Before touring Morocco I was not aware of the large Jewish influences on the history of the country. I was quite surprised to learn that there are Jewish quarters in many of the large cities, including Fes. During our visit to Fes we were taken to the synagogue in the Jewish quarter. Our guide explained that members of the Jewish community in Morocco have been very influential in the past, including standing as elected members of parliament. A plaque in this synagogue listed several local members who had represented the region in parliament.
Many of the towns and cities we visited in Morocco can be very confusing to the unwary visitor. I was pleased that our tour group had a very patient guide. The streets and lanes twist and turn in all directions, meandering in this way and then that way, sometimes turning back on themselves.
Possibly the most confusing are those in the medinas of Fes, said to have over 9000 laneways in a perplexing labyrinth of noise, aromas, people, animals, street vendors and every imaginable item for sale. It claims to be the largest non-car urban district in the world which is not surprising given the narrowness of the streets.
No matter where we went in Morocco we were constantly amazed at the breathtaking architecture of so many buildings. Typical of the beautiful mosaics on show in many public structures was the Royal Palace Gate in Fes, as shown in today’s photos.
Built in the 17th century, this palace is still used occasionally by the king of Morocco. Sadly, one has to be content with just seeing the outside of the palace because there is no access to the grounds for the general public.
On our first morning of our visit to Fes in Morocco we set off in our tour bus to visit a number of places around the city. Near the gates of the Royal Palace we met our guide for the day. He is the person on the left in the photo above, but I forget his name.
The morning was crisp and cool, being the middle of winter (mid December). I didn’t expect to see autumn leaves on the trees here; this wasn’t part of the image I had of this country. Now matter where we went I was constantly surprised by such things.
After visiting the ancient Roman ruins of Volubilis we travelled on to Fes, one of the second largest city in Morocco with a population of just over a million people. It is also the site of another World Heritage Site, its fascinating Medina.
Early on the first morning of our stay we were travelling in our tour bus when I took several photos of the local petit taxis, so much smaller than our taxis here in Australia. I guess that they are cheaper to run as well as being easier to drive through the often narrow and crowded streets of the city.
Because we always travelled in the tour company bus, we didn’t get a chance to try using one. At the end of our tour we did get to use several taxis, but we asked for larger vehicles because the three of us had some large luggage (our adult daughter also travelled with us).