More Fes, Morocco

By Ali Karim
This post is part of a series called Morocco May 2017
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The next morning, we were fed typical Moroccan breakfast of fresh squeezed orange juice, mint tea /coffee, bread with butter/jam/marmalade, and small fried paratha’s. Very nice. Moroccan’s don’t eat eggs for breakfast.

Then we made our way into the Medina to explore it various nooks and crannies. Mohammed gave us basic pointers on how to find our way back. Since there are so many small gully’s all over the Median, it is very easy to lose one’s bearings and get lost. That is part of the magic of exploring Fes.

The Gulley’s are typically about 8-10ft wide, with houses or shops spilling into the gulley, with shopkeepers calling the passerby’s into their shops. There are people, donkey’s and carts laden with goods, walking in both directions, and people on bicycles and scooters riding to their destinations; all sharing the same narrow gulleys.

So very busy and crowded scenes all around, with people going about their business and commerce being conducted all around. Mosques were also frequent along the gulley’s, and the Adhan call for prayer made it even busier as more people spilled onto the gulley’s to go to the mosque. Very nice atmosphere that has been there for a thousand years.

Typical Medina scene

Typical busy gulley’s with shops on both sides

Mohammed took us to Bab Bou Jeloud which is another area of Fes el Bali, and suggested that we walk back from this area to the old Medina; and recommended various sites to visit along the way. All these attractions were ones we had selected, based on recommended in our guide book, so off we went. Below are some scenes from those attractions.

At the most famous Bab Bou Jeloud gate of Medina, where the King has a palace.

Another famous gate Bab Chorfa

Crepes being prepared, with fresh local sweets on sale

Typical gulley restaurants

Gulley watering hole scene. Taps like these on left were available regularly in the Medina for drinking and other uses.

Old Traditional door and stairs leading to the home

Anyone recognize this fruit?

We then headed to the Medersa Bou Inania; which is an old learning institution (literally; place of study) where they had classrooms, student quarters and of course, a mosque.

Not much to see here, since it was not a functioning school, but rather a museum. Contrary to popular views, the Medersa taught not only Islam+Koran, but also math, sciences and arts. These were the original “university’s” in the Muslim world.

Clowning around with a young Chinese tourist at the Medersa

Outside the Medersa was a water clock, which was not in use and closed, but used to be a real clock run by water, to tell the time.

Back into the street, we went to visit the FondoukelNejjarine

Our kind of watering hole; stop for fresh squeezed orange juice

Horse/donkey’s, scooters, people and shops everywhere in the gulley

Interestingly, we found the commerce in some areas to be “specialized”; like multiple leather good workshops in one area; and metal workshops hammering pots/pans and decorative brassware in another area.

These were called Fondouks, or old caravanserai (old time places where travelling traders would stayfoundu in overnight upstairs, with stables for their camels, donkeys and horses below, in an enclosed area, where their good for trade would be safe; a kind of motel from the olden days) which were now being used for multiple of these shops and small factories.


Fondouk for making leather products

Typical old Fonduk’s for processing animal skins/hides

Side street gulley with houses

Typical Mosque’s along the Medina gulley’s


More locals

Typical Mosque entrance with ablution washing area

Small food stall that was selling delicious potato (batata) curry; my kind of place

Workshop where shoes were being made with leather from the Fonduk’s

View of  from a rooftop terrace. Note the many satellite dishes, & the mosque minarets, which were all square in design

With friendly local fresh orange juice stand owner, who loved hindi movies and songs

Tourist Posing at a brass lamp shops

We then headed to the Zaouia Moulay Idriss ll; or shrine of Moulay Idriss ll.

Moulay was the “title” used by some prominent people if they could claim direct descendancy from Prophet Mohammed. Moulay’s were then revered as they claimed direct lineage from the prophet. This shrine was much more liberal than other mosques in the area; and there were plenty of people here relaxing and enjoying the shrine and mosque.

The shrine of Moulay Idriss; people chilling and relaxing

At the entrance to the shrine

With some local tourists at the Moulay Idris shrine; in front of Moulay Idris’s tomb

A more civilized part of the Souk


The Place Seffarine metal-work souk; where all metal products were being (hand) made and sold

Next is the visit to the Fes Tanneries and Fes Sufi Music festival

This entry was posted in Africa, Morocco, Morocco May 2017

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