» Morocco: The Magic of the Orient III – Fez, Meknes and Marakesh
Morocco: The Magic of the Orient III – Fez, Meknes and Marakesh
In the second part of Fez, we take a look at the Blue Gate which is green from the other side for it is the color of Islam and blue is the color of Fez. There is a lots of vegetables, nuts, dates, and chickens around.
Another stop is the royal palace with seven gates. The number symbolizes the days in the week. Next to the palace, there is Mellah Jewish quarter. I admire amazing Andalusian-style balcony. There are still many vendors selling here many things.
Today we travel to Meknes founded by Moulay Ismali. It was a horrible tyrant. He even said that his subjects were nothing but rats. Still, he was quite a skillful ruler and he wanted to reach the heights of his contemporary, Louis XIV. He asked his daughters to marry him yet he was declined. What could have Louis' daughter think of the possibility that she would became another member of sultan's harem. However, instead of his daughter, Louis sent him a clock which pleased the sultan. He had a number of stables with beautiful stallions. True Berber. He founded the city of Meknes and Al Mansur, an astonishing gate. Gates were symbol of prosperity and wealth of a city. That's why sultans paid so much attention to building them.
Upon our tour in Meknes, we have a long journey to Marrakesh ahead of us. The city is called the pearl of the south. The landscape changes swiftly under us as we travel across little villages or vast forests of cork-trees. Further odwn the road, the forests consists of eucalyptus trees creating cool shadows. Such trees improve bad soil in 20 years so much that you can plant anything in it. After that there is wasteland. People plant there prickly pears because nothing else can grow in this sun dryed land. Furhter down the road, we spot the Atlas mountains and deep valleys of blossoming oleanders. Several hours later, we enter Beni Melah and take a 20 in a beautiful garden up on the hill behind the town.
I see first groups of palms from my window. The color of sand changed from yellow gold to red-pinkish. This is a clear sign that we are approaching our destination. The 12 kilometer fortification wall is made of trampled down clay. The wall is 9 meters high with the width of 2 meters. This beautiful oasis includes 100 date palms and it feels like it has been waiting for us with open hands to welcome us, pilgrims. There are over 200 caravanserais – hotels for caravans. These cannot be sold to private persons for individuals could earn some cash. Finally, changes to a green oasis. Therefore, mosque here make an image of a marbel oasis with columns replacing palms. Here, in this oasis, everybody hurries up to Square of the Dead. This is the heart of traditional Marrakesh and the soul of Morocco's storytelling. Here, among all jugglers, fire eaters, and acrobats one quickly forgets about all the hardship in desert. I imagine spikes with imapled heads of dead troublemakers which used to "decorate" the square. By this measure, the sultan forced his subjects into obedience. And by this measure he tamed the free souls of the Berbers.
GPS: (Marrákeš) 31°36'12.9"N 7°58'50.7"W
Text: Sylvie Halouzková
Photos: Sylvie Halouzková, Wikimedia Commons: Asemlal, Bernard Gagnon
If you are going to the desert while traveling across Morocco, do not miss the relatively large provincial town of Tinghir and its annexed Palmeria on your way to Merzouga. It is actually an oasis, the last nice place to live before entering the plains leading into the desert. There are over 40,000 inhabitants in the city, most of whom are Berber ethnic. It is one of the poorest regions in the country and you will probably encounter begging children who are accustomed to regular income from the pockets of tourists while staying in the area.
Imlil is a relatively small mountain village located in the western part of the Atlas Mountains, roughly in the central part of Morocco. In fact, it is not so interesting in itself, but still welcomes thousands of visitors every year. You ask why? This is the place where alpine tourism enthusiasts go to the highest mountain in North Africa, Jebel Toubkal.
If you want to move to a quieter but equally interesting area of Marrakesh for a moment, the coastal city of Essaouira (formerly known as Mogador) is the right choice. Located on the west coast of Morocco, this pleasant city is soaked in the Atlantic Ocean and the way to it is through endless argan fields.
Ourika Valley is about 30 km from Marrakesh, literally on the high Atlas. A river of the same name flows through it, creating a narrow valley between the high mountains and a narrow valley on both banks.
raveling to see movie backdrop is more popular every year, so it's no wonder that the Ouarzazate Moroccan Valley is a sought-after and, most of all, a cheap destination for movie enthusiasts from around the world. Everyone is eager to see and touch the scenery that has played a major role in many series and movies. In the valley you can see real shooting places, such as the historic Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou. Above all, there are large Atlas studios built on the dusty plains of the eastern foothills of the Atlas Mountains.
Undoubtedly, Morocco is one of the most diverse countries, mainly because of its size. The nature of the landscape changes significantly with kilometers traveled, so in a few days in one country you can get from the Atlantic coast through the Atlas Mountains to the vast palms, gorges and also the desert.
Before we go together to explore other Casablanca monuments, we will introduce you to urban culture.
The sun barely rises above the horizon, and Casablanca is awake. Red taxi cabs drive in the streets lined with modern buildings. You feel an incredible amount of energy around you, which, of course, overflows with you. It just lives in Casablanca.
In the previous article on Rabat we told you about the history and architectural heritage of this city. Today we will be interested in local culture.
You have already had a chance to see Morocco, specifically Rabat, with us. Today, however, we dive deep into this interesting city and escape the winter that prevails with us.
We spend this day in Marakesh. In the morning, we enter Agdal, gardens founded by the Berber dynasty of Almohad in the 12th century. They constructed here a network of water reservoirs and canals. This is the most advanced water reservoir in Maghreb. Thanks to this reservoir, there is a large olive tree garden around it. We approach the large reservoir filled with water. In the background, we see the High Atlas with its snow caped mountains. High palmas around us only add to this incredible place.
When traveling from Fez, we travel across Meknen plain dubbed the Garden of Morocco. All you can think of grow here – melons, bananas, oranges, lemons, almonds, and grain.
This time we leave Europe to visit Africa, Morocco (the Kingdom of Morocco) to be precise. 32 million people live in this country in the north of Africa. It is a beloved sea resort where also many landmarks are located.
We travel to the north from Senegal to northwestern part of African continent. Our destination is Morocco, the country which covers around half-a-million square kilometers and where live 33 million people.
Would you love some romantic adventure? Visit Morocco with beautiful beaches, ancient Atlas mount...