Non muslims may not visit a mosque in Fez but they may visit theological colleges like the Madersa Bou Inania. This madera is an exquisite example of 14th century Merinid artisanship and architecture. The zellij glass tile, stucco work, and carved screens are some of the finest examples of artisanship in Morocco.
See the Madersa in the video Fez
The most remarkable sight in Fez, if not Morocco, are the Chouara Tanneries. The Chouara Tanneries are the largest tanneries in Fez and one of the most striking sights in Morocco. It is run by only one family with around 125 members. Little has changed in the production of leather in these tanneries over the last 600 years. The animal skins of cow, sheep, or camel are put into a honeycomb of dried earthen pits where the skins soak in a white concoction of cow urine and pigeon dung for a week so the skins can be softened. After the skins are rinsed with a gigantic washing machine the hair can be scraped off. Then the skins are laid out on the roof tops to sun dry. The last step is to dye the skins in the colorful dying vats where workers tread on the skins to ensure the dye is evenly absorbed. Some Natural dyes are still used to treat some skins, poppy flower for red, indigo for blue, mint for green, and turmeric for yellow; although Chemical dyes are beginning to replace natural dyes to the detriment of the workers. The leather produce here is of very high quality but not necessarily cheap. Be prepared to pay several hundred dollars for a fine leather jacket. These guys certainly worked hard to make it.
See video of the tanneries in the video Fez
Ancient craftsmanship still thrives in Fez. The city’s souks have specialized craft zones where Maalems, or master artisans, can still be seen meticulously working their ancient art with their specialized tools and bare hands. If you allow yourself to meander through the maze of the medina you will stumble upon these artisans and their old world wares. Fassis are master salesmen. There are a few modern twists intermingled.
See video at Fez
Kairouyine mosque has been the centre of Islamic learning in Morocco for more than 1000 years, but its real growth to importance came in the 10th and 12th centuries, when most of its structures were added to to the rather modest original structures.
As a mosque it is rather unusual. Its large quarters have since long grown together with the rest of Fez, and unless you enter it, it is therefore almost impossible to get a grip of its real size. Fortunately there are sometimes doors open that allows non-Muslims to look inside, so that they can at least make a guess.
This is not to be overseen. Yes, it makes for an interesting alternative to the sacred Music Festival also held in Fes.
Free and Ticketed concerts runs over a few days.
Excellent acustics on the square at Bab Boujloud.
Here you will come across modern, sufi, gnaoua... a complete mix of music but the focus is on traditional sufi.
Dar Tazi being one of the main free event venues for this.
You can happily hear enough concerts without payng a penny if you so wish.
Some hotels have terrasses offering views of the square at Bab Boujloud and can be a pleasant alternative to standing amongst the throngs of people.
You will be amazed to hear that these places are much cheaper than most riads which during this festival period offer ridicuously high prices.
This ia an amazing riad in the medina. Recently opened. The first to have a legal alcohol license. Every 2nd week they put on a pool party incl. Nibbles and sangria. Entry DH150,- includes use of pool.
Normal access to pool incl dinner is DH300, so make a day of it.
Your guide will take you to the leatherworks. It is a fascinating view, the man working the leather to make is smooth and give it the desired colors.
Some people can't stand the smell and bring some mint to cover it up. Tell me, is it really that bad?
The Bali, or the oldest quarters of Fez,
were to a large degree saved by the French general Lyautey. When the French got in control of Morocco around the time of World War I, he made all necessary arrangements to protect the medieval structures against the modern development.
The result is that Fez el Bali has taken good care of its old architectural structures and is also very much a living city, where most streets are too narrow for cars and donkeys and mules are in common use. Just like all through its history, Fez el Bali has a striking combination of poverty and developed culture
we had a chance to see old medina in Fes with Abdelkader; he is a licensed tour guide in Fes (ps. avoid the fake ones, you can meet them on the streets, if you wish to spend the day with the real one - ask in your hostel or hotel). Without him it would be impossible to see all these wonders in old medina, the streets are narrow and dark, a real labirynth where you can easily be lost. He showed us madrasah, a lot of mosques (unfortunately if you're not Muslim, you will be not allowed to go inside), the oldest university in the World, which was founded by w woman, the places where leathers are tanned (so famous, but hard to find without a guide) and many more. Abdelkader is funny, but what is the most important - smart and knows a lot about Fes; you can feel safe, in his presence the people on the streets won't force you to see theirs shop etc., which is typical in most of Arabic countries. Abdelkader can speak French, English and Dutch and if you ask him he will recommend you a good restaurant or a good riad as he knows a lot of people not only in Fes. Do not hesitate to ask!