It feels like a trip back in time once you walk through one of the dramatic gates of the ancient medina of Fez. The medina is one of the oldest and largest walled cities in the world and a UNESCO world heritage site. Within its labyrinth of alleyways you pass donkeys carrying fresh fruit, barrels of spice, and artisans practicing ancient trades.
Getting a view overlooking the tanneries is an enlightening experience. Your guide begins by handing you a sprig of fresh mint to hold over your nose to help with the smell. Once you’re on the terrace above he explains how the skins are prepared with pigeon droppings and cow urine. The many vats of colored dyes are all vegetable based and men are waist deep stomping on the skins.
Make sure you enter the medina with plenty of time because it’s easy to get lost. Also be aware the pressure is high for you to buy something from all the vendors but a smile and repeating ‘non merci’ (no thank you) will get you by.
There are other sites to see outside of the medina, which makes Fez worth a several day visit. Bring your Imodium, patience and a good heart and enjoy a taste of ancient history alive before your eyes.