Second largest city in Morocco, Fez will surprise you with a rich culture and character. Dubbed the “Mecca of the West”, you will experience an array of culture coming from the Arabs, the Tunisians and the Andalusians.
What to see and photograph in Fez
1-Medina Fes El Bali
Definitely, the number one place to visit while you are in Fez, is the old medina.
Fes El Bali is since 1981, a World Heritage Site and one of the world’s largest car-free area.
It has been founded between 789 and 808 AD.
Inside the medina, you will get lost! But the good sense of the term. Between historical monument, architecture and souks.
We spent an entire day walking inside the Medina and thank god, a friend of us was local so she knew the place a bit.
At this point, I had my NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8 on my body, and I can’t recommend enough for you to take your sharpest lens, with the lowest aperture, to add some blur on your photos to create a sense of depth.
2-University of Al Quaraouiyine
Inside the old medina, you will find what is believed to be the oldest University, still active, in the world.
The University of Al Qarawiyyin, founded in 859 is concentrated to Islamic religious and legal science.
Students are aged between 13 and 30 and study towards high school diploma. The prospects students must be Muslim and been able to memorise the Qur’an in full!
As well as a renowned university, Al Quaraouiyine is a mosque. The largest in Africa, able to contain 22000 worshipers.
As most mosque in Morocco, only Muslims are allowed to enter. So here are few shots from my friend Fatima.
3-Zaouia Moulay Idriss II
The Zaouia house the body of Moulay Idriss II, founder of the city of Fez and who ruled between 807 and 828.
His body or what is believed to be his body. In 1308, so 5 centuries after his death, a body is found and the people believe it to be the one of the deceased emir. Originally built in 1440, the building was rebuilt almost entirely in the XVIII century.
It is today, considered to be the holiest place in Fez.
4-Bou Inania Madrasa
A madrasa in Arabic is an educational institution, religious or not.
In this case, the Bou Inania served as a mosque. It was founded between 1351-56 AD and quickly became one of the most important religious institutions in Fez and Morocco. The monument has been renovated during the XVIII since then.
It is one of a few mosque in Morocco open to non-Islamic people.
5- Leather tanning
Ever wonder how leather is clean, dyed and dried? The answer is at this tanning. Some of them are as old as 1000 years old and the process hasn’t changed since. All manually. The hides from cows, camels, sheep and camels are used here.
The tanners use cow urine and pigeon poo to clean the leather! Yes, veridic. Thus a HORRIBLE smell.
If you want to visit, ask a salesman in a leather shop for a tour and they will provide you with springs of mint to overcome the smell.
6- Jnan sbil garden
After a day in a frenzy Fez, I couldn’t recommend enough to visit the Jnan Sbil Garden. It will give you a good breath of fresh air, much needed after visiting the leather tannery, trust me!
And gardens are a great opportunity to get into macro photography. It also gives you an environment to be super creative> and that’s what I love about gardens. Playing with the colours, the light, the composition, the depth of field.
And that ends my journey through Morocco.
I hope you enjoyed viewing the blog, the pictures as much as I enjoyed making them.
I hope I inspired you making a visit to Morocco, with your camera! A country with a deep traditional history and culture, a great architecture, beautiful people, an attractive weather all year long, and a cheap destination.
I couldn’t recommend it enough.
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