A Travellerspoint blog

The Jnane Sbil Gardens, Fes el Jdid, Morocco.....

Welcome shelter from the hot sun or rain...

30 °C

The famous Fes Gardens were originally an Almoravid dynasty fortress dated in the 11th century, the 17 acre site comprises of an arboretum, shady walkways, trees, plants and a small river propelled by a perpetual motion waterwheel ( Noria) this has recently been rebuilt by a steel construction to replace the original timber one which had rotted and disintegrated with age. The gardens were built by Alouite -Dynasty Sultan Moulay Abdellah in the eighteenth century and were opened to the public in 1917.

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There are colourful flower beds and a small lake with a sanctuary island for ducks which are quite tame and enjoy being hand-fed by visitors, but the tall Washingtonians, giant Bamboos, and pine trees dominate the site offering shade and shelter from the hot summer sun. Toilets are on site and kept clean, the gardens also host segments of the annual Fes Sacred Music Festival, uniformed guards patrol the site and it closes around 6 pm to exclude rough sleepers and other undesirables, the main entrance on Avenue Moulay Hassan features a tourist information board.

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There is also an upmarket Cafe Noria ( named after the waterwheel) in the west corner of the gardens accessible from Ave Moulay Hassan, only food and drinks are served, no alcohol, because of its proximity to a school and Fes el Jdid Medina.

Fes Jnan Sbil Cafe Restaurant la Noria

Fes Jnan Sbil Cafe Restaurant la Noria

Posted by Bennytheball 04:29 Archived in Morocco Tagged gardens Comments (1)

Fes el Jdid, Morocco and its Mellah (Jewish Quarter.)....

"New Fes"

30 °C

Built by the Merenid Sultan of the day, back in the 14th century to monitor from his Dar el Makhzen palace the nefarious activities of the inhabitants of Fes el Bali and relocate Jews expelled from Spain and the older Fes Medina, who became useful intermediaries between the two factions. To maintain control over this sensitive situation Jews were not permitted to wear shoes outside the Medina to prevent them disappearing to somewhere else.

Today there are two Synagogues in the Mellah ( Jewish Quarter) El Fassiyene and Ibn Danan recently restored by government funding as a heritage project inaugurated by the present king Mohammed, Ibn Danan can be visited in escorted tour groups for a fee of 20 dirhams, but the older El Fassiyene Synagogue seems to be permanently locked up. In the basement is the "Mitve" ( purification bath) ......

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The atmosphere in Fes el Jdid and the Mellah is quite different from Fes el Bali, the first difference is in the architecture, the Jewish houses have open steel balconies......

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Many parts of the Mellah being very old don't have running water and this has to be collected from communal stand pipes....

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There are several gates leading into the Mellah, this one is off Avenue Allal el Fassi, but not recommended as it winds through many narrow confusing streets.....

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The main thoroughfare and best shops are along Derb el Mellah, a busy narrow street.

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To avoid the congestion in Derb el Mellah Boulevard Boukhissat can be an easier choice of progress through the Medina.....

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Throughout Morocco many storks nest can be seen anywhere it's safe for them to build their nests, despite the noise and clutter of Fes el Jdid this location is no exception.......

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The road connecting Fes el Jdid and the north gate Rue Fes Jdid.....

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The north gate is Bab Sbaa adjacent to the heavily-guarded royal palace where photography is banned!

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The impressive Bab Sagma on the main highway, a good landmark for the disorientated.......large_ca9190c0-ba44-11e8-b363-cb84e3f0617e.jpg

Posted by Bennytheball 23:19 Tagged sites archeological Comments (1)

The Ancient Fes el Bali Medina, Morocco.....

....and surrounds.

30 °C

A walk through the narrow Medina streets of Fes el Bali ( old Fes) is a fascinating experience of a city built around AD 789 and is now a Unesco world heritage site, this date obviously predates the invention of the internal combustion engine when all transport was only possible by donkeys and the larger more powerful mules, and so it remains today because the cobbled streets are too narrow for motor vehicles. The main thoroughfare is Rue Talaa Kebira ( long climb) which stretches from the famous blue gate, Bab Boujloud, becoming Rue Chrablyine then Souk Attarine and ending at the tinsmiths' Souk Place Seffarine. A street now branching to the left, Rue Mechatine, passing through Bab Nokba leads to the famous Chaouwara Tanneries, recently refurbished as a major tourist and historian attraction, but like the rest of the Medina is still an everyday working site.

Another interesting attraction in the Talaa Kebira is the Medieval Magana water clock, the working parts have been absent for some years now while experts try to find out how it worked, only the preserved wooden supports are at present large_23977D3C935E9D5C3FA23437B3CA8B0C.jpglarge_23955509B79B85EA44BC268FDF59E770.jpglarge_485cde50-64c9-11e8-8fb8-f52174de0480.jpglarge_eaa7dfe0-64c7-11e8-8fb8-f52174de0480.jpgFes el Bali Boujloud gate and Societe bank.....

Fes el Bali Boujloud gate and Societe bank.....

Fes el Bali blacksmiths shop.......

Fes el Bali blacksmiths shop.......

Fes el Bali Seffarine square....

Fes el Bali Seffarine square....

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Perhaps the most popular Fes el Bali Attraction is the famous 17th century Chouwara Tannery, the quality of leather produced using time-honoured methods might be reflected by European books being sent to Fes for leather binding, the recently-refurbished working site now looks like this....
Fes el Bali Chouara tannery overview of new vats

Fes el Bali Chouara tannery overview of new vats

Fes el Bali Choara tannery washing machine

Fes el Bali Choara tannery washing machine

Fes el Bali Chouara tannery weaver shop proprietor and loom

Fes el Bali Chouara tannery weaver shop proprietor and loom

Fes el Bali medina an overview of the Chouara tannery

Fes el Bali medina an overview of the Chouara tannery

If planning a visit to Fes el Bali the city bus station is located a ten minute walk from the blue gate, Bab Boujloud, the railway station is two miles away so a Petit taxi will be required, there are always plenty on the rank outside the station......large_6e894920-aed8-11e8-8ca0-fbe7e4b773aa.jpg

Most of the tourist attractions now have information boards located beside the relevant site, as shown at the main gate of the Jnane Sbil gardens.....Fes el Bali Jnane Sbil tourist info board

Fes el Bali Jnane Sbil tourist info board

and throughout the confusing Medina streets there are colour-coded tourist trail signs to keep the tourist on track, alternatively official guides can be commissioned at Hotel Batha reception desk, the rates for half a day are 200 dirhams, full day 400 dirhams and excursions out of Fes 500 dirhams, but a Grand taxi will be required and added to the bill.

Many of the best views of Fes el Bali Medina can be enjoyed from any of the many flat rooftop terraces, in this instance from the roof terrace of the restaurant Bouanania.........
Fes el Bali Restaurant Bou Inania

Fes el Bali Restaurant Bou Inania

At certain times of the year Fes receives significant rainfall, usually Spring and Autumn, so many parts of the Souks have cane canopies to shelter shoppers and keep the streets dry and clean......

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Further along Rue Talaa Kebira where it becomes Chrabliyene is the hide factory, an old converted Fondouk ( travellers' Inn) where animal hides are stripped from their carcasses before being loaded onto donkeys for the journey along to the Chouwara tannery for processing.....

Fes el Bali Chrabilyene animal hide factory

Fes el Bali Chrabilyene animal hide factory

Another site from where the panoramic Medina can be observed is at the Merinides Necropolis, slowly crumbling on the distant el Qolla hillside, there is a road connection for cars, but a shortcut can be made by scrambling up over rough terrain large_807490c0-b9a7-11e8-a9b1-73638cde9d14.jpgfrom the Fes circular road R501.........

The famous medieval Chouwara tannery is a big tourist attraction, it was completely restored in 2016 and unofficial ( but tolerated) guides are the best way of exploring the site at close quarters, they can show the tourist the best locations for photography, for which a small fee of 20 dirhams is normally requested. The new refurbished tannery has a "sanitised" appearance which will probably disappear as time passes, this picture shows how the old site appeared prior to the restoration............

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A recent addition to the tourist-popular landscape is the welcome "relief" of new public toilet facilities in Boujloud Square close to the famous blue gate, these are spotlessly clean ( at the moment) cater for both genders and disabled tourists, and have been artistically designed in the local style of colourful tiles with a beautiful little fountain as centrepiece with water vertically flowing out. The attendant's office is situated at the front door to collect small tips from satisfied customers ( and intercept freeloaders!)

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Posted by Bennytheball 10:27 Archived in Morocco Tagged archeological Comments (1)

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