Fes

Located by the Atlas Mountains, Fes (also called Fez) has been called the "Mecca of the West" and the "Athens of Africa" because it is viewed as the cultural capital of Morocco. It was the capital of modern Morocco until 1925, when that title shifted over to Rabat, though it remains the capital of the Fes-Meknes administrative region.

One of Morocco’s imperial cities, Fes is a medieval city that retains much of its old world feel. The city has not one, but two old medina quarters. The larger medina is Fes-el-Bali, which is listed as a UNESSCO World Heritage site and believed to be the largest car-free urban center in the world.

Upon entering the famous blue gate of Bab Boujeloud, its labyrinthine twists and turns take you through narrow streets where life remains much the same as it was 1,000 years ago. The University of al-Qarawiyyin, founded by Muslim woman in 859 CE, is the oldest continuously run functioning university in the world! Mosques and medersas pepper the city, particularly within the medinas, though most do not allow non-Muslims to enter. There are two exceptions within Fes-el-Bali - Medersa Bou Inania and Medersa el-Attarine, both beautiful examples of 14th century Merenid architecture, and definitely worth a visit.