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The Ancient Walled City - Fez, Morocco

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Famously known as the ancient walled city, Fez is often compared to Jerusalem. The medieval capital of Morocco, Fez is where Ibn Battuta returned to in 1349 after Hajj. He then left Fez again to visit the lands of Niger across the Sahara Desert. The city was founded in 790 AD by Moulay Idriss II and has been continuously inhabited since the 10th century.

Fez is one of the four imperial cities of Morocco and has three separate parts, namely Fez el Bali (the old, walled city), Fez-Jdid (new Fez) and the Ville Nouvelle (latest section of Fez). Fez el Bali has been declared as the UNESCO World Heritage Site and is thought to be the largest car-free urban area.

The ornate beauty of the city catches the eyes of travelers instantly. As they travel through the city, soaring minarets and the fine architecture of Masaajid and Madrasas can be viewed. The city has for long been the soul of Morocco and reminds travelers of the stories of Aladdin and the Arabian Nights. The best time to visit Fez is during the spring or autumn when the weather is dry and favorably warm.

The main attraction of Fez is the Fez el Bali. Wander around the winding alleys and see some historic monuments and overwhelming architecture. The two main alleys in Fes-el-Bali are Talaa Kebira and the Talaa Seghir; both these alleys open at the main gate of Bab Bou Jeloud. Fez has a number of city gates allowing entry to the ancient town. The Bab Bou Jeloud, the western gate is decorated with brilliant architecture. Another gate is the Bab Er Rsif, which is the central gate.

Located in the heart of the Medina (Old Fez) is the huge Kairaouine Masjid and Library. This Masjid has been the center for Islamic learning for over a thousand years. The shrine of Moulay Idriss II is one of the holiest buildings in the city. There are three museums worth visiting including the Nejarine Museum of Wooden Arts and Crafts, Dar Batha Museum and Belghazi Museum.

Old Fez also has two Madrasas that are important to visit due to their history and architecture: the Madarsa Bou Inania and the Madarsa el-Attarine. Outside Old Fez, placed on a hill, is the Merenid Tomb which travelers can visit. The Dar al-Magana is also a beautiful place to explore.

The market near the main Bab Bou Jeloud has several Halal restaurants and is surrounded by a number of cafes, hotels and restaurants selling yummy food. Most of the restaurants in Fez provide Halal food; however it is important to inquire before eating, as quite a number of eateries also allow the sale of alcohol.

Fez is thought to be the handicraft capital of Morocco and there are a number of shops selling brassware, copperware and leather goods. Travelers can also visit the cobalt-blue ceramic factories in the city and also take a tour of the tanneries in Old Fez.

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Morocco Info

ADMINISTRATIVE CAPITAL: Rabat

COMMERCIAL CAPITAL: Casablanca

GEOGRAPHY

A mountainous North African country sharing boarders with Algeria, Mauritania and Spain Morocco owns a land area of 446,550km² and a coastline closer to 1835 km's.

DEMOGRAPHY

A population of close to 32.5 Million. Muslims account for about 99% of the population.

CLIMATE

At morocco Temperature ranges based on the season, Summer average will be around 38°C (100.4°F) While winter average temperature will come down to 21°C (69.8°F). In mountainous areas like Atlas range tend to have minus values throughout most of the year. Northern Morocco experience Rain and a wet season during winter while certain areas at south will be cold and dry.

LANGUAGES SPOKEN

Arabic and Amazigh are the two official languages. French ,Spanish and Engllish are considerd the main foreign languages.

LOCAL TIME

GMT +0:00

BUSINESS HOURS

Government: 8:30 AM to 6:30 PM
General: 8:30 AM to 6:30 PM

HOLIDAYS
New year's Day : January 1st
Proclamation of Independence : January 11th
Labour Day : May 1st
Enthronement : July 30th
Qued Ed-Dahab Day : Augest 14th
Revolution of the king and the people : Augest 20th
Green March : November 6th
Independence Day : November 18th

Based on the lunar calandar:
Muharram 1st
Birth of the Prophet  Muhammad
Id-ul-Fitr
Id-ul-Adha

CURRENCY

Moroccan Dirham

IMPORTANT PHONE NUMBERS

Police: 117
Medical/Fire: 15

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