistance farmers with their small flocks of sheep and goats.
However we passed some large lakes, possibly dams which capture the water from the melted snow and provide irrigation for the rich farmlands which we had driven through for several hours after departing Marrakech.
On the road to Fes we passed through many towns and villages, always with the camera ready for that unusual photo, and there were many. The wall around this primary school has been put to use to help children learn their numbers.
Far better than graffiti, can we learn something from this!
A few kilometers south of Fes by petit taxi is a excellent pottery/tile artisan area.
From my journal:
We entered their small workshop and found two rows of crouched men chipping tiles with hammers. Their ‘work stations’ were haphazard piles of rocks, blocks and tiles that had no perceptible functionality; as though their fathers’ fathers had stacked the blocks generations ago and the men saw no reason to question or improve upon their fathers’ design.
The delicate sound of clinking tile filled the air as each man carefully tapped his hammer against a fired tile, chipping off a precise triangle or a diamond or a complex geometric shape. As I noticed the bags and bags of the shapes surrounding them I imagined crouching awkwardly like this hour after hour, day after day, chipping out bag after bag of blue triangles or yellow diamonds. How uncomfortable and tedious and monotonous and dull: my knees aching and my day’s highlight coming when the boss tells me to switch from blue triangles to yellow diamonds. The guy to my left telling and re-telling the same joke about the camel and the tent maker, the guy to my right with his endless complaints about his wife’s cooking: “She can’t even boil couscous!”, the guy across from me constantly complaining “I hate these cursed yellow stars, why do I always have to make the yellow stars? How come Ahmad always gets the easy shapes?”
To me, their occupation looked like the job from hell, but the men joked and chatted, seemingly content with their careers. They were probably following their father’s lead, proud of their ability to rapidly cut the precise shapes that would one day become beautiful zelije.
As we nodded goodbye, one of the younger men smiled shyly and handed Kareen a small tile cut into the shape of a heart.
It's dark, scary and a bit dangerous.
So, cross yourself and plunge into the cave-like medina of Fes.
Anything could happen and that's what will make it fun to do at 1 in the morning.
* This is only for the fit, the bold and the reckless. Don't do it if your big idea of life is just living it.
Off The Beaten Path Tips? Find them here
Catch a grand taxi outside of Fes (about 130 Dh for the whole cab unless others are going out that way) and experience the intensity of Moulay Bouchta. This is not a bright little tourist town with everyone jumping to greet you. This town has the feel of a Riffian stronghold; proud, independent, and brave. Timing your visit to the Moussem of Moulay Bouchta (before Ramadan) would be ideal but anytime of the year would be good hiking and exploring for this small town.
Moulay Bouchta is, of course, a village of itself - and indeed, not connected to Fes. Because of it's proximity to Fes, I listed it here for those die hard hikers who are ready for more after Zalagh.
The ville nouvelle is lovely to me. It doesn't have any of the feel of ancient mystery or magic but it has great examples of creativity in commercial architecture in Fes and an island of country, which brings us to this tip. If you are staying at or near the Grand Hotel near the garden a short walk will take you to this stretch of country. It is where I run every morning...
Formerly one of the town houses of the vizier family El-Moqri, the Dar El Moqri is now a school for arts and crafts in building trade.
It has a beautifully restored court with orange trees and a fountain. From here you have a pretty view on the houses of Fès. Inside the house you can admire beautiful "zellije" works (hand cut tiles) and a hall with wooden inlays and carvings, serving sometimes as an auditorium.
The Dar El Moqri is located in Fès El Bali, a 10 min walk from the museum Dar Batha. It's a bit hidden in the tangle of the streets, but you can ask your way through. There is no official open access for tourists, but you may ask the gard, if he will let you have a look.
(Don't confuse the "Dar El Moqri" with the "Palais Taib El Moqri", another famous town house of the family, which you can rent in part for special occasions.)
L'Institut de Formation des Métiers Traditionnels du Bâtiment;
Dar El Moqri;
12-14, Rue Oued Souaffine;
Just one of the many mosques in teh medina, Ash Sherabliyin Mosque sticks in my mind as we passed it during the call to prayer. Though we weren't allowed enter, it was interesting to see the men hurying to the mosque as the call went out and we did get to look inside the doors. The mosque takes its name from the slipper makers who work in this area.
The Chouaras Tanneries are what most visitors to Fes see, but there is a smaller tannery near Place an Nejjerine. From this square, take the path to the left near the museum, and at the end of the narrow street, you'll come upon some shops selling leather. If you climb the stairs in one of these shops you can look out over the tannery. There is probably another way to see the tannery but without a guide it will be difficult to find.
A medersa is a religious building where students study muslim law and theology. It usually has an open courtyard, with a fountain (for ablutions) in the centre and students rooms overlooking the courtyard.
Andalus medersa was the first one I saw in Morocco and though by no means the most visited or celebrated of the many medersa's in Fes, or indeed Morocco, it was one of my favourites. Not too many tourists make it to the Andalus quarter and we had the whole of the medersa to ourselves. It's so quiet and peaceful in here that it's difficult to believe that only a door separates you from the madness of the medina outside.