Some crafts to look for…
The Fez Medina is famous for its production of handicrafts. You will notice as you walk through the Medina that each artisan has his own quarter. In the carpentar’s quarter, you hear hammering and the get a whif of the fresh smell of wood. A little bit further down the road, you will hear the coppersmiths banging as they mold huge copper cauldrons. You reach the tanneries and you smell the unpleasant smell of dyed leather. With not a sight of machines or modern factories in the whole city, you know that when you buy something, your souvenir has been carefully crafted by hand.
Bargaining – The majority of trade in Morocco works by negotiating, even for Moroccans. So when you go to a bazaar, you should always try to bargain. There are a few stores where the owner has fixed prices. But in most cases, never go with the first price. It is a good idea to be patient and become educated on the prices. This means you should shop around – don’t jump on something, even if you love it. Go to different stores and ask the prices. This way, you can come back to the first store educated on the price. However, remember that as a tourist, you will never get the “correct” price. So, while you should be diligent about bringing the price down, if you arrive at a price that you are happy with, this the most important thing.
Zelij is beautiful detailed ceramic tiling that is a traditional art of Fes. You can buy a small zelij table that is foldable and surprisingly easy to transport. Or you can have a whole fountain shipped home!! If you go to Ain Nokbi, a ceramic/zelij factory near Bab Ftouh, you can see zelij being made, but the prices are fixed and highly inflated, so look around the shops in the Medina before buying.
Pottery, Fes is famous for its pottery. “The blue of Fez” is the trademark color that you find in all of the pottery shops. As mentioned above, you can go to Ain Nokbi to see the pottery and zelij being made. They have a shop with good quality pottery, but at extremely inflated fixed prices. It is best to buy in the Medina. One good place is at Souk El-Henna. However, watch for quality. Usually, the shop owner will educate you on these varying qualities with honesty.
Babouches are the famous pointy shoes that you will see on the feet of many Moroccans. These fashionable and charming shoes are available in many exciting colors both for men and women. The babouche market is to the right of Souk Attarine, the road leading to Medersa Attarine.
Handbags and leather products Bags, belts, jackets, wallets, “pouf” seats…search through the different qualities and colors and you are sure to find what you are looking for. The best place for these products is near the tanneries themselves. Pay attention to the varying qualities of leather; bad quality leather cracks over time.
A fez from Fes! A great present for a friend and a cheap buy, too. Available all throughout the Medina.
Jewelry comes in many shapes and sizes. There are some great silver and gold pieces that are at reasonable prices, too! You will find silver shops in the Medina all the way down the Talaa Kebira and going towards Nejjarine Square from the Talaa Sghira.
Traditional clothing comes in many styles for both men and women. The most famous is the jellaba (for males and females). This traditional robe is chic and comfortable. You can find light-weight styles for the summer, or cozy wool ones for the winter. Either way, they are practical and quite fashionable, too. The best place to find jellabas is in the area of the babouche market and also in Fes Jdid. If you have enough time during your visit, the best thing is to choose the fabric that you want and to have a tailor make one in your exact size. The price for this of course depends on the work, but you can get a nice one made for 500-600 DH (50-60 Euros), not including the fabric.
Rugs are not traditionally made in Fes. You will find many carpet shops around the Medina advertising Berber rugs, but you are unlikely to find a good quality and you will probably pay too much. The best place to buy rugs in the area is Azrou, where you can get some of the best rugs from around the area and even other regions in Morocco.