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Location - North Africa; Capital - Rabat; Population - 32 million; Currency - Morocco Dirham MORE MOROCCO

The most convenient place to fly to get the Spanish enclave of Melilla was Fez. Not a bad destination in itself, so I revisited the city I first saw god knows how many years previously - October 2011. I then returned to the Moroccan coast in November 2013 to track down the Spanish military fortresses that passed me by a couple of years earlier


mornoteThe Moroccan Dirham










Before diving into the medina, I went to Borj Sud, a fort situated above the city. It's the perfect place to take in the medinas of Fez el-Jdid (left) and Fez el-Bali (right) - Fez


mor404A close up of Fez el-Bali, the old town where tourists spend most of their time - Fez




mor409Borj Sud (South Fort) is a short taxi ride from the old town - Fez














mor412A gate marks one of the entrances to Fez el-Jdid, the newer of the old cities - Fez















mor410Walking through a quiet Mellah, the former Jewish quarter within Fez el-Jdid - Fez


mor411Balconies of some of the old Jewish houses in the Mellah - Fez


mor413An old waterwheel, or noria, in Fez el-Jdid - Fez















mor417Bab Boujeloud is the busiest of Fes el-Bali's entrance gates - Fez















mor693Hotels around Bab Boujeloud have rooftop terraces with fantastic views of the gate and the rest of the old city - Fez


mor702Sunset from Bab Boujeloud - Fez



mor709There's several teahouses and restaurants just inside Bab Boujeloud - Fez















mor419Near Bab Boujeloud, the Batha Museum (Dar Batha) is housed in a 19th century palace - Fez


mor424Batha Museum's Andalucian-style garden - Fez



mor425A Dar Batha courtyard - Fez
















mor428One of the huge number of souqs (markets) in Fez el-Bali - Fez















mor432The entrance to Bou Inania Medersa (madrasa), a 14th century Islamic college and mosque - Fez



mor434The courtyard of Bou Inania Medersa - Fez



mor435The medersa was built by Merenid sultan Bou Inan - Fez















mor437Arabic writing on the walls of Bou Inania Medersa - Fez















mor438Some of the medersa carvings are extremely intricate - Fez


mor439Even pigeons are admiring the handiwork - Fez



mor429Opposite the medersa is the ancient water clock, originally consisting of brass bowls with 13 windows and platforms - Fez
















mor431The protrusions form part of the ancient water clock but other brass sections have yet to be renovated.
It's unclear how the clock functioned so maybe it'll never be fully restored - Fez














mor440The markets, or souqs, include brass-making, carpentry, henna, gold, jewellery, pottery and leather, to name but a few - Fez


mor441I visited on a Friday so the souqs were pretty quiet. If you want hustle and bustle try mid-week - Fez



mor443Fez al-Bali is a myriad alleyways where you're bound to get lost without a guide - Fez













mor446Fez loves fountains of all shapes and sizes. This one is on Place an-Nejjarine next to the funduq of the same name.













mor447This funduq - a caravanserai where merchants slept and traded goods while passing through - is now the Nejjarine Museum of Wooden Arts & Crafts - Fez


mor449Go to the funduq's rooftop lookout for a cold drink - Fez



mor451I'm told this is just a roof but it looks pretty quirky to me - Fez













mor452The Zaouia Moulay Idriss II contains the tomb of Moulay Idriss II, the city's patron saint and ruler of Morocco in the 9th century - Fez















mor457The courtyard and walls of the 14th century Medersa el-Attarine, another ancient college - Fez


mor460Friday prayers at Kairaouine Mosque, one of the oldest and largest mosques in the world - Fez


mor461Some of the streets in the old town are very narrow and can be a bit of a traffic jam - Fez















mor462The famous Chaouwara Tanneries of Fez el-Bali - Fez















mor466The leather is treated with pigeon droppings - Fez



mor463Vats of vegetables dyes are used to colour the leather - turmeric for yellow; poppy for red; indigo for blue; mint for green etc. However the modern way means chemicals are often used instead - Fez



mor470Drying out dyed skins - Fez
















mor471Place as-Seffarine is the Brass-makers' Square, though most of it was closed on a Friday - Fez















mor474A world away from the old cities is the Ville Nouvelle, or New Town - Fez


mor477The New Town is a great place for a coffee or mint tea at an Avenue Hassan II roadside café - Fez


mor629The countryside and hills surrounding Nador















mor482The very tall minaret of the Grand Mosque at Nador, a few kms fom the border with Melilla















mor481The Town Hall at Nador













mor483It's a nice enough place to while away a few hours before or after a trip to Melilla - Nador



mor485Head for the café on the waters of Mar Chica, a lagoon just a short walk from the town centre - Nador



mor486Enjoying a refreshing mint tea on the Mar Chica - Nador
















mor488Boats are available for short cruises along the shore - Nador















mor491The Sidi Ali Mausoleum is close to the lagoon - Nador



mor494Sidi Ali Mausoleum - Nador



mor495The mausoleum and café are linked by a corniche - Nador















mor480Taking time out on the corniche - Nador















mor636An hour's drive east of Nador is the coastal resort of Ras el-Ma


mor632Street vendors outside the Grand Mosque - Ras el-Ma



mor635The wide beach at Ras el-Ma, also known as Ras Kebdana, as well as Cap de l'Eau in French and Cabo de Agua in Spanish














mor645Fishermen repair their nets - Ras el-Ma















mor638Looking along the coast to the Algerian mountains, from the rocky headland at Ras el-Ma


mor646A seawall protects Ras el-Ma from the Mediterranean



mor648My reason for coming here was to see the Chafarinas Islands, a slice of Spain in Africa - Ras el-Ma













mor652From the headland the three islands that constitute the Spanish military islands known as the Islas Chafarinas are in full view.
On the left is the largest island, Isla del Congreso, followed by Isla de Isabel II, with Isla del Rey on the right - Ras el-Ma














mor642The headland facing the islands is a Moroccan military zone, supposedly off-limits to visitors - Ras el-Ma


penon13Isla del Congreso is a rugged island with no permanent population - Islas Chafarinas


penon15bIsla de Isabel II is the only populated island with a 190-man military garrison supporting a lighthouse, watchtower, Church of the Immaculate Conception and the Neolithic site of Zafrin - Islas Chafarinas














mor654Public transport is sporadic to and from Ras el-Ma. Luckily a kind local couple gave me a lift back to Nador















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LINKS - Morocco tourist board - Moroccan train timetables, fares, info etc - download timetable under Telechargement - 'Horaires & Tarifs CTM'


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