Walls of Fes el-Bali, Fes

Walls of Fes el-Bali, Fes

Similar to other ancient city walls, the ramparts of Fes served dual purposes of defense and control. Spanning five miles (8 kilometers), they shielded the city from invaders and regulated entry of outsiders. City gates were typically shut and secured at night, restricting late-hour access. Moreover, the walls and gates managed the movement of the city's inhabitants, allowing authorities to detain individuals if necessary. A significant aspect of their control function was managing the flow of goods and ensuring proper taxation, facilitating revenue collection for the authorities, given that all major markets were situated within the city. Symbolically, too, the walls delineated the urban boundaries, establishing the framework for specific rules and regulations within.

With the introduction of gunpowder, the medieval walls lost some of their military relevance against external armies. Nevertheless, they remained largely unchanged over the centuries, as Fes, being an inland city, faced minimal threats from artillery-equipped forces compared to coastal cities like those along the Atlantic, frequently targeted by Portuguese and Spanish incursions. Fes was only briefly occupied by foreign forces once: the Ottomans held it in 1554 for less than a year before it was recaptured by Moroccan Saadis. The Saadis later erected fortifications engineered to withstand gunpowder technology, yet their primary purpose appears to have been enforcing control over the frequently rebellious city. Conversely, local Bedouin or other rural raiders seldom possessed artillery, rendering the existing walls adequate for defense against them.

The city's major cemeteries, such as Bab Mahrouk, Bab Ftouh, and Bab Guissa, are situated just beyond the main gates.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Fes. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Walls of Fes el-Bali on Map

Sight Name: Walls of Fes el-Bali
Sight Location: Fes, Morocco (See walking tours in Fes)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark

Walking Tours in Fes, Morocco

Create Your Own Walk in Fes

Create Your Own Walk in Fes

Creating your own self-guided walk in Fes is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Fes New Town Walking Tour

Fes New Town Walking Tour

Created by the French in the early 20th century, Ville Nouvelle (New Town) is a relatively modern central district of Fez. A far cry from the sensory overload provided by the old Medina, this neighborhood was originally designed to accommodate foreigners and affluent Moroccans only.

Still, Fez's Ville Nouvelle is as much 'real' Morocco as any donkey-packed lane in the old city....  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 Km or 1.7 Miles
Fes Old Town Walking Tour

Fes Old Town Walking Tour

North and west of the fabled Atlas Mountains of North Africa is the ancient city of Fes, or Fez. It is centered on the Fes River.

In the year 789 Idris I founded the city and the Idrisid dynasty. The city was two settlements on either side of the river. In the 11th century, Sultan Yusuf ibn Tashfin established Almoravid rule. He united the settlements into Fes el-Bali. The Almoravids were...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.7 Km or 2.3 Miles