Fes: The Most Ancient of Imperial Cities in the Muslim World

No trip to Morocco is complete without a stay in Fes, the most ancient of Imperial Cities anywhere in the Muslim world. This is a city that has been the spiritual and political capital of Morocco for over 1,000 years since its inception by Moulay Idriss.

The golden age of Fes was in the Middle Ages, when it was at the centre of political, cultural and religious life in Morocco and beyond – throughout the Muslim World. Medieval Europeans who wrote about Fes were in awe of this “citadel” of mathematics, philosophy and medicine.

Today, Fes is unmissable as a spectacle: this is a city that still exists suspended between the Middle Ages and modern life. The Medina (ancient town) has retained much of its medieval soul, spirit and architecture. You will discover narrow alleys and wilding streets leading to enclosed courtyards and arched gateways. The architecture is intricate with courtyards created of lavish marble and intricate tile and medrassas (religious schools) surrounded by fountains of carved plaster with quotes from the Koran.

The medina’s souks will fill you with unfiltered odours of crafts formed using methods from the medieval past. The most famous of these is the dyers’ souk, where cloth and yarn is dried over ancient cauldrons of multicoloured dyes.

The greatest joy of visiting Fes is perhaps the cheer simplicity of just walking around and discovering its treasures yourself. You might get lost in the maze of alleyways and narrow streets, but you’ll sure stumble into a palace, a souk, a madrassa or a riad. This is the best of tourism taken to the extreme! .