The Maze City: the Fez Medina

Fez in Morocco has fortified by walls 8 kilometres long. Cities with complex and labyrinth alleys were built in the Mediterranean region to thwart invasions. The ancient city of Fez is a superb example. Construction began at the end of the 8th century. Mosques were built in the centre, and shops and houses clustered around them. The tangled narrow streets make up the worlds most complicated labyrinth city. It is almost impossible for newcomers to find their way. There are no cars. People rely on donkeys to carry goods.

In Muslim society women have kept to the tradition of not revealing their faces to men other than their family members. There is a tradition of sitting by a rawashin window. The women used to watch the outside world through its holes. The doors were built in alternate positions because the alleys between the houses are so narrow. Though the alleyways are dark, the houses are bright and open inside. The patio allows fresh air and light to stream in, while the high walls block the suns rays. A central aspect of Islamic architecture. The gaps amongst the densely packed houses. The patio lies below.

People living in the Old City of Fez are said to spend their life within the city walls without ever going outside. They live in peace and security, cherishing a close-knit society. The spirit and tradition of medieval Islamic society lives on, here in Fez.

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