The historic core of Fez and the seat of the Moroccan government until 1912, the Medina of Fez (Fes el-Bali) remains the city’s biggest draw – a sprawling district of jumbled souks and snaking alleyways, dotted with grand mosques, palace and madrassas. The old medina is now a protected UNESCO World Heritage site, still surrounded by its 13th-century city walls and reached via a series of monumental gates, most notably the 20th-century Bab Boujeloud, celebrated for its striking blue tilework.
With the medina largely pedestrianized, the best way to explore Fez Medina is on foot and there’s plenty to see, starting with the rambling souks, home to the famous Tanner’s Quarters, the soul of the city’s leather trade, where animal hides are soaked in gigantic pots of natural dye. Additional highlights of Fes el-Bali include the Kairaouine Mosque University, known as the world’s oldest university and dating back to 859; the exquisite Madrassa Bou Inania and Al-Attarine Madrasa; the Talaa Kebira water clock; and the Mellah Jewish Quarter.
The Medina of Fez (Fes el-Bali) is located northeast of Fez el Jadid and the Ville Nouvelle in central Fez.