What’s a Fondouk?

Before the 20th century, a Foundouk was a sort of mixed-use commercial property for travelers and merchants who came from across North Africa to trade – a hybrid of hotel and stable in the medina where animals (camels, donkeys, etc.) slept downstairs and people slept upstairs.

‘These were zero star hotel during the day, but at night they turned into 500 stars hotel when you looked up to the sky,’ Mustapha said. ‘These Foundouks turned into artisan workshops today – there are at least 50 in the medina. I have friends in these workshops; one man I know is making shoes more than 60 years in the same shop. I’ve learned a lot from them. They told me about the time of the French in Morocco.’

There aren’t any middlemen in Foundouks; you deal directly with the artisan and pay less than than you would in the souks. One example is Foundouk Sarsar on Rue Mouassine (pictured below).

‘there used to be camel parking in the courtyard’ -Mustapha
This babouche maker sold me a pair of sky blue babouches I never wear.