Story offer: words & pictures
Location: Fez, Morocco
Subject: Fez's sumptuous interior world, in palaces, riads, fondouqs, madrasas & mosques
Title: Hidden Fez / The Treasures Within
An immense warren of narrow alleys surrounded by mighty walls, Fez is the world's largest medieval city still completely intact. But the 9,000-plus dusty streets give little clue to the sumptuousness that lies within. Only when you step inside a palace, a madrasa or a mosque do you encounter the rich decoration that is the legacy of this once wealthy and powerful city, formerly an imperial capital. Take a peek inside the exquisite Bou Inania Medersa (14th century religious school), the spectacular Menebhi Palace (royal minister's residence, now a restaurant), the ornate Palais des Merenides (royal palace, now a restaurant), the lovely Dar Calipau riad (private house turned hotel), the beautifully restored Fondouq Nejjarine (an old traders' hostel or caravanserai). See the lavish attention paid to the beautification of interior spaces using only geometric and vegetal patterns. Admire the superb craftsmanship in polychrome mosaic tiling (zellij), intricately carved stucco and carved cedar wood.