Five Things You Didn't Know About Fez, Morocco

  • Bunnik Tours
  • 15 May 24

Fez shines as a Moroccan hidden gem. With captivating architecture and rich culture, this imperial city is a must-see. Delve into five lesser-known facts about this enchanting destination.

Tanneries in Fez, Morocco by Priscilla Aster

Tanneries in Fez, Morocco by Priscilla Aster


  1. Five facts about Fez
    1. A UNESCO World Heritage-listed Site
    2. There's no cars allowed
    3. Its tanneries date back almost 1,000 years
    4. The eldest of the imperial cities
    5. Fountains galore
  2. FAQs

1. A UNESCO World Heritage-listed Site

Although founded in the 9th century, Fez reached its peak in the 13th-14th century when it replaced Marrakesh as the capital of the kingdom. The medina's main monuments, including the palaces, residences, mosques and foundations, all date back to this period under the Marinids rule, a Berber Muslim empire that controlled present day Morocco.

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995 under the category of 'Cultural', the Medina of Fez is one of the most preserved and impressive medieval cities in the Arab world – a visit here is truly like stepping back in time. With over 9,000 streets and cobbestoned-alleyways bearing witness to over 1,000 years of rich history, Fez's bustling medina is true playground for the curious. 

Golden dishes lining a small alleyway in Fez, Morocco

Medina alleyways, Fez, Morocco by Dennis Bunnik


2. No cars allowed

Step into the maze-like streets of Fez's medina and be transported to an area frozen in time. You heard that right, no motorised vehicles are permitted in the city's medina, and quite frankly, they wouldn't fit through its narrow streets and winding alleyways! Here in Fez, the roar of engines are replaced with the gentle click-clack of donkey hooves.

Standing proud as one of the largest car-free zones in the world, it highlights Fez's strong commitment to perserving its rich and unique heritage. Not only does this preserve the city, it also gives visitors a rare opportunity to explore a bygone era, as you wander the timeless streets surrounded by centuries-old architecture, local vendors and cobblestoned lanes.

Fez Tanneries, Morocco by Bob Shea/Unsplash

Fez, Morocco by Vince Gx/Unsplash


3. Tanneries dating back almost 1,000 years

Fez boasts a solid reputation of producing high-quality leather goods for hundreds of years thanks to its ancient tanneries. The history of tanneries in Fez date back centuries, becoming an integral thread to the city's unique fabric. Established during Morocco's medieval period, Fez's tanneries flourished and the city became a hotspot of elite craftsmenship and trade. These ancient tanneries have beared witness to generations of skilled artisans perserving and passing down traditional techniques. Fez's tanneries have not only sustained the city economically, but also heavily contributed culturally to the city's unique identity.

The largest of the tanneries, and arguably the most beautiful and iconic, is Chouara. Located in the oldest medina quarter of the city, Chouara has been in operation since the 16th century! This ancient facility is viewable from surrounding balcones, where down below you'll immerse in a vibrant mix of colour, texture and smell. Here, the local craftsmen use a tanning process that dates back to medieval times to dye the leather a range of different colours. One of the most memorable experiences from a visit to Fez's tanneries is the distinctive and potent aroma of the leather, which lingers long after you depart!

Colourful tanneries in Fez, Morocco

Chouara Tannery in Fez, Morocco by Dennis Bunnik


4. The eldest of the imperial cities

The oldest sibling of our four imperial cities is Fez! The four imperial cities have all been the country’s capital at some stage throughout its history, and hence, each city holds quite notable cultural and historical significance. 

Albeit the exact year is unknown, the city is thought to have been established some time between 789 and 808. With origins dating back to the 9th century, the ancient alleys and historic medina have witnessed the rise and fall of several dynasties, preserving the legacies of Berber, Arab and Andalusian influences left on the city. 

Imperial Palace of Fez, Morocco

Imperial Palace of Fez, Morocco by Roy Bisson


5. Fountains galore

Throughout Fez, there is around 60 public fountains that are dotted around the medina. Once supplying fresh water to the locals of the city, these fountains were positioned near mosques and hammams (public baths); and, not only were they functional, but they were beautiful too, adorned with intricate pattenred tiles. Though today, many of these fountains are turned off, their vibrant tiles are still alive with colour and act as a meeting point within many of the neighbourhoods around Fez. 

Water fountain in Fez, Morocco

A fountain in Fez, Morocco by Matt Baldock


Visit Fez, Morocco with Bunnik Tours

Feeling intrigued by our list of fascinating Fez facts? We don't blame you! If you're ready to tick Fez off your bucketlist, then there's no better way to do it than on a Bunnik Tour – we've been running small group tours to Morocco for many years. Book a Morocco tour online or get in touch with one of our friendly Travel Specialists to learn more about our Europe tours today!


We're proud to parnter with Visit Morocco (ONMT) to showcase the incredible Morocco and what this beautiful country has to offer.


Fez, Morocco: FAQs 

What is a tannery?

A tannery is is a facility where animal hides are processed to produce leather, employing several methods to achieve the desired texture, colour and durability! 

What are the imperial cities of Morocco?

The imperial cities of Morocco refers to its four historial capitals, these include Fez, Marrakesh, Meknes and Rabat. Fez is the oldest imperial city, dating back to the 9th century, followed closely by Marrakesh established in the 11th century. Meknes was built by Sultan Moulay Ismail in the 17th century, and is characterised by its impressive city walls. The final city, Rabat, is the current capital of Morocco and is a delightful blend of history and modernity. Each imperial city is unique and offers impressive landmarks and architectural marvels. 


How many days do you need in Fez, Morocco?

To get the full Fez experience of wandering through the bustling medina alleyways, shopping for handcrafted souvenirs and marvelling at the unique landscapes, we recommend spending at least a day or two in Fez, Morocco.


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