Fez See And Do
22 Sebaâ Louyet (Seven Turns) Fez el Bali
Tel: 55 638735
Open daily, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Proprietor Hamid Hakim isn't just another carpet peddler. In this 14th-century palace, complete with gorgeous carved cedar ceilings, this salesman/orator jokes with customers and offers a witty lecture on Moroccan rugs, architecture, and life in Fez. His assistants serve mint tea and deftly roll and unroll rugs throughout his presentation, without putting undue pressure on visitors to make purchases. The shop does take credit cards, though, and offers reliable overseas shipping.
Pl. Boujeloud Fez el Bali
Constructed in 1913, this gate is about 1,000 years younger than the buildings behind it. It's proof that age doesn't matterthe relatively youthful structure is the most strikingly beautiful entry point into the old city. Painted flowers and calligraphy embellish its outer blue ceramic tiles and, depending on one's interpretation, the green mosaic interior either represents peace or the official color of Islam. Stop by at sunset for some glowing photo opportunities.
Boutouil Fez el Bali
Built in 857 A.D. and spanning approximately 10,760 square feet, the immense Kairaouine was Morocco's largest mosque until the 1990swhen the Hassan II Mosque was built in Casablanca. Non-Muslims are not admitted inside the building, but through the open door, visitors can view dozens of Moorish arches and a brilliantly painted ceiling. At the start of the second millennium, this mosque housed the Western World's first university, and its legendary scholars include Pope Sylvester II, the mathematician responsible for introducing Arabic math to Europe.
Open: Daily 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
This theological college, marked by its green tiled roof, is a prime example of Merinid architecture, and it's the most beautiful of Kairaounie University's residential colleges. Inside, elegant calligraphy graces the ceramic tile walls. The marble floors, sculpted cedar, and carved stucco wallsmade with a concoction of plaster and egg whitehave held up since this masterpiece medersa was built in 1350. Since it is still in use, non-Muslims must depart during prayer time.
Pl. de l'Istiqlal Fez el Djedid
Tel: 55 634116
Open: Daily, except for Tuesdays, from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Closed from noon to 2:30.
Housed in an Andalusian palace called Dar Batha that was built in the late 19th century, the Museum of Moroccan Arts displays a collection of native folk art and crafts. Fez is especially famous for its ceramics, and visitors can view china painted with intricate and colorful geometric patterns as well as rustic earthenware pottery. Other exhibits include Berber carpets, ancient copies of the Koran, gold-stitched embroidery, and navigational tools from as early as the 11th century.