Rabat and Fes El-Bali, Morocco
Royal city by the sea
Rabat is located on the Atlantic coast and is the capital of the Kingdom of Morocco. Together with Fès, Meknes and Marrakech, it is one of the four sultan cities in the country. In addition, Rabat is the seat of the government and has an imposing royal palace, the Mishua, in its midst. The history of the city by the sea is more than 1000 years old. And the old fortifications bear witness to an eventful past.
The gate to the throne room
In contrast, today’s royal palace is relatively young in years. Construction began in 1864 on the site of the original royal residence. Even if the interior is not allowed to be visited, the residence of the Moroccan monarch is definitely worth a detour if you are out and about in Rabat. The huge Paradeplatz alone is worth seeing, where the changing of the guard takes place every morning at 9 a.m. In summer the uniforms of the King’s Guard shine in brilliant white, in winter in fiery red. The large gate that leads to the throne room and was built by Mohammed V in 1957 is particularly impressive. Here you get an impression of the treasures that might be hidden behind the walls. Only the best materials were used for this imposing passage. The columns are made of Italian Carrara marble, the gate itself is made of precious cedar wood covered with bronze. Real mosaics in dominant shades of blue were used for the ornate wall decoration. The green roof tiles of the entire palace, which contrasts with the light sandstone, are striking. Green is the color of the prophet and with it the Moroccan dynasty demonstrates its deep connection with Islam.
Mosque and park
The royal palace, in the immediate vicinity of which is also the El-Fah King’s Mosque, includes an extensive complex with a huge park in which slender palm trees sway in the wind. The structures were built between the 18th and 20th centuries and contain decorative Moorish elements.
Nostalgia of the Orient
The big city of Fes in northern Morocco (approx. 1,000,000 inhabitants) is the ideal destination for a study trip to the Orient. Because here the tourist can enjoy both: the modernity in the new districts and the original oriental – almost medieval-looking – life in the “Medina”, the old town. The old town is called Fes El-Bali, which means “the old Fes”. The city of Fes emerged from this quarter in the 9th century.
A tour of Fes El-Bali
You should plan at least half a day for a stroll through the Fes El-Bali district. The numerous small restaurants in the district are ideal for resting in between. The best place for visitors to start their tour is at Bab Bojeloud Gate. This gate was built in 1913 and makes a nice photo opportunity. Fes El-Bali has countless narrow streets (including dead ends) that are only suitable for pedestrians – they would be much too narrow for car traffic! Among the buildings that are absolutely worth seeing in Fes El-Bali are the “House of the Glockenspiel”, the Kairaouine mosque and the Koran school Medersa el-Attarine. The “House of the Glockenspiel” dates from the 14th century. Several bells hang on its facade, which together form a carillon, which, curiously, is powered by water. The mosque (founded in 857) is one of the oldest buildings in the city. Western tourists can only take a look in the courtyard, as it is forbidden for non-Muslims to enter the mosque. The Koran school (opened in the 14th century), on the other hand, can also be visited from the inside. Another tourist attraction is Nejjarine Square, which has a fountain decorated with mosaics. Most visitors also stop by the mausoleum of the city’s founder, Moulay Idriss II. Another tourist attraction is Nejjarine Square, which has a fountain decorated with mosaics. Most visitors also stop by the mausoleum of the city’s founder, Moulay Idriss II. Another tourist attraction is Nejjarine Square, which has a fountain decorated with mosaics. Most visitors also stop by the mausoleum of the city’s founder, Moulay Idriss II.
Market bustle – the scent of old Morocco
There are numerous market stalls in the narrow streets. The scent of spices wafts through the alleys. Tourists particularly like to stroll through the Souk Boujlond, a covered market in which mainly vegetable and fruit traders sell their goods. Those looking for souvenirs will have a closer look at the artisan stalls. Ceramics and wood carvings in particular are typical souvenirs from Fez. Great examples of oriental wood carving can also be seen in the “Musée des Arts et Metiers du Bois”, the “Wood Carving Museum” in the middle of the Fes El-Bali district.