Morocco Arabian Nights, Desert Sun And Skiing All In One Day, Only In Morocco
Its an enjoyable culture shock that waits for you as you visit Morocco. It is as culturally rich as it is geographically diverse, and it can not fail to make an impression on you. Checking out some of its towns and quaint villages as well as experiencing the kindness of the Moroccan people will leave you hooked, as I was without a doubt, by this Arabic adventure.
Fez is a dynamic cultural and also the spiritual centre of Morocco.
The main must-see attraction is the old Medina in the colourful old town, there have people living here since the 10th century. It is jam-packed with traditionally dressed Moroccans and rich with the noise of buying and selling, veiled ladies going about their work and also bell-ringing water vendors.
A guided tour is the most convenient way to deal with the buzzing hive that is typical Fez. Still, if you are adventurous, you can negotiate the tiny alleys. Too narrow for cars while risking getting lost and then bargaining with a local to find the way out!
The Old Tanneries:
If you visit the Old souk, you will also see Fez’s famous tanneries. Where one of the oldest arts in the world is practised to create the soft leather so characteristic of Morocco.
The smells given off during curing can be overpowering. Take a scented handkerchief while you look down on the fascinating tanners’ yard and its extraordinary barrels of different coloured dyes and stacks of skins.
Opening hours are 9-6, admittance totally free.
If you want the best view lookout over the traditional walled city from the ruined Merenid Tombs, perched on a hilltop to the east of the Medina. From here, you can see the skyline with its abundance of satellite dishes, these dishes are seen all over Morocco. As well as an overall volume of palaces, green-roofed holy places, the tanneries, along with the adjacent Karaouine Mosque.
Moulay Idriss ll:
In the midsts of the old city sits the shrine that houses the remains of the builder of the city of Fez, Moulay Idriss II. It is one of the holiest structures in the city. Non-Muslims may not enter, but you can glimpse the inside to see the saint’s burial place. Which receives hundreds of devotional visits from groups of ladies who burn candles with incense.
Walking through the alleyways and souks of Marrakech, especially in the Medina of the old town. It is easy to feel you have been taken back in time to the “Tails of Arabian Nights”.
It is this captivating mood that brings 1000s of sightseers to the most explored of Moroccan cities.
The Medina is distinguished by noise, the hustle and bustle. With tradespersons and artisans going about their daily jobs. Of cloth dying, copper beating or leatherworking. As well as herbalists, perfumers and slipper makers.
Snow-covered peaks of the High Atlas Mountain ranges form a beautiful backdrop for the city, even though they are frequently hidden by the heat haziness.
Djemaa el-Fna: In the soul and beating heart of the Medina. It is an uneven ‘square’ as well as a hub of action where holiday-makers group to soak up the busy atmosphere. Tourism, though, has not spoilt but instead added to the total picture.
Marrakesh has a modern side with its luxury hotels, banks and also roads bursting with motor scooters, even though it blends effortlessly with the past of the old town.
Marrakech was founded in 1062 by Youssef bin Tachfine of the Almoravide empire, and his son improved the city by bringing in architects. And Andalucian specialists from Córdoba to build palaces, baths, mosques and a subterranean water system. The town walls were raised from the red mud coming from the local plains.
Horse-drawn carriages: Referred to as calèches, are one of the best ways to check out the city when you are not on foot exploring in the Medina.
Koutoubia Mosque: This is the city’s main feature the 69-metre high minaret overlooks the maze of boulevards and markets in the Medina. The reddish coloured stone mosque was initially constructed in 1147. Still, it was knocked down and reconstructed in 1199 since it was had not been appropriately built aligned with Mecca. The mosque is large enough for thousands to pray within. And Moroccans often pray outside as well.
This central Square literally translates as Square of dead. The Square provides a colourful scene and is an attraction for performing artists. You will also find witches, healers, snake charmers and monkeys. All are trying to catch your attention. Passing tradespersons offer anything from boiled snails, Harira traditional Moroccan soup and kebabs to fresh fruit juices. There are lots of cafés here from which to enjoy the bustling scene, and where you may then visit the souks to find some shade from the searing Moroccan sunshine.
Dar Si Saïd Museum: The Museum is housed in a palace on the Riad Ezzitoun El Jadid and shows the arts, crafts and culture of the Berber people, featuring exhibits of some Moorish cedar wood furnishings, elaborate door and window frames and artefacts from daily life in the Sahara desert.
The Museum Opens at 8.30-11.45 and 2.30-5.45 except Tuesdays. Admission Dh20
Constructed in the late 16th century, this stunning burial site has 66 extravagantly decorated indoor tombs. The central mausoleum has a very high vaulted roof which is remarkably elaborate, consisting of carved cedar panels and Italian marble columns.
Opens at 9.00-11.45 and 2.30-5.50 except for Tuesdays. Admission Dh15
What To See Near Marrakesh
Is a ski resort in the desert it doesn’t have ski lifts but has camels instead (Yes Really)! And, thick snow envelops the Jabal Oukaimeden mountain peak throughout the winter months End of December to Begining March, and it is just a 46-mile (75km) drive from Marrakech. The town is easy to get to by car, taxi or bus. It is very well geared up for skiers looking for restaurants, skiing equipment rental, and pleasant hotels and resorts inside a spectacular alpine-like location.
A community in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains. About 1 1/2 hour’s drive directly from Marrakesh: it is a popular place to visit, where summer times are more refreshing and winter seasons are less severe than the rest of Morocco. The Berber villages are enchanting while embedded in woodlands with wildflowers, including the famous rose gardens, fruit trees and streams cascading from the High Atlas.
Essaouira: Know as The Windy City
This well-known holiday town dates from the 18th century, it’s straightforward to get to by bus from Marrakech. A fortified wall surrounds the old Medina and faces the sea. The beach is a broad, breathtaking stretch with beautiful whitewashed houses, artisans studios as well as art galleries. Visitors come for the laid-back atmosphere and the high wind that makes it a very well-known centre for wind- and also kite-surfing.
Essaouira is also renowned for its woodworking and engraving culture, generally using local, and fragrant Thuya wood. The harbour is really busy at all times, mainly because of the daily fish auctions, drawing in as many onlookers as buyers and sellers. Fresh fish and huge BBQ fresh sardines are always on the menu here.
Agadir Is a vast beach facing resort south of Marrakech. It is new and modern with stunning sandy beaches. Its “newness” is due to a .earthquake. That rocked the city and region in 1961, it has now been remodelled as a prominent package holiday spot, in addition to an important fishing port. Agadir boasts more than 300 days of brilliant sunshine and a massive supply of hotels and flats a or Apartments to rent, reputedly a quarter of the total in all Morocco.
Morocco’s capital city is characteristically modern-day with wide, traditional boulevards, gardens and big blocks of apartments. The King lives here in a beautiful palace encircled by trees and flowers.
Despite featuring a rich history going back to the 7th century, Rabat is a far cry from the fast-paced backstreets of Fez and Marrakech. There is a fantastic old Kasbah and Medina where you can spend hours looking for a bargain. Rabat is right on the Atlantic coast, close to its twin city of Sale, as ever in Morocco you are never far from a glorious sandy beach.
Rabat’s Dar Es Salaam Golf links are world-renowned, if you play golf, this is a must-visit.
Kasbah des Oudaïas:
A Kasbah is a “small village within a city”. Also, it is an excellent location to take in the attractions of the city. It is defended by the impressive arched gate built-in 1195. The Palace and also Spanish gardens and have beautiful views from the Kasbah mosque, right across the river and sea. The Palace Museum and gardens can be traced back to the 17th century. The museum houses Moroccan art which includes Berber jewellery, costumes and beautiful hand made rugs.
Citadel of Chellah:
Found in the new city of Rabat, the ruins of Chellah, were once a Roman port, offer fascinating sightseeing. Just within the gate are Roman ruins dating from 200 BC, which includes a forum, a temple and an artisans quarter.
You will see the dominating 50-metre minaret of the Hassan Mosque from many areas of the city. Each and every façade of the minaret is delicately patterned with different motifs on each face.
Burial Place of Mohammed V:
The mausoleum was inaugurated in 1967. Located opposite the Hassan Mosque, it is just one of the significant structures of modern Morocco. The deceased King lies in a white onyx tomb, surrounded by royal guards, while and hundreds of Moroccans revere their late King each day.
This Medina was designed by Muslim Andalucian refugees from Badajoz, Spain. It was essentially the first “seed” of the city till the French arrived in 1912 who then began creating the new town.
Archaeology Museum: Right here you can find a collection of Roman bronze figures, dating from the first and second centuries and recovered from Volubilis. Besides, various other artefacts from Phoenician, Carthaginian and Roman settlements all throughout Morocco are to be viewed here.
Opens from 9.00-11.30 and 2.30-5.30, closed Tuesdays.
All around Rabat
Volubilis: Situated between Fez and Rabat, it was founded on top of a former Carthaginian settlement and dated back to about the 3rd century BC, it was the centre for the Roman administration in Africa.
Volubilis was populated up until the 18th century when it was carelessly demolished to supply building materials for the royal residences of Moulay Ismail in Meknes. This meant a great deal of Morocco’s Roman architectural heritage was lost. However, right now the ruins include some unspoiled columns, a basilica, a triumphal arch and about 30 high beautiful mosaics.
Casablanca: Called Dar byda by The Moroccans (White House)
This is a massive, busy European style port city and has attracted much resettlement from the Moroccan non-urban area. People are modern with very little sign of more traditional dress or virtue. The old town is smaller but similar to all the other bazaars found in Morocco. The outstanding Hassan ll Mosque is the third-largest religious building worldwide, with fantastic views over the Atlantic Ocean.
Lies on the coastline, some 13Km from Rabat. It is a favourite weekend place for city dwellers. Temara has a sandy beachfront, in addition to numerous hotels, clubs, restaurants, a zoo and other recreation centres to entertain visitors.
Tangier was once a playground for the wealthy and famous looking for a fashionable café culture together with an income tax haven. When Spain handed Tangier back to Morocco in 1960, its duty-free status went with it, in addition to the fashionable people. The decayed magnificence of today still has a lot to offer, and slowly Tangier is gaining back its splendour as an attractive tourist spot.
Socco means Souk in Spanish, and it is identified so because of its Spanish ancestry. A Souk is a market place for us. It is a fascinating place to watch passing people in colourful costumes selling vegetables and fresh mint. It begins at a busy square, and the Medina is entered from the Square, through a large arched entrance.
dates back to the 17th century and it is fascinating to stroll through really tight alleys, patios and hidden terraces. The Kasbah Mosque has an octagonal minaret, that’s very unusual.
Sultan’s Gardens, Rue Riad Sultan. Just north of the Kasbah Mosque, are an enjoyable spot to check out and watch the local artisans at work. while drinking mint tea and taking pleasure in panoramas across the Straits of Gibraltar to Tarifa on the Spanish shoreline, merely 14.5 Km away.
Dar el Makhzen:
This is a 17th-century palace containing an outstanding collection of fine art from all areas of Morocco.
Forbes Museum: This stands in the Marshan Villa area, about a 20-minute walk from the Medina. The museum is the former Palace of an American tycoon and media baron, Malcolm Forbes. The house is open to the public and houses Forbes’ collection of 8,000 miniature soldiers!
Chefchaouen was initially settled by Spanish Muslim emigrants in the middle-ages and has kept its distinctive Spanish appearance. It is just an hour’s drive from Tangier in the Rif mountains.
The Medina is beautiful and bustling with craftsmen working diligently and tradesmen selling the usual fare of rugs, leather goods, pottery and copper wares. The Great Mosque is well worth a visit located in the middle of the Medina.
Found south of Tangier, Asilah is a trendy seaside holiday spot, very well-known for its nearby Paradise Beach. Paradise Beach is a short taxi cab or a fun, horse and cart ride from the town and is famous for its enormous expanse of unspoilt white, sandy beach.
Despite growing numbers of tourists, Asilah has retained its stress-free ambience. Asilah is also known locally as the Artists’ Village. Where you can find many locally painted canvases accentuating the souks of its very old Medina, dating back to the 15 century. The village is small enough to explore walking or by donkey cart and is well known for its excellent seafood and fresh fish restaurants.