Photo by Jan Wlodarczyk / age fotostock
Copper Beaters Souk at Place Seffarine
The plaza of Place Seffarine, dominated by the entrance to the al-Qarawiyin Library and a sturdy old tree, is one of the most pleasing areas in Fes. As you approach, you’ll hear the sound of the copper beaters tap, tap, tapping away. It’s well worth perusing the stalls to find high-quality cookware to take home, such as pixie pans for boiling milk for your coffee, copper tagines and teapots, and prettily etched bowls for use in the hammam. Stop at the café for seriously strong coffee and to watch the world go by, or scoot around the corner onto Derb Chouara for hot, sweet mint tea spiked with various other healing herbs at a hole-in-the-wall where you’ll rub shoulders with local craftspeople taking a break from their labors.
By Tara Stevens, AFAR Local Expert
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Shopping for Metal in Fes
I’m not a shopper but I have to admit, I have a big weakness when it comes to local handicrafts. Every day that I was in Morocco was heavenly torture for me. Of all the places I spent time in, my favorite handicraft spot was the medina in Fes. Like many a tourist, I bought more than my fair share of the leather goods that Fes is world famous for. Fes is also known for its metal products and Place Seffarine (aka the metal souk) is the place to go. The small square named after the coppersmiths who still work there – pounding copper and brass to produce all sorts of metal products. In fact, you can hear Place Seffarine before you actually see it, the rhythmic sounds of hammer against metal reverberate down the narrow alleys of the medina. Much of what is sold here is produced here following centuries old metalworking methods. Artisans and their apprentices work side by side and in between shopping, it’s very entertaining to just watch them pound and shape metal into the beautiful items sold in the shops. I was filled with glee making my way from one shop to another browsing through handmade utensils, bowls, plates, utensils, teapots, candle holders, boxes of all kinds and more. I had my eyes on the lookout for two uniquely Moroccan items – a copper couscous steamer and an exquisitely carved Moroccan lamp. Place Seffarine is located near the Karaouine Mosque. Like with everything, quality and price of the products vary - shop around and bargain hard!
By Julee K., AFAR Local Expert