Fès in late light   53220
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1 Place el-Baghdadi
2 Bab Mahrouq
3 Bab ech-Chorfa
4 Kasbah en-Nouar
5 (Moon is outside)


Location: Place Pasha el-Baghdadi (600 m)      by: Pedrotti Alberto
Area: Morocco      Date: 24-03-2012
Fès is more a world than a simple town. The name itself means "pick", referring perhaps to its foundation, attributed to Moulay Idriss and traditionally dated 791. The place grow up with the simultaneous affluence of the Muslims chased from Cordoba - whence the existence of an Andalous quartier - and of people chased from Kairouan, now in Tunisia - whence the name Kairouine of the main mosque in town. Later on, Fès el Bali (the old) was accompanied by Fès el Jdid, the New, added by the Merenides in the XIII century. These are the two souls now coexisting within the city walls, while outside is chaotically developing the new, colonial-style town, now featuring something like 1.200.000 inhabitants.
The place shown here marks in a certain sense the transition between Fès el Bali and Fès el Jdid. The door that you see lightened, Bab el Chorfa, is the unique entrance to the kasbah en-Nouar (of the flowers), named after a tribe of the Tafilalt, the region of Errachidia-Merzouga. And it is because of the murder of a Berber chief that the door right of it is named Bab Mahrouq (of the stake).
Not far on the right side of the photo is Bab Boujloud, the gateway to the medina, a labirynth of more than 4000 little streets, where you cannot expect your GPS to retrace your steps every time that you get lost - which happens every five minutes. Actually, the streets of the medina are so narrow that there is no satellite reception there. You should better hire an official guide, or maybe a false guide, like the Berber student who explained to me the town for maybe 8 hours - and all this for 200 dirhams, which is the equivalent of less than 20 euros.
If I was not going to be tired on Easter Sunday, after having walked 11 hours in search for the summit of Jebel Ayachi, I was truly exhausted here, after a day around the medina. With my bicycle (which, even if not labeled, you should recognize) I was heading to the bus station, little outside the city walls, to wait for the night bus that would carry me to the desert.
All this said, I have the clear feeling to have seen nearly nothing of Fès: not even a step, for example, into Fès el Jdid with its mellah (the Jewish quarter) of even to the panoramic place "par excellence", the Merenides tombs on the hill. But this is a town that would need many more days to be deciphered.


It is good to see the people at this place. This gives the pano a nice presence - and of course your bike ! ;-) HJ
2013/04/18 18:13 , Hans-Jürgen Bayer
Your bike acts as a perfect logo - no need to put your name on the pano anymore. Great evening scene - these guys look like selling to the locals, not quitre as touristy as Marrakech. Cheers, Martin
2013/04/18 20:17 , Martin Kraus
H.J.B.: yes, maybe I would not even have taken the photos if the place would have been empty. However, this is not the case since there is a perennial souk in front of the kasbah entrance. The business, however, posed severe restrictions to what I rated wise to shoot: continuing left would be have very interesting, but too prone to errors!
Limiting myself to these five shots (16x1.5 mm, ISO 400, 1/60 sec, f/5.6) I had a reasonably easy job with Hugin, where I needed only two masks. Even having the competing pixels, I did not fight the orphaned shadow in front of the "philosopher" passing by... after all, he is so important in the composition that he well deserves two shadows!
The same unorthodox choice I did in an incredible pano that I shot incredibly close to here: www.panoramio.com/photo/88594122 But I severely risk to be banned from the community if I publish it here.
The bike was in that place only by chance; I had parked it in clear sight mainly for safety reasons. And, yes, seeing it leaned there at the wall I thought, why not to place myself such to portray it as well? My new red Vaude panniers are not bad photographically. The moon was right above, and not too high, but I did not want to make stitching life uneasy taking vertical shots.

Martin: yes, the tourists are all concentrated in the nearby Bab Boujloud area: you know, the extreme-mass-tourism of nowadays is turning the classical 80-20 law in a maybe 95-05, that is, 95% of the people are concentrated in 05% of the space... This is true in the towns, in the Dolomites: everywhere!
2013/04/20 11:23 , Pedrotti Alberto
Thank you Alberto for sharing these exceptional impressions with us. HJ
2013/04/21 09:59 , Hans-Jürgen Bayer
very beautiful!
2013/05/02 14:20 , Sj Jamali

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Pedrotti Alberto

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