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Fes

Country
Morocco
State
Fes-Boulemane
City
Fes
Type of Location
Multiple
About Location

Fes is unofficially the third largest city of Morocco,following Casablanca and Marrakech,with a population of approximately 1 million in 2010.It is the capital of the Fes-Boulemane region.Fes,the former capital,is one of the country's four imperial cities,the others being Rabat, Marrakech and Meknes.It comprises three distinct parts,Fes el Bali (the old, walled city),Fes-Jdid (new Fes, home of the Mellah) and the Ville Nouvelle (the French-created, newest section of Fes).

Fes el Bali is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.Its medina,the larger of the two medinas of Fes,is believed to be the world's largest contiguous car-free urban area.The University of Al-Karaouine, founded in AD 859,is the oldest continuously functioning university in the world.It has been called the "Mecca of the West" and the "Athens of Africa".The city was founded on a bank of the Fez River by Idris I in 789,founder of the Idrisid dynasty, the works being continued on the opposite bank by his son Idris II.

Fes was again the capital of Morocco until 1912,when most of Morocco came under French control and Rabat was chosen as the capital of the new colony,a status retained even when Morocco achieved independence in 1956.While many of the original inhabitants of Fes have since emigrated, the Jewish quarter has been emptied of its Jewish population (in 1465,there was large massacre of Jews by Arab riots), and the economy has stagnated.Despite the traditional character of most of the city,there is also a modern section,the Ville Nouvelle,or "New City",which is a bustling commercial center.The popularity of the city has increased since the King of Morocco took a computer engineer from Fes,Salma Bennani as his wife.Fes is becoming an increasingly popular tourist destination and many non-Moroccans are now restoring traditional houses (riads and dars) as second homes in the Fes medina.



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How to Reach

By Air

The city is served by Saïss Airport.It also has an ONCF train station which goes east to Oujda and west to Tanger and Casablanca.Royal Air Maroc offers daily flights from Casablanca London-Gatwick and Paris-Orly to Fes-Saiss airport.Ryanair offers flights from Girona (Barcelona),Madrid, Seville,Alicante,Frankfurt (Hahn), Dusseldorf (Weeze),Milano (Bergamo),Pisa,Bologna (from Nov 2010),Rome (Ciampino),Charleroi (Brussels),Marseille and London Stansted to Fez,though not on a daily basis.

By Train

There is regular train service along the Marrakech to Oujda and Tangier to Oujda train lines.Eight arrivals daily from Marrakech taske about eight hours and fifteen minutes (although delays are frequent) and costs exactly 295/195 dirhams.First class / second class.The trip from Casablanca takes about 3 hours 20 to 4 hours 20 and costs 165/110 dirhams.First class / second class.High speed double decker trains are being phased in on this route in 2011.

By Bus

The CTM terminal (gare CTM) is in place Allal el-Fassi in the Atlas neighborhood of the ville nouvelle, 7 km from the medina,but has taxi stands nearby.The old bus terminal (gare routiere) is just outside the old city on the north side,near the Ain Zleten entrance to the medina and Bab Boujloud place. Grands taxis (inter-city taxis) can also be obtained here.While the gare routiere covers more routes more cheaply, many travelers prefer CTM for its reliability and cleanliness Most CTM buses leaving Fes,anyway,start from the gare routiere and make a stop in the gare CTM after 30min in the town traffic.CTM bus coming into Fes,at the contrary,will leave you at the gare CTM.

Key places to visit
Bou Inania Madrasa, Al-Attarine Madrasa, Zaouia Moulay Idriss II, Dar al-Magana, Ibn Danan Synagogue, University of Al-Karaouine


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Places to Visit

Bou Inania Madrasa

Is a madrasa in Fes, Morocco, founded in AD 1351–56 by Abu Inan Faris, who also founded the Madrasa Bou Inania in Meknes.It is widely acknowledged as a major example of Marinid architecture. "Bou Inania" comes from the first part of the sultan's name "Abou Inan".The madrasa functioned as both an educational institute and as a congregational mosque at the same time.It is the only madrasa in Fes which has a minaret.Opposite the main doorway of the madrasa is the entrance to the dar al-wudu (ablutions house).Left and right of the central court are class rooms.

Al-Attarine Madrasa

Is a madrasa in Fes,Morocco,near the Al-Qarawiyyin.It was built by the Marinid sultan Uthman II Abu Said (r. 1310-1331) in 1323-5.The madrasa takes its name from the Souk al-Attarine, the spice and perfume market.

Zaouia Moulay Idriss II

Is a zaouia (shrine) in Fes,Morocco,dedicated to and tomb of Moulay Idriss II,who ruled Morocco from 807 to 828 and founded the city of Fes for the second time in 810.In the year 1308,almost five centuries since the death of Moulay Idriss II,an uncorrupted body was found on the spot.People believed this was Moulay Idriss II and founded the Zaouia.Originally built by the Marinids circa 1440, over the centuries the building was amended heavily,and almost completely replaced in the 18th century by Moulay Ismail in a style typical of the Alaouites that govern Morocco to this day.Moulay Idriss II is the patron saint of the city of Fes,and it is believed that visiting his zaouia is beneficial for strangers visiting the city,boys before being circumcised and women wanting to facilitate childbirth.

Dar al-Magana

Is a house in Fes,Morocco,built by the Marinid Sultan Abu Inan Faris which holds a weight-powered water clock.The muwaqqit Abou al-Hassan Ibn Ali Ahmed Tlemsani was responsible for building the clock,which was finished on 6 May 1357.The Dar al-Magana is opposite the Bou Inania Madrasa and connected to this school.The bowls have been removed since 2004 and the clock mechanism is presently being reconstructed by ADER,a foundation for the reconstruction of monuments in Fes.

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