The Medina of Fes

Trip Start Sep 20, 2012
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Trip End Nov 13, 2012


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Thursday, October 11, 2012

After a quick stop to take photos of the entrance gates of the Royal Palace, we made our way to the medina, the old walled city. This is a labyrinth of narrow alleys and dead ends, and would have no hope of finding our way out if we got separated. Up to 200,000 people live inside the medina so it is very crowded.It is very smelly and primitive, flies everywhere, like stepping back into the Middle Ages. People sell their wares and produce while heavily laden donkeys and mules or carts push through the narrow alleys. It was such an experience. We visited a beautiful mosque inside the medina, then began our visits to the cooperatives - carpet, leather and fabric merchants. This was all hard sell  business which was very intense and uncomfortable. The leather tannery was fascinating but the tannery had a putrid smell and the stench seemed to permeate everything - I couldn't believe men work in it 10 hours a day.
That afternoon, we drove to the village of Bhalil to see Trogoldites - caves hewn out of the mountain where families have lived for generations.We were welcomed into Mohammad's home who, in very little English, tried to tell us about his life. His ancestors have lived in this cave for 12 generations and he has not travelled further than Fes in his lifetime. The women of Bhalil spend their days sewing small buttons.for market.Only in the last couple of years, has he received electricity and running water. This is definitely the land of contrasts.
 
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