The city of Fes also spelled with the letter ‘z’ as ‘Fez’ is located inland in the country of Morocco. The city is named after the River Fez known as Oued Fes locally due to years of French colonization. Although Fes is not an important coastal hub it does act as an important hub between all over the other sea metropolises.
In this article, we are going to be telling you everything that you need to know if you are planning to travel to the oldest city of Fes, Morocco.
The Population of the City of Fes.
Today, the city of Fes is ranked second in the whole of Morocco in terms of population with over 1 million permanent residents and more part-time residents including tourists. Originally Fes was two separate cities when they were founded in the late 8th century AD on the opposite sides of the Fez River. These two cities ended up growing into each other and merging.
Very soon the city became an important trading hub that connected the majority of the coastal cities with each other as well as connecting them to the settlements located in the Sahara in the south of Morocco.
Today the city continues to attract a large number of people from all over Morocco and North Africa, who come to work in the booming industries of the city such as tourism and high-quality craftsmanship such as the production of clothing. Additionally, agriculture is a booming business sector thanks to the nearby River Fez that is used for irrigation.
History of the City of Fes.
Fes was first inhabited by people in 789 AD after it was founded by Idris I of Morocco who is widely considered by historians as the founder of what today is the modern-day state of Morocco. Since then Fes has been under control under a large variety of Islamic emirates and empires such as the Saadis, Wattasids, the Almoravids, and the Marinids.
Furthermore, Fes was almost taken over by the Ottoman Empire in the mid-16th century but instead their allies the Wattasids were the ones that held to the city.
From 1912 to 1956 the city of Fes was also part of the empire of France, which saw an entire part of the city being constructed known as the Ville Nouvelle which today is a popular tourist attraction in the country. Furthermore, during that time, Fes was the capital of the French protectorate of Morocco.
Fes is an important metropolis in terms of history, culture, and also commercially, the famous Fez hat originates from this city which is worn in other Arab countries as well as non-Arab countries such as Turkey and France. In the city of Fes you can find the best quality Fez hats.
The Climate of Fes.
The climate of Fes is officially classified as a Hot Mediterranean Climate; the average temperature throughout the year is 16.6 degrees Celsius which may seem surprising to some, however, it is important to note that the temperature does vary greatly throughout different times of the year.
The months of July, August, and September are the hottest months of the years, with the average temperature during this period ranging from 25.4 to 22.7 degrees Celsius.
While the coldest months are December, January, and February where the average temperature ranges from 10.8 to 9.4 degrees Celsius. Moreover, during the winter months, it is common to see frost developing on surfaces, and on average it snows at least between every 3 and 5 years, although it does not snow in large quantities.
Therefore, as you can see, Fes is a great tourist destination as it does not get overwhelmingly hot, and even during the coldest winter months, the weather is still enjoyable.
Fes Is Perfect for Tourists.
It is important to point out in this article about travel to the oldest city of Fes, Morocco is that Fes is perfect for tourism. In the center of the city known as the Medina of Fes, it is not legal to drive cars or any other vehicles. This is due to the fact that this part of the city is very old, in some cases over one thousand years old.
Due to this it was not designed, planned, and built with cars in mind as they did not exist at the time, therefore, everyone needs to get by on foot. This allows you to have peace of mind and learn about this historically important city without having to worry about cars.
Moreover, there is a lot to explore in the city, from old buildings to sprawling markets from which you can buy goods from Morocco and other parts of the world.
Such market stalls have been located in Fes since it was first founded; it is ingrained in the culture of the city and makes for a very interesting adventure where you will learn a lot about the local culture of the city.
The Incredible Mosques of Fes.
Fes is a city of mosques, in every single neighborhood, there are at least mosques. Furthermore, there are places of worship for followers of Islam such as madrassas and zawiyas.
One of the oldest mosques in the city is located within the University of al-Qarawiyyin which was completed in 859 AD; it is the oldest university in the world that continues to operate. The mosque within the university’s compound stands out from the rest of the city thanks to its green tiles.
Other mosques worth checking out are Abu al-Hassan Mosque which was finished in 1341 AD and is famous for its tall and wide minaret inscribed with various patterns. Additionally, other popular mosques for tourists to visit include the Chrabliyine Mosque, the Al-Hamra Mosque, and also the R’cif Mosque.
Wildlife and Flora of Fes.
The city of Fes is home to diverse flora and wildlife, for example, to the east you have the Middle Atlas mountain range that covers an area of over 100,000 kilometers squared which is equivalent to the size of South Korea or 15% of all of Morocco.
Although the majority of the mountain range is not very tall it is home to hundreds of thousands of trees and during the winter months, it is very common for it to snow at the tallest peaks. Additionally, there is the Sahara desert to the south that you can explore on a camel or by a vehicle while being accompanied by an experienced and trained guide.
The wildlife around Fes is some of the most unique that you will find as the animals require unique adaptations in order to survive in this tough environment. One of those interesting animals is the sand cat which is a small feline that lives off insects and rodents, it is known for its large triangle ears that it uses to cool down.
There is also the Barbary Macaque which lives in trees of the Atlas Mountain that we mentioned further up above, the monkeys mainly live off plants and insects.
Museums in the City of Fes.
Another great reason to travel to the oldest city of Fes is that it is a brilliant place for those that are in love with history and especially the history of war. The museums in the city of Fes are home to an estimate of over 8,000 antique weapons from hundreds and thousands of years ago.
One of the best locations to check these out is the Arms Museum of Fes that is located in the north of the city inside old fortifications that were constructed during the 16th century in order to protect the city.
Other popular museums worth checking out are the Riad Belghazi Museum where you can see high-quality crafts from throughout the history of Morocco, the Dar Batha Museum which is home to some of the most iconic Moroccan Art, and finally, the Museum of Andalusian Music that is home to hundreds of musical instruments from various eras.
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