THE MEDINA OF FES IS ONE OF THE LARGEST AND BEST PRESERVED OLD TOWNS IN THE ARAB WORLD
Founded by Idris I in 789 AD, Fès is the third- largest city in Morocco with over 1 million inhabitants. Alongside Meknès, Marrakech and Rabat, it is the oldest of the so-called four royal cities. Even today, the Medina enchants visitors from all over the world with its special atmosphere, which was created thanks to the long and multicultural history that is still evident in every corner.
After Idris II founded a new settlement called al-Aliya on the other bank of the Wadi Fez River in 809 AD, the city was historically divided into two parts. The real rise began in 817 when refugees from Andalusia in Spain settled on one side and displaced families from Kairouan in Tunisia settled on the other. The thriving settlement grew to its present size by the 13th century and was the country’s first capital until 1912. Even when the capital moved to Rabat, Fès retained its place as a cultural and spiritual center.
The Al-Karaouine University, which is considered to be the oldest university in the world, also contributed to its good reputation. It was founded in 859 AD and is considered the center of education in the Islamic world.In 1963, it received the title of a University status and today, like Fès, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Al-Karaouine Mosque, which belongs to the university, is built relatively simply, but impresses with its size and is one of the largest mosques on the African continent.
The special charm of this city is created by ornate ornaments, architecture and mosaics with great attention to detail, which characterize the cityscape and are reminiscent of bygone times and fairy tales like those from 1001 Nights. The gate at the entrance to Fes Al Bali, the old town, is the famous Bab Bou Jeloud city gate, decorated with blue and green mosaics, it is one of the most important symbols of Morocco. The blue color symbolizes the city of Fès and the green color for Islam.
Magnificent palaces and mosques, artistic fountains and gates, numerous colorful markets with fresh dates and olives, spices and even beguiling perfumes captivate every visitor with a mesmerizing mix of smells, colors and sounds. Mopeds are the only vehicles allowed to drive in the winding streets, that even the locals call a labyrinth. The entire Medina was declared a pedestrian zone and is considered the largest of its type in the world. All transport is therefore carried out with donkeys, mules and handcarts, as has been the case for centuries
Read the full article in Issue 18