Fez

Medina of Fez, is a nearly intact medieval city. With a 2002 population of 156,000, it is probably the largest contiguous carefree area in the world today.

The entire Medina was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981, with 13,380 historic buildings since enumerated in the course of a thorough GIS survey of the medina. There are reputed to be 10,539 retail businesses in the Medina, which remains a prime commercial center of the city of Fez.

The entire city is still surrounded by high walls penetrated in a relatively few locations by historic city gates. There is only one large public square of any size, located near the geographic center of the medina.

Some streets are as narrow as 60 centimeters (about two feet). Few streets are as wide as five meters (about 16 feet), and then rarely for any distance. The streets are generally too narrow to permit the use of bicycles, although there are a few areas in which they and motor scooters are found, mostly near one or another of the gates.

Buildings are typically 2-3 stories tall, with a fair number of single-story and 4-story buildings. No building exceeds four stories except the minarets of the mosques. Most residential buildings have interior courtyards.

In the hot, dry climate of Fez, rooftop space is valuable and much used. Nearly all buildings have flat roofs that are used to dry laundry, grow some ornamental plants, and sit out in the cooler evening air.



Fez, from Fr. fez, from Turk. fes, ultimately from (Fas) Fez, the city in Morocco, where this type of tasselled red hat was principally made. The fez called “Tarbuwsh” in Moorish and Egyptian Arabic was developed to fashionable heights by Andalusian Moors in the city of Fes, Morocco by the 17th century The artisans engaged in their making for religious scholars, graduates, Nobility and the most selective honourable members of society, rose in status in the city's Souks (markets).

It's Medina (Old City), the larger of the two Medinas of Fes, is believed to be the world's largest contiguous car-free urban area. Al-Qarawiyyin, founded in 859 AD, is the oldest continuously functioning Madrasa (religious School) in the world.

Fez is the oldest religious centre of learning and the second largest city of Morocco, The most important monuments in the medina are:

- Dar al-Magana (1357 AD)
- Bou Inania Madrasa (1351-1356 AD)
- Al-Attarine Madrasa (1323-1325 AD)
- University of Al-Qarawiyyin (859 AD)
- Zawiya Moulay Idriss II (shrine)

The muwaqqit (Keeper) Abou al-Hassan Ibn Ali Ahmed Tlemsani was responsible for building the clock, which was completed on the 6th May 1357A.D. The Dar al-Magana is as it is known, is opposite the Bou Inania Madrasa and connected to this school.

Dar al-Magana, a clockhouse which holds a weight powered water clock, The Dar al-Magana was the time keeper of Fes, a weight powered water clock built in the middle of the 14th Century which worked by using a system of 13 brass bowls on platforms that filled with water at a regular pace marking the time. Each bowl had a corresponding door that opened, one an hour, which was how the people of Fes told the time.

In the medina of Fez there are so many narrow streets filled with Cafes, Restaurants and shops selling all kinds of local crafts, artefacts and multitude of natural produce. The world famous leather souk (market) and it’s equally famous tanneries with large Vats full of different coloured dyes, with workers standing up to their thighs into it, are the trademark of the Fez medina. To view them, one has to go inside one of the multitude of leather shops that have overlooking terraces from where one can behold all working activity.

The tanneries are the most vivid fine example of an ancient craft that still functions unchanged to this day in medina of Fez. It is one of the unique traditions of ancient times that have been lost or long abandoned in other parts of the world.



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