Photos through Fez

So now we’re to Fez. My absolute favorite place, hands down. As always the bulk of my post will be a synthesis of my travel journal that I wrote when I made myself a small photo book from my travels. If I travel to Morocco there are two things I want to do 1) Go to the northern area, 2) Spend more time in Fez (a lot more time…so I can wander and get lost more).

Fez is a place of tight spaces and hidden nooks.

It’s impossible for modern cars to traverse Fez’s streets, instead donkeys and mules bring all supplies into the ancient city. The maze like streets make it impossible for even directionally savvy tourists to find themselves completely and utterly lost, you can’t travel without a guide (trust me, I tried). The home of most of Moroccos famous artisan products there is no better place to shop than here. Especially famous for their leather, silk, indigo, tile, and metal work, almost all internationally known products of Morocco are made in the city.This is the city that I really learned to bargain in, and I loved it’s cloistered cluttered feeling. Navigating even to get food was exciting.There are far more tourists here than in Rabat, making it easier to communicate with the local populace.

Fez!

This is the (one of) the openings into old Fez. New Fez has streets that cars can go on etc etc. This was one of first views into Fez, and honestly I love this photo (suck it humility).

The Opening of the Market of Fez

I don’t know which one of these I like better. So they’re both here.

The Madrasa

Whooo this is our (one of) our first madrasas. They all kinda have the same look and layout, and they’re all gorgeous, but could get exhausting after a while.

I couldn't stop taking photos

I love all the mosaic and carving here. So beautiful.

Mosaic

A close up of my favorite mosaic. Each one of those pieces is made to fit exactly and fit together. Like a really tough but beautiful puzzle.

A thin street

Seriously. Some of these streets were TINY.

From Above

Like Aladdin. Or Assassins Creed.

The Tanneries

Smaller Tanneries. The White stuff is pigeon…unmentionables. The acid helps make the leather supple!

The Tanneries

Then the leather is dyed in color. Just to let you know, to even look over this you have to hold mint leaves to your nose, it smells so bad. It’s also very very hot, so these people? Super tough, they also only get one day off!

From Below

A picture up, from one of the small streets in Fez. Everything is pretty packed in.

Light from Above.

Looking Up inside the Wood-working museum.

Meknes

Meknes is one of the imperial cities of Morocco, and was certainly magnificent. It houses the only imperial palace I saw, and is an ancient inherited residence from Moroccans Kings of Old. We only spent a few hours in the city while on our way to Fez, another Imperial city, but it was certainly memborable. At this stop we got to see one of the two Mosques we could visit in Morocco (the rest being forbidden to non-muslims).

Aqua

Into the distance

The interior of an ancient graniery that was intended as an imperial storehouse in case of seige, it held over 5 years worth of food. The subjects were obligated to give tribute to the graniery it held livestock, had a large cistern, and held other necessary items as well as grain.

It used to house a 50,000 horses

The imperial stables held more than 50,000 horses. The King who established Mekes was an accomplished and obsessive horseman, and he built an enourmous complex to enable his habit.

A broom at the door

A mosque that is surprisingly all in yellow, it is one of the few mosques that allow non-muslims in Morocco. It still hosts prayer everyday, but is not as attended as other, more pesdestrian mosques. Incredibly beautitiful it was built by one of the Kings of Morocco-Moulay Ismail- as his imperial mosque. It is said that any one who builds a mosque in this world inherits a palace in Heaven. Of course, no King would say that this was on his mind when he built it.

Several Kings of Morocco are buried in this mosque, as well as other “Sidis” (the equivalent of “Mr.” or “Sir”) a moniker for minor saints.

Into the Courtyard

Ablutions

A fountain for ablutions, one of the requirements muslims must do before they pray.

 Up next is Fez! My favorite place!

Morocco 2012: Introduction

So this summer I went to Morocco, and I had a big plan about how I was going to post here and all that which I am, half a year later, finally doing.

What I’m actually going to do it transfer the contents of my book (that I’m making for my Grandma using Booksmart from Blurb which is actually a super great program most of the time, I suggest it) to a blog. Things will be organized by place and therefore loosely by time.

We’ll start with my introductions, which will serve as a sort explanation of what I did:

“I visted Morocco in the Summer of 2012 and when I got on the plane I had absolutely no idea what to expect, I was terrified, exited, nervous, and thrilled all at the same time. I knew my Study Abroad program through Marquette and AmidEast would teach me a lot, and academically I learned so much. However I learned much more valuable lessons from the people I met, the conversations I held, and the lasting memories I made than I ever did in the classroom.

During my trip I visted the cities of Rabat, Sale, Fez, Moulay Idriss, Meknes, Casablanca, Marrakech, Ourazazete, and Zagora, as well as staying overnight in the Moroccan Sahara. Each of these cities had a distinct personality, but common themes connected them all. Hospitality, kindness, and friendliness.

My goal with these photos is to show the spirit of each city, while also sharing my own experiences. I’ll share my memories as I share the photos. Hopefully I have leave some echo of the profound experience I had in Morocco on these pages.”

This is the Cover of the Book (it’s a little short because I edited my name out) but you need to see it for the next bit of text to make sense.”

“As with many countries the name ‘Morocco’ the moniker by which the United States designates the North African country is not the name that it’s natives (or neighbors) use.

They call it the infinetely more romantic “Maghrib.” In Arabic this means “evening” and is often used in Islam to refer to the evening prayer that occurs just after sunset.

If you imagine where Morocco is on a map (on the western most tip of North Africa) you might see why this is the name the invading Arabs gave to the area when they arived in the early 6th and 7th centuries. Arriving from the East, and coming to the Maghrib–which borders the vast Atlantic Ocean–this was the essential end of the line. This is the land on which sun set.

In many ways this title is more literal, almost no markets open until the sun begins to set (and some don’t open until well after), and for many moroccans the sunset or twilight period is the most social and active part of their day. They get their shopping done, they meet their friends (or boyfriends), and they relax until the next day.

And that’s the story of Morocco’s beautiful name, and the explanation for the title of my book. Many of my memories of Morocco are lit with the hazy golden light of a sunset. “

Here I’ve added the two other pictures from the first few pages of the book (behind the text mainly).

Sunset

A sunset from the cliff view in the Oudaya of Rabat.

Enter in...

A doorway in to the Casbah portion of Rabat.

The next post will be soon! I hope you enjoyed this one. I know it’s a little picture-light, the next one will have many more, I promise.