Nestled in the hills of north central Morocco, Fès' ancient walled medina is a labyrinth of narrow alleys, passages, lanes and souks: the world's largest car-free urban space. Founded by Idris, an Arab refugee-turned-Moroccan king, Fès also claims the world's oldest university, built by Fatima al-Fihri, herself a refugee from Tunisia.
There's no specific wonder here other than the medina, and that's OK. Sometimes a city or neighborhood is exemplary enough to be a wonder in and of itself.
Listener Steve Fait joins us to talk about visiting Fès, navigating its maze, exploring its secrets and managing carpet salesmen. Plus, we discuss the joys of tagine, although the recipe this week is b'stilla, a savory/sweet Moroccan pot pie that is one of my all-time favorite foods.
Abun-Nasr, Jamil Mirʻi. A History of the Maghrib in the Islamic Period
Carrington, Daisy. "This 1,157-year-old library gets a facelift". CNN.
DK Eyewitness Morocco
Hourani, Albert. A History of the Arab Peoples
Lonely Planet Morocco
Nader, Emir. “The World's Oldest University Was Founded by a Woman of Color” in Vice
Othman, Najwa. “Kairouan: Capital of Political Power and Learning in the Ifriqiya”
Sarkeesian, Anita and Ebony Adams. History vs Women: The Defiant Lives that They Don't Want You to Know
Wolfert, Paula. The Food of Morocco
Photo by Alina Chan