City Insider: For the Love of Fez

A glimpse of Morocco's cultural capital through the eyes of a resident expert. | By Hamza El Fasiki  
Fez Morocco
Tagines, a commonly used utensil in Moroccan kitchens, are used to prepare flavourful meat and vegetable stews. Photo: Yldavia/Istockphoto

A social entrepreneur, musician, and expert in Moroccan culture, Fez native Hamza El Fasiki shares a few of his favourite things about his centuries-old hometown.

The first place I take visitors is…
Fez’s impressive medina and the Bab Boujloud, a massive gate built by the French in the early 1900s. The original 12th-century gate, or bab, which once served as an entryway to the medina, sits nearby.

My city is known for being…
The city of knowledge in Morocco, but it’s really the city of handicraft.

The best time to visit my city is…
During the festival marking the anniversary of the death of Moulay Idriss II, a founder of Fez. The city beams with happiness, and many of the rituals can be witnessed in the streets and in homes.

My city’s signature drink is…
Mint tea with orange blossom. Sample it at Souk el Henna, where you’ll find henna, as the name suggests, but also blue Fassi pottery, copperware, tagines, and other souvenirs.

The best place to spend time outdoors is…
In the Jnan Sbil garden, a marvellous Andalusian public park filled with citrus and palm trees.

To escape the crowds…
I go to my father’s shop, Craft Draft, in the merchant warehouse Fondouk Khrachfiyen. There, travellers meet artisans and learn about the art of engraving tea trays and the history of coppersmiths in Fez.

In the winter you should…
Grab a camera and capture the changing colours of the city’s walls.

For a fun night out…
Attend a Sunday evening concert at Café Clock, a restored courtyard house turned cultural hub, which regularly hosts traditional Gnawa musicians.

Appeared in the September 2016 issue as “I Heart Fez, Morocco”.

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