Bab Bou Jeloud

Bab Bou Jeloud is one of the most beautiful and most representative access to the medina of Fez. Painted in the colors of the city, azure and white, it is like a port to travel in time.

This famous door was built in the 12th century, at the time of the expansion of the medina, and then restored in 1913. Louis Hubert Lyautey, the prefect of Morocco in the years 1912-1925, had his office next door and his He ordered the exterior of the door to be painted in the colors of Fez, blue and white, and the interior of green, the color of Islam. Blue was supposed to invite travelers to enter the city peacefully and green was a blessing given to those leaving the medina. We wanted them to be guided by Allah for the rest of their journey.

The opening of the door reveals two minarets. The first, renovated and decorated with a green earthenware, is that of the Bou Inania madrassah mosque, and the second belongs to the Abu el Hassan mosque, dating from the same period.

The small square next to the door houses various restaurants and bars. Some have terraces from where, a glass of Moroccan mint tea in hand, you can admire the panorama of the city. In others, it is good to take freshly squeezed orange juice, pancakes and pancakes with honey, a portion of dates or even the head of sheep, a Moroccan treat.

In Bou Jeloud Square, there is also access to the food market (souk) where lamb and beef are sold. Hanging from the hooks, behind the counters of the small stands, we see whole quarters of bovine carcasses. The meat, pigeons enterin the cages, is the base of a broth and a galette stuffed with almonds, called pastilla. The souk also offers live chickens that sellers kill and laugh if asked. Further, there is a stand with camel meat, visible from afar, because often a head of this animal is hanged there. In Morocco, camel meat is considered to have medicinal properties and is used for people recovering from or suffering from tuberculosis. You can also buy another product beneficial to the health of the rose water, ideal to relieve the symptoms of sunstroke and headaches The souk finally offers a large selection of vegetables, such as tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, onions, carrots and artichokes, which Moroccans love to accompany their meat dishes.

Among the regular visitors of the souk who stands near Bab Bou Jeloud are ... cats. They loiter freely, because, as in any Muslim country, they are revered in Morocco Legend has it that the Prophet Muhammad adored these animals so much that one day he even saved a family of cats and transported the cat and his little protected in his clothing. The cat, unaware of his intentions, tore his tunic but even this did not provoke hatred in Muhammad. It is said that it is in memory of this event that the Arabs do not harm these purring quadrupeds. Some Moroccans believe that cats attract demons. Evil spirits, having to choose between the man and the cat, opt for the animal, thus saving the faithful Muslim from possession.

Cinema Bou Jeloud

The medina of Fez although traditional from its origin, flirted a little with the modernity and could not resist the magic of the cinema. Movie stars and their adventures attracted mostly women who lived in harems.

Nearby Bab Bou Jeloud (near Derb Serraj), there is the old cinema Bou Jeloud, closed today. Fatima Mernissi, Moroccan writer, feminist and sociologist born in Fes, describes in her book Dreams of Women: A Childhood in the Harem how women living in a harem were preparing to go out to cinema. When we screened popular films, women could attend the session. Before going out, they spent hours beautifying themselves, applying their makeup or carefully waving their hair. The children held the mirrors and their friends advised them to blacken their eyelids, choose the blush, the hairstyle or the Moroccan slippers, the jewels. When they were ready, they veiled themselves from side to side so that no one could see them.