The Old Souk is a sprawling maze within the walled Medina of Fes. Remember Aladdin, where he’s running away from those palace guards after stealing an apple. It’s kind of like that. Be prepared to find everything you could ever want to buy from an Arab market. Leather goods, carved lamps, and grilled hearts can be found every few feet. Just don’t expect to find your way back to the same shop. It really is a maze and maps aren’t any good. Streets bend and curve back on itself. Alleys split into smaller alleys and an open path can easily lead to a dead end as a weather worn door can be a shortcut to exactly where you need to go. So what’s a traveler to do?
Throw Out The Map And Guidebooks
You’ll never know what you’ll find and you’ll probably end up finding something unexpectedly wonderful along the way. Below you’ll find a short photo journey inside the Old Souk. My friend and I just started making random turns and enjoyed whatever we stumbled upon. Somehow we still found all the major attractions from the Leather Tannery to University of Al-Karaouine, the oldest university in the world. We even found some delicious liver and kidney sandwiches for 10 Dirhams.
When you are finished exploring, you can pay one of the children running around to lead you back or ask for directions to one of the gates as a reference point. We used the famous Blue Gate as our marker.
Outside The Medina
Once outside, we walked up along the hills to get a wider view of the Medina above. You can really get a sense of the enormity and complex weaving of the Medina. I’d hate to be a part of the city planning committee.