Photos: Facelift to Morocco’s Old City of Fez helps lure tourists

In recent times the imperial city of Fez has been overlooked by tourists in favour of Marrakesh, but now Morocco's 'spiritual' capital is bustling with visitors thanks to major renovations and low-cost flights. Since 2013, more than one billion dirhams (92 million euros) of investments have been poured into Fez to restore the 9th century walled medina and revitalize tourism.

UPDATED ON JUN 06, 2019 11:45 AM IST 8 Photos
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A man walks inside a tannery from the 9th century walled medina in the ancient city. Fez is the spiritual capital of Morocco, famed for its culture and its age-old handicraft work. Abderahim Belkhayat, head of a regional body of artisans, said an influx of visitors to Fez “benefits” craftsmen, noting that three quarters of the medina’s residents earn a living directly or indirectly from the sector. (Fadel Senna / AFP)

A man walks inside a tannery from the 9th century walled medina in the ancient city. Fez is the spiritual capital of Morocco, famed for its culture and its age-old handicraft work. Abderahim Belkhayat, head of a regional body of artisans, said an influx of visitors to Fez “benefits” craftsmen, noting that three quarters of the medina’s residents earn a living directly or indirectly from the sector. (Fadel Senna / AFP)

UPDATED ON JUN 06, 2019 11:45 AM IST
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In recent times the imperial city of Fez has been overlooked by tourists in favour of Marrakesh, but now Morocco’s “spiritual” capital is bustling with visitors due to major renovations and low-cost flights. Since 2013, more than one billion dirhams ($103 million) of investment have been poured into Fez to restore the 9th-century walled medina and develop tourism. (Fadel Senna / AFP)

In recent times the imperial city of Fez has been overlooked by tourists in favour of Marrakesh, but now Morocco’s “spiritual” capital is bustling with visitors due to major renovations and low-cost flights. Since 2013, more than one billion dirhams ($103 million) of investment have been poured into Fez to restore the 9th-century walled medina and develop tourism. (Fadel Senna / AFP)

UPDATED ON JUN 06, 2019 11:45 AM IST
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Tourists and locals walk in walled medina. Behind the high crenellated walls that surround the medina lie 9,000 historical houses, 11 madarsas, 83 mausoleums, 176 mosques and 1,200 handicraft workshops. Patrician palaces with their secret gardens and terraces, elegant fountains and ancient caravansary, or inns, are among the jewels lying there to be discovered. (Fadel Senna / AFP)

Tourists and locals walk in walled medina. Behind the high crenellated walls that surround the medina lie 9,000 historical houses, 11 madarsas, 83 mausoleums, 176 mosques and 1,200 handicraft workshops. Patrician palaces with their secret gardens and terraces, elegant fountains and ancient caravansary, or inns, are among the jewels lying there to be discovered. (Fadel Senna / AFP)

UPDATED ON JUN 06, 2019 11:45 AM IST
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Men gather at the Moulay Idriss II mausoleum in medina. Home to the world’s oldest working library, the medina was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981 for its “outstanding universal value”. Like many monuments it has been renovated after the authorities in the late 1980s sounded the alarm in a report saying that more than half of its buildings were crumbling. (Fadel Senna / AFP)

Men gather at the Moulay Idriss II mausoleum in medina. Home to the world’s oldest working library, the medina was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981 for its “outstanding universal value”. Like many monuments it has been renovated after the authorities in the late 1980s sounded the alarm in a report saying that more than half of its buildings were crumbling. (Fadel Senna / AFP)

UPDATED ON JUN 06, 2019 11:45 AM IST
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A woman walks in the 9th century walled medina. Guardian of priceless treatises in Islamic studies, astronomy and medicine, the library is nestled in the maze of narrow and dark alleyways which tourists and donkey-drawn carts can struggle to navigate. (Fadel Senna / AFP)

A woman walks in the 9th century walled medina. Guardian of priceless treatises in Islamic studies, astronomy and medicine, the library is nestled in the maze of narrow and dark alleyways which tourists and donkey-drawn carts can struggle to navigate. (Fadel Senna / AFP)

UPDATED ON JUN 06, 2019 11:45 AM IST
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A woman stands in the balcony of a traditional building. In mid-April, King Mohammed VI visited Fez to inaugurate some buildings that had been renovated and launched the second phase of the rehabilitation programme. (Fadel Senna / AFP)

A woman stands in the balcony of a traditional building. In mid-April, King Mohammed VI visited Fez to inaugurate some buildings that had been renovated and launched the second phase of the rehabilitation programme. (Fadel Senna / AFP)

UPDATED ON JUN 06, 2019 11:45 AM IST
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A woman seen sitting in the 9th century walled medina. Following the royal visit, authorities issued a report insisting that the rehabilitation work respect the medina’s “authenticity” and “original architecture”. The ancient medina is a live treasure, hidden and secret, which cannot be taken lightly. (Fadel Senna / AFP)

A woman seen sitting in the 9th century walled medina. Following the royal visit, authorities issued a report insisting that the rehabilitation work respect the medina’s “authenticity” and “original architecture”. The ancient medina is a live treasure, hidden and secret, which cannot be taken lightly. (Fadel Senna / AFP)

UPDATED ON JUN 06, 2019 11:45 AM IST
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Tourism is a major source of revenue for Morocco, with more than 12 million visitors in 2018. Tourists gather on terraces overlooking the tanneries to snap pictures of the men working below, using the same methods as their ancestors did. The tanners stand almost knee-deep in large vats containing quicklime, cow urine, salt and water to clean the hides, which they later soak in pigeon poop and water before the dying. (Fadel Senna / AFP)

Tourism is a major source of revenue for Morocco, with more than 12 million visitors in 2018. Tourists gather on terraces overlooking the tanneries to snap pictures of the men working below, using the same methods as their ancestors did. The tanners stand almost knee-deep in large vats containing quicklime, cow urine, salt and water to clean the hides, which they later soak in pigeon poop and water before the dying. (Fadel Senna / AFP)

UPDATED ON JUN 06, 2019 11:45 AM IST
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