Saturday, May 7, 2011

Marvelous Morocco

A woman rides a donkey on the streets of Rabat

Driving from Rabat to Meknes - great scenery that changes often

Even the farms are a decoration on the landscape

First views of Meknes

The blue and white walls of Kasbah des Oudaias

View from the steps of Hassan Mosque and Royal Mausoleum

One of the "Corner Guards" of the Mausoleum

The Mosque and Mausoleum of Hassan 3(?)

Mounted Guards outside the Mausoleum

More Roman Ruins at Sala

Arches upon arches and ghostly presence at Sala

The stork Chick - my first sighting of the bird, ever

The Chellah at Rabat

The restaurant in the wall at Rabat

The Hassan 5 Palace guards at Rabat

Inside the Great Mosque of Hassan II in Casablanca

A woman braves the rain outside the mosque, walking across the enormous square that fronts it, leaving its back to the sea

Mosque of Hassan II

Day 2 In Casablanca we saw the impressive Mosque of Hassan II, opened in 1993, and second only in size to the great mosque at Mecca. It can accommodates 25,000 worshippers and is one of the only religious sites open to non-Muslims. This is a spectacular building located by the sea, to incorporate the three elements of water, land and sky (the tall minaret). The mosaics and attention to detail are mind boggling – one archway leads to another, every turn rewards with light playing in a different direction, with the glimpse of another arch, decoration, carving just beyond.

Later we drove to Rabat, the elegant capital of Morocco and our first Imperial city. It contains numerous fine Arab monuments, some dating to the Almohad and Merenid dynasties and others that are far older. The earliest known settlement is Sala, occupying an area now know as the Chellah, where we visit the remains of the citadel. Lunch was in a restaurant built into the wall of the Old Citadel –tagine with beef and prunes, followed by mint tea. I am getting the hang of pouring the tea from a great distance without spilling anything – and most of you who know me, know that’s a lie.

We also see the vast minaret of the Hassan Mosque and Royal Mausoleum in Rabat, with four young guards at each corner in wonderful uniforms. We decided that the main pre-requisite for the job was their attractiveness!

Next we explored the lovely walled quarter known as the Kasbah des Oudaias, old buildings all painted in an iridescent blue (traditionally indigo) against a luminescent white wash. Here there is also a lovely view across the water past the Citadel.

In the late afternoon we continued to Meknes, taking a drive through Khamtiss (?) Valley, the wine country. I have tried local wines and the Rose is very good (depending on the brand) as is the red, but so far, the white is to be left alone.

1 comment:

  1. Gabrielle,
    Great photos with artistic insightful comments. It all looks familiar. Of course it does, we were on the same and sometimes parallel tour.
    Cliff Cleland



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