10 Things About… Fez

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Fez is home to both the oldest continuously functioning university in the world and the best preserved old city (medina) in the Arab civilization.

1. Getting There
Saïss Airport, take a bus or a taxi, or make use of the shuttle service. The train that links the city to Oujda, Tanger and Casablanca and the road system is in good condition.

2. Getting Around
Taxis are a good option for tourists as fares are regulated and there is a reliable bus service.

3. Where to Stay
Riad Fes is a popular choice. Blending old-school opulence with modern touches, this hotel also offers a great rooftop terrace with views of the Atlas Mountains. The Barcelo is lovely while the Riad Doha offers great value.

4. Eating Out
Riad Rcif has a great selection of tagines and cous cous dishes and a chocolate pudding to die for. If you’re craving Italian, Le 44 Café has the best Bolognese in the city and an amazing atmosphere. L’Amandier Palais Faraj has great service and even better views. Both international and Moroccan cuisine is served here so there are plenty of options. Nagham Café is well-priced and a beautiful terrace looks straight onto the mountains.

5. Things to Do
Café Clock stages various traditional music concerts, including sufi drumming, while traditional dancing can be found at Restaurant Al Fassia. Merenid Tombs are quite a climb above the city but well worth the views.

6. Shopping
If you navigate the medina alleyways with patience and humour, you will find amazing choices of woodwork, leatherwork, pottery, jewellery, mosaic tiling, brass and copperware, textiles, rugs and drums.

7. About town
The ancient Roman site of Volubilis is a UNESCO World Heritage site and includes ruins of a basilica, temple and triumphal arch as well as some beautiful mosaics. Nestled within the Atlas Mountains you’ll also find the ski resort of Ifrane.

8. History & Culture
Fez takes its name from the pickaxe that Idriss the First used to draw the lines of the city in 789 AD, on the banks of the Jawhar River. Two large autonomous quarters made up the original town, founded by Idriss I and Idriss II (his son). Ten centuries of architecture is visible in and around the city, especially in the medina, including a number of religious, civil and military monuments.

9. Language
Darija (the Moroccan Arabic dialect), but many people speak French. English is developing among the younger peoples. In the countryside outside Fez many people speak Berber dialects.

10. One last thing
Morocco is a Muslim country so all due respect should be shown, particularly when in the medina and in the consumption of alcohol.

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