Guess what, guys? I found out. After three days in the "mystic city," I could tell that crochety old country clubber a thing or two.
There is an incredible amount of history. Modern-day Fez is actually three different cities. A really, really old one, a pretty old one, and a new French one. We spent all our time in the two older parts of the city, which is amazing. Living in Rabat is like living in a weird hybrid of ancient and modern with taxis and motorcycles barreling down the winding streets, but the Medina of Fez is a step back in time. Some alleys are no more than a couple inches wide, and most of the architecture stands just as it did thousands of years ago.
The first university in the world is in Fez, which is known for its schools throughout Morocco. There are amazing (and smelly) tanneries in Fez, where men stomp giant hides into tans and dyes. There is questionable street food... There are beautiful mosques and mausoleums, as well. Fez is full of living history.
Ancient buildings aren't closed off to be preserved, they are still in use, whether for their original purpose or not, it's not always certain, which I think is awesome. In other parts of the world, old mosques, buildings and ruins are guarded like Fort Knox, with clearly marked pathways for tourists to stick to and be yelled at if they stray. You'll get yelled at in Fez, too, but not for exploring like any curious soul should. You'll get yelled at to buy things, to take tours, to try this candy or that olive, but not for being curious.