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The Imperial City of Fez, Morocco

Home » Places to Visit in Morocco » The Imperial City of Fez, Morocco

Colourful Mosaic Tiles inside Fez Hotel, MoroccoFez in Morocco conjures up images of culture and colour, history and philosophy. Fez is the oldest of Morocco’s imperial cities and is certainly the most impressive. The old town is a world heritage site and is home to the world’s oldest university.  It was a place for scholars and learning, attracting philosophers from all around the world. Fez still attracts philosophers, as well as backpackers, honeymooners, adventure travellers and foodies.  It’s a busy, colourful and vibrant town and one we feel you should visit!

The four imperial cities of Morocco are Fez, Meknes, Marrakech and Rabat. Fez was founded in 789 and has served as Morocco’s capital city through the ages, although the capital city today is Rabat.  A few days in Fez are unforgettable, although it is advised to travel with a guide.  The narrow roads in the old town can be confusing, with fruit and vegetable sellers, donkey carts, street food stalls and sometimes, pandemonium.  Blind alleys lead to squares with stunning fountains, the doorways are gorgeous and the artisans interesting.

There are several hotels and riads in Fez which we recommend as part of our Morocco Tours & Holidays.  It is easy to spend a few days here, sightseeing, eating and shopping, taking in the sounds and the scents, and meeting the local people.  Close to a hundred thousand people live in the Fez medina, the old town, and as we said, it can be busy! Some of the places you should include on your visit are:-

  • The Chaouwara Tanneries
  • Medersa Bou Inania
  • Art Naji
  • Jnan Sbi
  • The Royal Palace
  • Ibn Danan Synagogue
  • Rue de Merinides
  • The Mejjarine Museum

Fez is also an interesting city to visit if you are on a Jewish heritage pilgrimage. People are friendly, the city is safe, but it can be tricky to get around and it is easy to get lost!  Saying that, it is a fascinating city, especially with its history and culture, and being home to the oldest university in the world is quite something. Any scholar should take a visit to the university, at least to see the architecture and to learn about the various people who studied and visited.

Food and drink are fabulous in Fez and there are rooftop restaurants, outdoor food stalls, trendy coffee shops as well as fine dining. There are a couple of very famous restaurants and it’s a good idea to book in advance to these.

There are guided walking tours of the medina, the old city, and all you need are a good pair of walking shoes, a hat and sunblock.  You can visit the blue city of Chefchaouen from Fez, which is highly recommended.  Don’t forget your camera, Chefchaouen is fascinating and you can walk and wander for hours.  You may choose to overnight here too and we can make the arrangements for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Fez Morocco known for?2022-10-03T10:34:12+00:00

Fez is Morocco’s oldest city and is known for its leather tannery, medina, and shops. The medina is a walled medieval city that is home to narrow streets and markets where you can find everything from food to rugs to souvenirs. The leather tannery in Fez has been in operation for centuries, it is famous for its blue-dyed leather and still uses traditional methods of production. If you’re looking for a unique shopping experience, Fez is the place to be.

Is Fez the oldest city in Morocco?2022-10-03T10:32:02+00:00

Fez, located in north-central Morocco, is often cited as the oldest city in the country. The city was founded in 789 by Idriss I and served as the capital of Morocco for more than 500 years. The city’s medieval architecture and narrow streets have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

How far is Fez from Marrakech by train?2022-10-03T10:31:29+00:00

The train ride between Fez and Marrakech is around 255 kilometres, or 158 miles. The trip usually takes around 4 hours and 30 minutes on the direct route but can take significantly longer if there are delays or disruptions.

There are two main rail lines connecting Fez and Marrakech – the Rif line and the Atlas line. The Rif line is a more scenic route that winds its way along the north coast of Morocco, while the Atlas line is a more direct route through the High Atlas Mountains. Both routes are picturesque and offer travellers wonderful views of rural Morocco.

How far is Fez from Marrakech by train?2022-10-03T10:30:25+00:00

The train ride between Fez and Marrakech is around 255 kilometers, or 158 miles. The trip usually takes around 4 hours and 30 minutes on the direct route, but can take significantly longer if there are delays or disruptions.

There are two main rail lines connecting Fez and Marrakech – the Rif line and the Atlas line. The Rif line is a more scenic route that winds its way along the north coast of Morocco, while the Atlas line is a more direct route through the High Atlas Mountains. Both routes are picturesque and offer travelers wonderful views of rural Morocco.

What language is spoken in Fez Morocco?2022-10-03T10:29:40+00:00

The official language spoken in Fez, Morocco is Arabic. However, many locals also speak a dialect called Darija which is a combination of Arabic and Spanish. In general, Darija is more commonly spoken in the rural areas, while Arabic is more commonly used in the cities. Also, due to the city’s history and diversity, many other languages are spoken there. These include Berber, French and Spanish.

2022-10-03T10:35:52+00:00

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