The city gates
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Fez remains a walled city, as it was in 1924 when Russell and Holmes walked its streets, as it was for the centuries before that. Cars are kept out by the high adobe bricks, the population kept in by the press of the walls. The gates,
although now largely symbolic, remain places of gathering and transition as much now as they were a thousand years past. Russell meets the first of the city’s gates from the inside of the city:
I soon came to the explanation for this district’s relative bustle: a city gate, very new and strong-looking, ornate with mosaic tile (zellij, the translator in my head whispered). Beyond it was clearly a more modern part of this city, with men in suits, the sign for a bank, several horse-carts, even a motorcar. And: soldiers.
I leant casually against a wall. Armed French soldiers, with the bored stance and alert gaze of guards the world around. As I watched, they moved forward to intercept a man on a white mule, who freely handed over the immensely long Jezail rifle he held and continued inside. It would seem that arms were not permitted in the city.
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