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FES

Looking out from the Merinides necropolis, Fez is an untroubled ocean of flat roofs punctuated by soaring minarets, with a gentle succession of tenaces following bath baTIks of the Wadi Fez.
But once in the town itself, there is a bustle of activity everywhere! A multitude of passages, stairways and small court yards lead into a maze of streets lined with stalls selling silver jewellery, copper trays, pottery painted in Fez blue, multicoloured djellabas, honey cakes, lamb kebabs, grilled almonds and mint tea.
There is profusion in aIl things. Even in Fez itself, with ifs multiple facets. For apart from the European town with ifs broad avenues built after the First World War, there is also

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Fez el Jedid and Fez el Bali.
ln Fez el Bali there are also two distinctly different districts. During the VlIIth century, 8,000 Arab cfamilies settled on the right baTIk o'f Wadi Fez, after having been expelled from Andalusia by the Christian armies. One hundred yeaTs later, 2,000 Kerouan families established their homes on the opposite baTIk.
The Andalousian arabs brought with them their art and the experience of a civilisation at the very peak
of its glory - as demonstrated by the splendid
decorations, stucco and mosaic in the Andalousian masque and the Es-Sahrij medersa (Koranic school).
The Kerouan heritage includes the imposingly rich Qaraouiyyin, the first university in the western worId
and still today one of the main intellectual centres
of North Africa.
When the Merinides came to power in the XIIIth century, they found Fez el Bali tao small to contain the palaces that would be worthy of their magnificence.
So they built them outside the city walls, adding
gardens, masques, Koranic schools and souks. Which is how New "Fez, or Fez el Jedid, was barn.
The first capital of the realm in 809 under Idriss II, and then twice again, in the XIIIth century un der
the Merinides and in the XIXth century under the reign
of Moulay Abdallah, Fez is the spiritual and cultural centre of traditional Morocco - and the most imperial of aIl the imperial cities.