This month’s calendar image is Morocco’s Imperial city of Fez, or more specifically Fes el Bali, the old walled medina of Fez. The shot was taken from the Merenid Tombs overlooking the old medina. Fez is one of my favourite cities for losing myself in. It is one of those cities where around every corner there seems to be something new to explore.
The medieval capital of Morocco and a great city of high Islamic civilization Fez is Morocco’s third largest city. It is one of the country’s four “imperial cities,” the others being Rabat, Marrakech and Meknes.The sprawling maze of Fes el Bali is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has the honour of being the best-preserved old city in the Arab world.No cars or trucks can enter the narrow streets and transports of goods through the Medina is provided by donkeys, carriages, and motorbikes.
The city, founded on the banks of the Fez River by Idris I in 789, was populated by Muslims, Moriscos (Moors of Spanish or Portuguese descent) and Jews. It was a scientific and religious center where both Muslims and Christians from Europe came to study. The University of Al-Karaouine, founded in AD 859, is the oldest continuously functioning university in the world.
Fez was a major trading post of the Barbary Coast of North Africa and was at the end of a north-south gold trading route from Timbuktu in Mali. It was a prime manufacturing location for leather goods and its tanneries are today still use techniques used in the middle ages.