April 15, 2022

Fès: The Roots of Moroccan Culture

Fès: The Roots of Moroccan Culture

Fès: The original. Where everything started.

The first imperial capital, the roots of Moroccan culture, famous for its mixing of religious and cultural heritage.

The capital city of Moroccan crafts, from carvings and jewellery to tanneries, and a former political capital as one of the four Imperial cities of Moroccan royalty.

Our episode today features a modern trailblazer, one of the first women to become a certified tour guide in Morocco, Fatima Zahra. Growing up inspired by travellers from around the world coming to visit her city, Zahra now takes guests through the medina, the souks, madrassas and Jewish heritage sites of her native Fès.

Azdean and Zahra chat about her experience becoming a guide in a male-dominated field, an introduction to the history and unique identity of Fès, and her suggestions for things to do whether you have only a couple days, or ideally many more, to truly appreciate this distinct and special city.

You're about to learn:

  • The three principal tourist areas of Fès:

- Fès el Bali (the old city).
- Fès el Jdid (the new city) and the neighbouring Jewish Quarter.
- La Ville nouvelle (the modern city).

  • Why the houses may seem plain on the outside, but are so beautiful on the inside.
  • Fès' Jewish heritage, and how Berber, Jewish and Arab cuisines mixed together.
  • Some of the local delicacies, particularly cooked salads and Moroccan pastilla.
  • The traditional black ovens used to cook bread and filo pastries.
  • The importance of madrassas (Koranic schools), and how you can visit them.

The souks recommended in the episode:

  • Souk el Henna
  • Boujloud Souk
  • Souk Al-Attarine
  • the souk at R'cif Square
  • Souk Mejjadliene
  • Souk Serrajine

The madrassas recommended in the episode:

  • Al-Attarine
  • Bou Inania
  • Sahrij
  • Saffarin

The museums recommended in the episode:

  • Musée des armes
  • Batha museum
  • Riad Belghazi museum
  • Nejjarine museum
  • Tazi art gallery
  • Mohamed Kacimi art gallery

Now is the time to visit, and Destination Morocco is in fact offering a special Jewish-themed guided tour, July 17-26, incorporating Jewish heritage highlights, in addition to regular popular sights.

All the details and a special rate for podcast listeners can be found here: https://bit.ly/3wKYBEs

This Episode is sponsored by:

Travel Anywhere - One stop for all your travel needs.


Resources Mentioned in this episode:

Fès, Morocco

Zahra on Instagram

https://www.handsofmorocco-tours.com - Zahra's great website

Fès tanneries

Moroccan craftsmanship, in many forms!

Somewhere inside Moroccan souks

Mellah (Jewish Quarter) of Fès

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Fatima-Zahra HANAFI Profile Photo

Fatima-Zahra HANAFI

A female tour guide

My name is FATIMA ZAHRA HANAFI. Born and raised in the majestic city of Fez where I got my BA in Cultural Studies.
Always curious to visit new places and learn about their culture, I've always found myself actively seeking jobs that offered such opportunities, And I have found many. But the big cake was certainly the legal liscence that I managed to get on the first try to become a national tour guide, and one of rare female tour guides in Morocco.