A pleasing culture shock awaits you as you arrive in Morocco. It’s as culturally rich as it is geographically numerous and cannot fail to impress. Visiting a few of its cities and villages and experiencing the generosity of its folks will depart you hooked, as I used to be, by the Arabic experience.
Fez is the bustling cultural and spiritual centre of Morocco.
The main attraction is the Medieval Medina within the vibrant old city, which has been continuously inhabited for the reason that tenth century. It’s busy with historically dressed Moroccans, and rich with the noise of shopping for and promoting, veiled ladies going about their work and bell-ringing water sellers.
A guided tour is the simplest solution to tackle the buzzing hive that is traditional Fez, however if you are brave, you’ll be able to negotiate the tiny alleyways, too slim for vehicles while risking getting misplaced and then haggling with a neighborhood to be guided again out!
The Tanneries: A visit to the souks will result in a visit to Fez’s famous tanneries, where one of many oldest arts on the earth is practiced to provide the tender leather-based do characteristic of Morocco.
You’ll want a powerful abdomen for the smells given off during curing, while you look down on the fascinating tanners’ yard and its impressive vats of various coloured dyes and piles of skins. Open 9-6, admission free.
View Point: The most effective vantage point over the traditional walled city is from the ruined Merenid Tombs on a hilltop to the east of the city. From here you possibly can see the skyline with its profusion of satellite tv for pc dishes, and a basic mass of palaces, inexperienced-roofed holy locations, the tanneries, as well as the adjacent Karaouine Mosque.
Moulay Idriss ll: In the depths of the previous metropolis sits the shrine that homes the stays of the founding father of the city of Fez, Moulay Idriss II. It is one of the holiest buildings in the city. Non-Muslims could not enter, but you can glimpse inside to see the saint’s tomb, which is receives constant devotional visits from teams of women who burn candles and incense.
Walking via the alleyways and souks of Marrakech, significantly in the Medina of the outdated metropolis, it’s straightforward to consider you’ve gotten been transported back in time to the “Arabian Nights”.
It is this enchanting mood that brings hundreds of sightseers to essentially the most visited of Moroccan cities.
The Medina is characterized by a lot noise, hustle and bustle with tradesmen and craftsmen going about their each day duties of cloth dying, copper beating or leather-based working, in addition to herbalists, perfumers and slipper makers.
Snow-covered peaks of the High Atlas Mountains kind a beautiful backdrop for the city, though they are typically hidden by the heat haze.
Djemaa el-Fna: Within the coronary heart of the Medina. It’s an irregular ‘sq.’ and a hub of action where tourists flock to take in the busy atmosphere. Tourism, although, has not spoilt, but fairly added to the whole picture.
Marrakesh has a modern side with its luxurious hotels, banks and streets bursting with motor scooters, while it blends effortlessly with the past of the outdated city.
Marrakech was based in 1062 by Youssef bin Tachfine of the Almoravide dynasty, and his son perfected town by bringing in architects and Andalucian craftsmen from Córdoba to construct palaces, baths, mosques and a subterranean water system. Town partitions have been raised from the red mud from the plains.
Horse drawn carriages: Referred to as calèches, are among the best ways to view town when you are not on foot exploring in the Medina.
Koutoubia Mosque: That is town’s main landmark and the sixty nine metre high minaret towers over the labyrinth of streets and markets within the Medina. The red stone mosque was first inbuilt 1147 but it was knocked down and rebuilt in 1199 because it was had not been constructed correctly aligned with Mecca. The mosque is giant enough for 1000′s to wish in.
Djemaa el-Fna: This huge city sq. translated as “Square fo the Useless”. The square affords a vibrant scene and is a magnet performing artists, snake charmers, musicians, storytellers and healers, all vying for attention. Passing tradesmen supply something from boiled snails, vegetable soup and kebabs to contemporary orange juice. There are lots of cafés right here from which to watch the busy scene, and from where it’s possible you’ll then go to the souks to search out some shade from the searing Moroccan sun.
Dar Si Saïd Museum: The Museum is housed in a palace on the Riad Ezzitoun El Jadid and shows the humanities, crafts and tradition of the Berber folks, together with shows of some Moorish cedar wooden furnishings, elaborate door and window frames and artefacts from daily life within the Sahara desert. Open 8.30-11.forty five and 2.30-5.forty five except Tuesdays. Admission Dh20
Saadian Tombs: Constructed in the late sixteenth century, this stunning necropolis has 66 lavishly decorated indoor tombs. The central mausoleum has a excessive vaulted roof which is exceptionally ornate, together with carved cedar panels and Italian marble columns. Open 9.00-11.forty five and 2.30-5.50 except Tuesdays. Admission Dh15
Oukaimeden: A ski resort within the desert with camels as an alternative of ski lifts! Sure, thick snow envelops the Jabal Oukaimeden mountain peak in the course of the winter months (normally January and February) and it’s just a 46-mile (74km) drive from Marrakech. The city can be reached by taxi or automobile and is properly geared up for skiers seeking eating places, ski gear hire, and comfy resorts inside a shocking alpine setting.
Ouirgane: A village in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains about 1 ½ hour’s drive from Marrakesh. It is a fashionable place to go to, the place summers are cooler and winters are much less harsh. The Berber villages are enchanting whilst set in forests with wild flowers, together with the famous rose gardens, fruit trees and streams cascading from the High Atlas.
Essaouira: This widespread resort town dates from the 18th century, and is easily reached by bus from Marrakech. The city is surrounded by a fortified wall and faces the sea. The seashore is a large, beautiful stretch with fairly whitewashed homes, boat-builders’ workshops and art galleries. Guests come for the laid-again ambiance and the excessive wind that makes it a very fashionable centre for wind- and kite-surfing.
Essaouira can also be famous for its wooden carving custom, mainly using native, aromatic Thuya wood. The harbour is a hive of activity always, notably throughout the each day fish auction, attracting as many onlookers as patrons and sellers.
Agadir: Is a serious seaside resort south of Marrakech. It’s new and trendy with magnificent sandy beaches. Its “newness” is largely as a result of an uncharacteristic earthquake that shook the town in 1961, and it has now been re-modelled as a well-liked package holiday vacation spot in addition to a significant fishing port. Agadir boasts 300 days of sunshine and a huge provide of hotel beds, apparently a quarter of the overall in Morocco.
Morocco’s capital city is characteristically modern with large, conservative boulevards, gardens and enormous blocks of flats. The king lives right here in a lovely palace surrounded by trees and flowers.
Regardless of having a rich history relationship again to 7th century, Rabat is a far cry from the hectic backstreets of Fez and Marrakech. However the outdated part of the city has a Medina and a Kasbah.
Rabat is positioned on the Atlantic coastal plain, opposite its twin metropolis of Sale, and it’s close to some stunning sandy beaches.
Rabat’s Dar Es Salaam Golf Course is world-renowned.
Kasbah des Oudaïas: A Kasbah is a “village within a metropolis” and is a good place to take in the sights of the city. It is guarded by the spectacular arched gate inbuilt 1195. The Palace and Andalucian gardens and the terrace gives stunning views from the Kasbah mosque, over the river and sea. The Palace Museum and gardens date back to the seventeenth century. The museum homes Moroccan artwork corresponding to Berber jewelry, costumes and carpets.
Citadel of Chellah: Located within the new town of Rabat, the ruins of Chellah, as soon as a Roman port, provide attention-grabbing sightseeing. Just contained in the gate are Roman ruins dating from 200 BC, which includes a discussion board, a temple and a craftsmens’ quarter.
Hassan Mosque: You will see the towering 50 metre minaret of the Hassan Mosque from many parts of the city. Each façade of the minaret is intricately patterned with different motifs on each face.
Mausoleum of Mohammed V: The mausoleum was inaugurated in 1967. Positioned opposite the Hassan Mosque, it is likely one of the nice monuments of recent Morocco. The deceased king lies in a white onyx tomb, surrounded by royal guards, whereas and tons of of Moroccans pay homage every day.
The Medina: This medina was created by Muslim Andalucian refugees from Badajoz, Spain. It was primarily the primary “seed” of town until the arrival of the French in 1912 who started creating the brand new town.
Archeology Museum: Right here you’ll find a group of Roman bronze figures, dating from the first and second centuries and recovered from Volubilis. Additionally different artifacts from Phoenician, Carthagian and Roman settlements all through Morocco are to be seen here. Open 9.00-11.30 and 2.30-5.30, closed Tuesdays.
Volubilis: Positioned between Rabat and Fez, it was constructed on high of a earlier Carthaginian metropolis and dates back to across the 3rd century BC, being a centre of Roman administration in Africa. Volubilis was inhabited till the 18th century, when it was carelessly demolished to supply constructing supplies for the palaces of Moulay Ismail in Meknes. This meant a substantial amount of Morocco’s Roman architectural heritage was lost. Nevertheless, at present the ruins embody some effectively-preserved columns, a basilica, a triumphal arch and about 30 high stunning mosaics.
Casablanca: It is a huge, busy European type port city and has attracted a lot immigration from the Moroccan countryside. Individuals are fashionable with little signal of conventional dress or modesty. The previous city is small but similar to all the opposite bazaars present in Morocco. The spectacular Hassan ll Mosque is the 3rd largest religious monument within the World, with incredible views over the Atlantic Ocean.
Temara: Lies on the coast, some 13Km from Rabat. It’s a favorite weekend spot for metropolis dwellers. Temara has a sandy beach, along with many hotels, nightclubs, eating places, a zoo and different leisure services to entertain visitors.
Tangier was once a playground for the rich and well-known looking for a trendy café culture in addition to a tax haven. When Spain relinquished Tangier again to Morocco in 1960, its duty-free status went with it, along with the fashionable crowd. The decayed grandeur of as we speak nonetheless has a lot to supply and slowly Tangier is regaining its splendor as an attractive tourist destination.
Grand Socco: Socco means Souk in Spanish and it is named so due to its Spanish heritage. A Souk is a market to us and is an fascinating place to observe passing Rif people in vibrant costumes promoting greens and contemporary mint. It begins at a busting sq. and the medina is entered from the square, via a large arched entrance.
American Lagation Museum: is positioned in the midst of the medina. It is an American cultural centre, museum and conference venue, in addition to a library. The museum is housed in the American Embassy, inbuilt 1777 when Morocco grew to become the first energy to recognize the USA as an unbiased nation!
Kasbah: dates again to the 17th century and it is fascinating to surprise through its little alleyways, patios and hidden terraces. The Kasbah Mosque boasts an uncommon octagonal minaret.
Sultan’s Gardens, Rue Riad Sultan, simply north of the Kasbah Mosque, are a nice place to visit and watch the local craftsmen at work whereas sipping mint tea and having fun with views throughout the Straits of Gibraltar to Tarifa on the Spanish coast, solely 14.5 Km away.
Dar el Makhzen: This is a 17th century palace containing and impressive collection of art from all regions of Morocco.
Forbes Museum: This is situated within the Marshan Villa district, about 20 minutes walk from the medina. The museum is the former palace of United States multi-millionaire and media magnate, Malcolm Forbes. The home is open to the public and homes Forbes’ assortment of 8,000 miniature troopers!
Chefchaouen was first settled by Spanish Muslim refugees within the middle-ages and has retained its distinctive Spanish character. It is just an hour’s drive from Tangier in the Rif mountains.
The medina is gorgeous and bustling with craftsmen working diligently and tradesmen selling the standard fare of carpets, leather-based goods, pottery and copper utensils. The Great Mosque, in the middle of the medina dates to the seventeenth century sits on a picturesque square with restaurants and cafes.
Positioned south of Tangier, Asilah is a very poplular seaside resort, famous for its close by Paradise Beach. Paradise Beach is a brief taxi or a fun horse and cart ride from the village and is known for its monumental expanse of unspoilt white, sandy beach.
Despite rising numbers of holiday makers, Asilah has retained its stress-free atmosphere. Asilah is known as the Artists’ Village and right here you’ll find many domestically painted canvases adorning the souks of its fifteenth century medina. The city is sufficiently small to discover on foot or by donkey cart and is famend for its nice seafood restaurants.