‘So much to do, so much to see, so little time…’ perfectly defines our time in Fes. While many travelers spend 3 or 4 days here; we barely stitched together 1 night + 1 day to = 24 hours.
We did – however – cover a lot of ground in those 24 hours! So in much the same manner that we SPRINTED through the world’s largest medina, we’re going to take you all on a fast-paced-photo-montage-marathon-tour through the city also known as The Mecca of the West.
travelhelix trivia: we mentioned earlier that Fes is sometimes referred to as The Mecca of the West. As it turns out, Fes also has a 2nd nickname: The Athens of Africa. Acropolis, anyone?
Let the Shopping Commence!
Stop #1: Pottery
The Pottery Quarter of Fes is located outside the medina in an area called Ain Nokbi. We visited one of the many pottery cooperatives that operate in the area, where we observed every step of the pottery manufacturing process. Very cool experience!
The Fassi pottery of Fes is considered locally as the best in Morocco, and globally as some of the best in the world. So – what makes Fassi pottery unique?
- grey clay: rich with magnesium, the local grey clay is much stronger than the more commonly-used red clay, which is rich with iron.
- olive pits: the kilns used to fire the pottery are fueled by olive pits, which burn at the high temperatures needed for grey clay. The olive pits used in the pottery industry are provided by the olive oil industry – what a great use of resources and effort to minimize waste!
- two times: every piece of pottery is fired twice in the kiln. The second round of firing is said to provide added strength.
Stop #2: Berber Carpets
Back inside the medina walls, we visited a Berber carpet cooperative where we saw some breathtaking carpets & rugs, and observed one local artisan hard at work.
Stop #3: Leather Tannery
The Chouara Tannery of Fes has been operating for over 1000 years, and very little has changed over time. The rich colors of the all-natural dying pits still match those used generations ago:
- red: poppy flower
- orange: henna
- brown: cedar wood
- green: wild mint
- blue: indigo
- yellow: pomegranate skin (less expensive than saffron!)
And finally: a few extra photo highlights from our exploration of the Souks of Fes:
So – that’s what happened in Fes! It was a whirlwind 24 hours, but well worth it.
As you plan your own Fes adventure, do yourself a favor and give yourself at least a couple days to experience & appreciate this ancient, beautiful & culturally-rich city.
Now, off to Chefchaouen: the Blue Pearl of Morocco!