Fes is a really old town built with over 9,000 alleys and streets, none of which can accommodate motor vehicles – so donkeys and hand pulled/pushed wagons was it. Highlight here was hiring a personal guide for $10/hour and showed me everything, including the dying vats.
Fes is a maze of tiny alleys, “streets”, paths..some covered like this, and some not. ALL are filled with people of all types. It’s very exciting, as long as you’re not claustrophobic.
I was curious about the narrowness and asked my guide, “what’s with the narrowness?” . When these were built 1,000 years ago, there was always the chance that some marauding army, or gang would try to get you. So one reason for the narrow alleys was to discourage groups, or even individual large men, from chasing you. Doorways are sometimes just 4 feet tall for the same reason. I don’t know how effective it is. But this particular path leads to 4-5 homes. Through which those families must carry all their food, furniture, etc.
Vehicles do not fit in the Fes medina. They rely on hand carts and these guys. I almost got run over by this one. This alley looks like there’s room for him to maneuver, but what you don’t see is the crowd that has backed off to let this guy through.
She is baking bread!
You can buy ANYTHING in the Fes medina. Here, in the meat section, you can by camel meat.
A big industry is leather. Once the skins of animals, mostly sheep, are prepared, they soak them in these vats to cure and color them. This set of vats has been here hundreds of years.
This guy is slacking on the job! His job, when he’s actually doing it, is to dip skins is the vats, stomp on them, and finally take them out for drying.
And this is how they dry them. Drying skins on the room in the foreground, more vats of dyes on the ground behind.
Need some slippers? We got slippers! These were made from the leather you saw getting processed above.
Fes is also home to really old mosques and madrasas (schools). I am fascinated with the designs in Islamic architecture. So here are a few pictures.
Carved stone walls
Tile, stone carving, and painted wall.
Even the ceilings are beautiful.
I found this scholar being scholarly in a room of the oldest university in Morocco.