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Fes

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January 3, 2009 by Kathryn Locke

Fes is divided into three distinct areas: the Ville Nouvelle, Fes el-Jdid and Fes el-Bali or the old medina. The latter part of the city was the original ninth century core and is entirely enclosed by a wall that spans 600 acres. Crammed with arts, crafts, markets, mosques, and food stalls, this maze of alleys and looming walls is as appealing to travellers as it is challenging. With tourism comprising a significant proportion of the nations economic revenue, places like the old medina in Fes have become key tourist attractions within Morocco. Yet this walled city is not easily accessible to the average unaccompanied foreigner.

The labyrinth of towering walls make local knowledge a necessity not only for locating an exact food stall or carpet seller, but for simply navigating your way into and out of the twisting maze of over 6000 miniature streets. This unusual partnership between physical inaccessibility and cultural and aesthetic appeal has created the almost perfect, mutually beneficial touristic space. The walls that surround the medina protect its contents not only from a harsh climate and past foreign invasion; now also act as a social and cultural shield from the annual deluge of foreign visitors. The structure's inhospitable nature maintains local control over space and preserves the authenticity and uniqueness that quell the touristic thirst for the ultimate travel experience.

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