Located in the Middle Atlas Mountains, Fez is Morocco’s cultural and religious centre. The stark contrast between the old city’s narrow lanes and the Ville Nouvelle’s wide, tree-lined streets is striking for many, and it is this juxtaposition of medieval and modern that makes Fez one of Morocco’s top tourist destinations.
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The central place to enter Fez’s walled city is at the gate of Bab bu Jeloud. Be sure to check out the Islamic school of Medersa Bou Inania, Dar Batha Museum and Kairaouine Mosque. Non-Muslims are not allowed to enter the city’s mosques, but even if you can’t go inside Kairaouine you can still see this exquisite 9th century building’s tile work by peering into its courtyards
Visiting one of Fez’s leather tanneries is a memorable experience. During a tannery visit, you’ll climb up several flights of stairs to a rooftop where you can look down on centuries-old dying vats. The is overwhelming for most foreigners, and visitors are often given sprigs of mint to help deal with it.
The old city’s walls and ramparts are lit up at night, and many locals and tourists head to Borj Nord to enjoy a panoramic view of the city. This lookout area was built in the 16th century to allow then-ruler Sultan Ahmed al-Mansour’s men to keep watch over the city and its inhabitants. A military museum that houses a variety of Moroccan weaponry, including a 12-ton canon, is open at Borj Nord during the day, and the short hike to the nearby Merenid Tombs can turn a visit to the ramparts into a more active half-day trip.