Monthly Archives: March 2011

Fes, Morocco World Music Festival Tour Package, With Travel Exploration, Your Morocco Travel Guide

Fes Festival Musician

Travel Exploration & Authentic Asia Present The Fes Festival of World Sacred Music & Morocco Cultural Tour – Hosted by Music Expert, Joel Davis

This 13 Day/ 12 Night Morocco Fes Music Festival Tour will offer a celebratory opportunity for those who are passionate about Sacred World Music to enrich their palate with a variety of international sounds ranging from Andalusian Classical music to African, Asian, Moroccan Sufi and more while taking a journey across Morocco’s Imperial Cities, Majestic Landscapes, the Sahara Desert and Valley’s. This all inclusive 13 Day/12 Night Morocco Private group tour guarantees combined 4/5 Star accommodations at charming Riads and luxury Moroccan hotels and properties, private transport, historical guides, museum and monument entrance fees along with tickets to the Fes Festival of Sacred World Music.  Don’t miss out on this special opportunity to travel to Fes, Morocco and other regions such as Marrakech, Ouarzazate and the Sahara Desert with a music guide and historical guides who will bring depth and understanding to the meaning of Morocco’s music and vast cultural traditions.

View of Fes El Bali, Old Medina & UNESCO World Heritage Site

Fes is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the oldest world medina (old city) in the world. Come join our private group and participate in seeing renowned musicians from all over the world gather in Fes — Morocco’s spiritual capital. Travel Exploration’s private tour package includes a music guide, historical guides, daily sight-seeing tours in air-conditioned luxury minibuses or 4×4 land cruiser with multi-lingual speaking drivers that are fluent in English, Arabic, French and Berber. Also included are tickets to the Fes Festival performances in Morocco’s holy city of Fes. For more information on the 17th Edition of the Fes Festival World Sacred Music program.

Fes Festival Whirling Dervishes

Artists from around the world flock to Morocco’s spiritual capital during the annual Fez Sacred Music Festival. The top music artists from Middle Eastern and Western religious communities gather in Fez for a week of concerts, lectures, exhibitions, and intellectual and artistic exchanges. Performances have included the Sufi Whirling Dervishes of Turkey, Berber trance music, Arab-Andalusian music, Hindustani chants, Celtic sacred music, Christian Gospel, flamenco, and the Philharmonic Orchestra of Morocco, with French classical musicians always proving popular. There has also been Sufi artists from India and Pakistan, Japanese drumming bands and a group of vocalists from Mali.

The Ablution Room in the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca

 

DAY 1:  CASABLANCA ARRIVAL – RABAT- FES

Arrival at Casablanca International Airport.

►Have breakfast upon arrival, then visit the Mosque of Hassan II. Casablanca is home to the Hassan II Mosque, designed by the French architect Michel Pinseau. It is situated on a promontory looking out to the Atlantic, which can be seen through a gigantic glass floor with room for 25,000 worshippers.Its minaret is the world’s tallest at 210 meters. It is an enormous architectural masterpiece and the second largest religious building in the world. On Fridays, the Mosque of Hassan II is open to non-Muslims.The Mosque of Hassan II’s promontory offers lovely views overlooking Casa in the residential Afna quarter.

►After visiting the Hassan II Mosque, take the road to Rabat for a half-day tour of this Imperial City.

►During your half-day tour you will learn Rabat’s history and enjoy its beautiful domes, minarets, wide avenues and green spaces. Your guide will escort you on a walk around the picturesque Almohad northern walls of the Oudaïa Kasbah. The kasbah was built by Moulay Ismaïl from 1672-1727 to protect the city and is enclosed by ramparts dating from the Almohad period. Visit Bab Oudaïa, a monumental gate and example of Almohad military architecture. See the Musée de Oudaïa, Moulay Ismaïl’s palace exhibiting collections of Moroccan folk art. Before moving on to city medina, relax in the Moorish style Andalusian garden.

►Visit the Royal Palace, the Hassan Tower which stands on the hill overlooking the Wadi Bou Regreg. It is a gigantic mosque, emblematic of Rabat and famous for its unfinished minaret where storks nest.

►Next door, visit the beautiful Mausoleum of Mohammed V decorated with stained glass windows, white marbleand a wrought-iron entryway with a stairway leading to an impressive dome.

►Lunch in Rabat, by the Sea.

►Explore the gardens nearby and visit the Palace of Rabat and visit the Necropolis at Chellah/ Kasbah of Chellah.

►Dinner & Spend the night at a 4 Star Charming Riad or Hotel in Fes.

Moulay Idriss Mosque Fes

 

DAY 2:  FES (GUIDED HISTORICAL TOUR)

►After breakfast your day will begin at the Merenid Tombs of Fès.

►Next, stop at the Musée des Armes, a fortress that once protected Fès. Today it is possible to see a display of 8,000 pieces of artillery from Makina, the arsenal built by Moulay Hassan I.

►Enter the Fès el- Bali through the symmetrical horse shoe arches at Bab Boujeloud (The Blue Gate). Fès -el Bali, best characterized as a sea of rooftops embellished with minarets and domes, is too narrow for cars. Aside from walking, donkeys and mules are still the best way to travel within the cities old walls.

►Upon entering Rue Talaa Kebira, the main street in the medina, you will see lines of shops covered by canopies. Make your way to the Karaouiyine Mosque. Located in the Karaouiyine quarter, the Mosque is one of the oldest in the world and functioned as the first university in Morocco. After your visit, continue along the streets which will lead you to some of Fes’ most important buildings including Dar el- Magana, a fourteenth century water clock and Zaouia el Tijaniya, containing the tomb of Ahmed el Tijani, who spread his infamous doctrine Tariqq el- Tijaniya (The Way) throughout Morocco.

►We will also stop to visit the Ech Cherabliyine Mosque (Mosque of the Slipper makers) then browse the souks selling henna, slippers, caftans, silks, jewelry and spices.

►Next onto the UNESCO recognized site, Fondouk el- Najjarine. Within the foundouk’s three floors is the Musée de Bois, which displays carved doors from the Bou Inania Medersa.

►Stop for lunch within the medina at one of the fine Moroccan palace-restaurants that serves an extravaganza of mezas for lunch.

►After lunch we will visit the Musée Dar el- Batha to view the great collection of pottery, leather-work, wood, books and manuscripts from the nineteenth century.

►Next, enter Bab el Ftouh, the “Gateway of the Aperture” to explore the Andalusian quarter, a residential part of the medina laced with monuments. Our last part of the tour will take you into the Fès el Jedid, a kasbah which functioned as Morocco’s administrative center until 1912. Explore the royal palace and many interesting quarters including the Moulay Abdalllah Quarter, the Mellah (Jewish Quarter) and a little farther down south lies Ville Nouvelle (The New Quarter).

Within the Fes medina, we will the following historical sites:

Medersa Bou Inania: An (Islamic school) founded by Abu Inan Faris that is highly decorated from floor to ceiling. The medersa is one of the few religious places in Morocco that is accessible to non-Islamic tourists.

Kairaouine Mosque: Morocco’s second largest mosque was built by Fatima in 857. The Kairaouine Mosque became the home of the West’s first university and the world’s foremost center of learning at the beginning of the second millennium.

University of Al-Karaouine: Founded in 859, this university is one of the leading spiritual and educational centers of the Muslim world and is considered the oldest continuously operating institution of higher learning in the world.

Zaouia Moulay Idriss II: A zaouia (shrine) dedicated to and the tomb of Moulay Idriss II, who ruled Morocco from 807 to 828 and founded the city of Fès for the second time in 810.

Dar Batha: A Hispano-Moorish palace dating from the end of the 19th century that houses admirable collections of traditional art from Fès.

Weavers Cooperative: We will also visit the Weavers Cooperative located in a residential neighborhood off a main shopping street. The workshop specializes in weaving the finest jellaba fabric, made of silk and wool threads imported from Italy. The shop also makes a quality jellaba fabric from locally spun, textured wool thread called hubba -sometimes referred to as couscous, because it’s nubby texture resembles Morocco’s national semolina dish of the same name.

Tanneries: The Chourara or the Tanner’s Quarters is the most lively and picturesque souks in Fès. The Tanneries are often located near watercourses like the Wadi Fès and at a distance from residential areas due to the strongly unpleasant smells they produce.

Carpet Demonstration: Antique and Modern Carpets is one of the places in Fès el Bali where you can see a Berber carpet demonstration. You will be offered mint tea and follow your guide up a coil of stairs to a small area to watch carpets being made by young girls who come from the mountains to show tourists how Berber carpets are made.

Dyers Market: The dyers market, located along Rue de Teinturies, is the best place to see the dying vats which have been used for centuries to soak the skins of sheep, goat, cows and camels after they have their hair and flesh removed is best seen from the neighboring terraces. You will see many tanned hides colored with natural pigments ranging from shades of brown, black, turquoise fuchsia, yellow and orange.

Potter’s Cooperative: You will also visit the Potter’s Cooperative. Also known as Place el-Seffarine, this kisseria is the most important center for the production Fasiss style ceramics, brass-ware and silverware in Morocco.

►Welcome Dinner at Le Maison Bleue,  an exotic and fine Fasis restaurant in the Old Medina with a quaint show of Gnaoua Music as you dine.

First night- showcase of the Fes Festival of Sacred Music’s sites and sounds at the Bab Makina in Fes.

►Spend the night at a 4 Star Charming Riad or Hotel in Fes.

DAY 3:  FES – MEKNES – VOLUBILIS

►Breakfast at your Hotel in Fes. Then take the road to Meknes.

►Arrive in Meknes. Begin your visit at the 18th Century Palace built by Sultan Mohammed Ben Abdallah.

►Then pass through the triumphal arch. Standing at sixteen meters high with an eight meter long arch, the intricately patterned triumphal arch is argued to be the most beautiful in Morocco. Enter Place El-Hedime (Square of Ruins) which links the medina and the kasbah. The square is lined with modern residential buildings and a covered food souk (market).

►We will stop and visit the Musée Dar Jamaï, a museum showing modern Moroccan arts, woodwork, ceramics, carpets, costumes, jewelryand metalwork. The sophisticated building was once a palace incorporating a mosque, menzah (pavilion), courtyard, kitchen and hammam.

►Next we will visit the Bou Inania Medersa to explore the beautiful Koranic school established by the Merinids in the 14th century. Opposite of the Medersa, see the Grand Mosque.

►Among the most impressive elements of this imperial city is the grand gate named after the architect, El-Mansour, a Christian renegade who converted to Islam. The design of the gate plays with Almohad patterns. It has zellij mosaics of excellent quality. The marble columns were taken from the Roman ruins of Volubilis.

►Lunch in Meknes.

►After visiting Meknes, take the road to explore the breathtaking archaeological site of Volubilis (Walili). Once occupied by the Romans, Volubilis has been recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage site and gained international acclaim when Martin Scorsese made it a feature location for his film, The Last Temptation of Christ.

►Begin your visit by discovering the fascinating Roman ruins adorned with beautiful mosaics and colorful tiles depicting Roman mythology. The ruins are spread out across several acres and what remains visible is several fragments of wall, parts of massive columns, the capitol, the basilica and a triumphal arch. The ruins reveal how the Roman Empire transformed the original Carthaginian settlement into a typical Roman city complete with mansions, a town center, a triumphal arc and temples devoted to the Roman gods.

►Enjoy tea at the small café that sits just below the Volubilis ruins. Next explore the open-air museum with remains of altars, sculptural fragments and colorful mosaics.

►Commence your visit in Volubilis, then take the road to Fes.  Arrrive in the evening.

Second night- showcase of the Fes Festival of Sacred Music’s sites and sounds at the Bab Makina in Fes.

►Spend the night at a 4 Star Charming Riad or Hotel in Fes.

Fes Batha Museum

 

DAY 4:  FES (FASIS POTTERY COOPERATIVE, SIDI HARAZEM SPA & FREE EXPLORATION)

►Rise, have breakfast at your Riad, then stroll the Jnan S’bil Garden, a popular botanical garden in Fes where locals frequent for morning and afternoon walks, to read a book or relax. Jnan S’bil Garden has been closed for several years for a reservation and it is re-opening spring 2010.

►Next, visit Fes’ renown Pottery Cooperative where you can view how the Fasis pottery and zellij tile are made by hand. Tour the cooperative to see how the various artisans work using the ancient Fasis techniques that are unique to this Imperial city and region. Participate if you wish by throwing a pot or starting to make your own zellij tile. See the works of the artisans which are available for purchase as well.

►After visiting the Fasis Pottery Cooperative enjoy the rest of the afternoon visiting other sites on your own or exploring the old Fes medina cobble stoned streets or consider a visit to a Spa just outside of Fes.

►Fes, is believed to be the world’s largest contiguous car-free urban area and you will be able to roam free, only having to move aside for the donkeys that will need to pass bringing goods across from place to place.

►If roaming around Fes on your own is not of interest, then take the road to visit Sidi Harazem, a Spa and green area just outside of Fes which contains hot water springs that are rich in magnesium. The benefits of these curative waters may be enjoyed at the health spa.There is also an ancient sacred pool surrounded by eucalyptus, palm and pink laurel trees.

►The other option is to visit Moulay Yacoub an old French, style Spa with thermal stations, cold dipping pool along with rock hot saunas and steam rooms. Compliment your visit with an old world, French- Moroccan massage with rose, orange or jasmine oil, receiving a treatment from head to toe.

►Dinner options are at your Riad, in the Ville Nouvelle (new city), Le Palais D’Medina or Le Maison Bleue.

Third night- showcase of the Fes Festival of Sacred Music’s sites and sounds at the Bab Makina in Fes.

►Spend the night at a 4 Star Charming Riad or Hotel in Fes.

DAY 5:  FES – ZIZ VALLEY – IFRANE- MERZOUGA

►Rise, have breakfast at your Riad. Then take the road to Merzouga. Enroute to Merzouga, we will pass Ifrane, stopping to see the cedar tree forrest and the local barbary monkeys.  We will also pass the American- Moroccan University which was built by the Saudi’s.

▶ We will have lunch during our journey in the Ziz Valley or at another local town en route to the Sahara desert. We will continue the road to Merzouga and arrive before sunset.

▶Arrive in Merzouga before sunset, then go by dromedary camel for 45 minutes- one-hour, at sunset into the Erg Chebbi Dunes to camp overnight luxury Biouvac tent at an oasis.  Your Tuareg guide will share some of the Sahara Deserts’ secrets. As you glide across humpback on these silent, mystical dunes there will be countless opportunities to photograph the endless rolling dunes.

Dinner & Spend the night at a Charming Bivouac near an Oasis within the Erg Chebbi Dunes of Merzouga’s Sahara Desert with traditional Entertainment in a Majestic 1001 Nights Tent. – Guest House Option Available For Those Who Prefer.

DAY 6: MERZOUGA – RISSANI- ERFOUD -N’KOB -OUARZAZATE

▶Rise, have breakfast and take a sunrise trek back to Merzouga center. Enjoy the flora and fauna that is unique to the Sahara. Then take the road to visit the Saharan Desert towns of Rissani and the capital of fossils, Erfoud. Visit the old ksars and then continue the road to the village of Ait Ouzzine, located in N’kob which is nestled within the Middle Atlas Mountains.

Aït Ouzzine is a Berber village inhabited by over 300 families who live in beautifully painted crenulated kasbahs, with their own henna fields, water wells, livestock and gardens. This peaceful village is tucked away along an impressive desert route connecting the Draa Valley (Tansikht) and Rissani.

Lunch will be served to you in Aït Ouzzine by a traditional Berber, Moroccan family. The menu will include a traditional meal of fresh baked bread with spices and a chicken and vegetable tajine and fresh local fruits for desert.  After lunch, you can have your hands and feet painted with henna or your hair adorned with saffron by a local village artist and relax.  Experience the tradition of Berber perfume made from musk and amber along with the villages own spices.

►End the afternoon in Ait Ouzzine with mint tea and almonds.  Take the through the Draa Valley back to Ouarzazate before sunset.

►The Draa Valley is the road of the old caravans that were once traveled to transport dates and other good from the Draa Region to Marrakech. Arrive and have dinner at your Riad.

►Dinner & Spend the night at a 4 Star Charming Riad or Hotel in Ouarzazate.

DAY 7: OUARZAZATE ANCIENT KASBAHS

►Breakfast at your Riad.    “See Ouarzazate and die” are feelings often expressed by Moroccans with regards to this magical city that is the door to the Sahara desert. Located just four hours from Marrakesh, Ouarzazate is the main Berber city in the south known for its spectacular sunsets and dramatic mountain and desert scenery. Surrounded by breathtaking valleys, Ouarzazate was once crossing point for African traders seeking to reach northern cities in Morocco and Europe. During the French period, Ouarzazate expanded considerably as a garrison town and became the administrative centre of the Zagora region. Ouarzazate became famous when it’s nearby Kasbah;  Ait Benhaddou in the 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia.

► Visit the Oasis of Fint, the Atlas Film Studios, Aït Benhaddou & Kasbah Taouirt.

► Take the road to the Oasis of Fint that hovers under the Atlas Mountains. Journey on a one-hour walk inside the Oasis where you will have a cup of tea with the headmasters family Azziz Ouaziz and tour the surrounding area where date palm oases and dramatic desert scenery are king.

► After visiting the Oasis of Fint we will take the road to the Atas Film Studios. David Lean filmed Lawrence of Arabia at The Atlas Film Studios in the early 1960’s. Since then many famous directors have followed in his footsteps to exploit the magnificent scenery. International blockbusters shot here in recent years include: the French version of Cleopatra, Bertolucci’s Sheltering Sky, Scorsese’s Kundun, Gillies MacKannon’s Hideous Kinky, Ridley Scott’s Gladiator, Black Hawke Down, Oliver Stone’s Alexander The Great, Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven, and Penelope Cruz’s Sahara.

► Next visit Aït Benhaddou. Aït Benhaddou is located 32 km from Ouarzazate lies the picturesque village. Aït Benhaddou of Aït Benhaddou is situated in Souss-Massa-Draâ on a hill along the Ouarzazate River. Lawrence of Arabia was filmed here and Orson Welles used it as a location for Sodome and Gomorrah; and for Jesus of Nazareth the whole lower part of the village was rebuilt. In recent years more controlled restoration has been carried out under UNESCO auspices. Aït Benhaddou is one of many locations in this region used for shooting Hollywood films. This Berber village of towered and crenulated Kasbahs that once guarded the lucrative caravan route through the Atlas Mountains. 

Lunch on a terrace with clear views of Aït Benhaddou and enjoy a traditional Moroccan or Moroccan salada and a hearty tajine.

► End the day with a short visit to Kasbah Taouirt which was was built by the Pasha Glaoui. Kasbah Taouirt’s location was strategic for trading routes and in the 1930’s when the Glaoui ruled the South it was then one of Morocco’s largest Kasbahs. Explore its nooks and crannies and discover some local female painters who sell their art inside as well as the many quality silver shops just steps outside the Kasbah.

►Dinner & Spend the night at a 4 Star Charming Riad or Hotel in Ouarzazate.

DAY 8: OUARZAZATE – BOUTHGRAR (VALLEY OF NOMADS), VALLEY OF ROSES,  BOUMALNE DADES VALLEY & GORGE – SKOURA

►Breakfast at your Riad. Take the road to visit Bouthgrar, the Valley of Nomads and the Dades Valley.

►Begin your visit at the breakthtaking Valley of Nomads Located in Bouthgrar is the Valley of Nomads, a beautiful 10 kilometer valley where Nomads live in caves that are surrounded by Mount Mgoun. Mount Mgoun is the second highest mountain in Morocco and boasts extraordinery views. Have tea with a Nomad family.  See first hand where they make their own carpets and co exist in Bouthgrar with other Nomad families.

►Your journey will then take you through the Dadès Valley which covers 125 km between Ouarzazate and Boumalne du Dadès in the High Atlas Mountains.

►Once you reach Boumalne at first sight you notice the limestone cliffs with uniquely shaped erosions and superb scenery and the valley’s pise (windy roads). Driving along you will pass flower filled fields, fertile fields, riverbanks and several fortified ksours. At the bottom of Gorge of Boumalne Dadès there are ruined hilltop Kasbahs and valley floor gardens.

►Lunch will be served at a nearby guesthouse that offers local Moroccan fare and a panoramic view. Relax and sip mint tea while gazing at the impressive valley view.

►Dinner & Spend the night at a 4 Star Charming Riad or Hotel in Ouarzazate.

DAY 9: OUARZAZATE – MARRAKECH

►Rise early, breakfast at your Riad and then take the road to Marrakech.

▶En route you will go by piste to visit Kasbah Telout, one of Morocco’s hidden jewels and a famous Kasbahs that is the origin of the Pacha Glaoui Family. Kasbah Telout is hidden among a tiny road in a small village that is 20 minutes outside Tichka. It’s history stands alone with its original zellij tile, authentic, preserved silks and grand remnants of the Glaou family. Unlike the other Kasbahs in Southern Morocco, Telout was occupied by the Glaoui’s instead of the slaves and has stunning views. This Kasbahs has yet to be coined a UNESCO World Heritage site and while it appears in parts to be in ruins on the exterior, its interior is one of true spelndor.

Lunch in the Tizzin Tichkas Pass f and visit the Argan Cooperative where Argan Oil, Butter and Cosmetics are made with the Argan nut by hand as Berber women crack the nuts and the grind them one by one. Have a complimentary tasting.  This cooperative is run entirely by women. Lunch in the village of Tadart.

►Arrive in Marrakech. Evening Free. Dinner at your Riad or in the heart of Djemma El Fna Square.

►Dinner & Spend the night at a 4 Star Charming Riad or Hotel in Marrakech.

DAY 10:  MARRAKECH (GUIDED HISTORICAL TOUR)

►Breakfast at your Riad. Begin your one-day Historical Tour of Marrakech.

►Your introduction to Marrakech will begin in the new city, we will navigate our way to French, Gueliz and head to the Majorelle Gardens, a magical and lush small garden estate designed by Jacque Majorelle and maintained by Yves Saint Laurent. The Majorelle Garden is filled with colorful walkways, ponds, cactus and plants as well as a beautiful shop with hand-made goods. On our return to your hotel, we will pass by the La Mammounia Hotel Garden (where Alfred Hitchcock wrote the famous film The Birds).

►Visit the 19th Centurey Bahia Palace, originally built for Si Moussa, a former slave who became King Moulay Hassan’s chamberlain. The palace holds a courtyard and riads decorated with and the most beautiful carved stucco, Arabic architecture. Next visit the 16th Century Saadian Tombs and El Mansour mosque. Marrakech is a city of underground channels built by the architects from Cordoba, Spain to provide water for the town and Palmery.

►Next visit the old, Medina, the old quarter of the Marrakech. From here we will explore this historically charming area by foot. In Djemma el Fna, you will visit the famous 12th century Koutouba Mosque, its influential minaret and gardens.

►Your guide will lead you through the labyrinth streets and alleys of the Djemma. Enjoy aromatic smells, taste fresh squeezed orange juice and venture into the souks specializing in Berber carpets, silver jewelry, artisan workshops, handmade shoes and tanneries.  Enjoy a three- course lunch consisting of fresh salad, tajine and fruit at one of Marrakech most delectable restaurants.

►Next we will visit the Museum of Marrakech, a Contemporary Moroccan Art Museum or Tiskiwin, a private museum dedicated to popular arts & crafts, styled as a beautiful Spanish-Moroccan house, next door to Dar Si Said palace, a smaller version of the Bahia.

►Evening free to explore Marrakech on your own.  Your private driver will be available to escort you to a variety of restaurants we recommend.

►Dinner at your Riad or one of Marrakech’s fabulous restaurants, Le Marrakechi, Le Fonduk or Le Comptoir Darna.

►Dinner & Spend the night at a 4 Star Charming Riad or Hotel in Marrakech.

DAY 11: MARRAKECH – FREE DAY or OURIKA VALLEY SETTI FATIMA WATERFALLS VISIT

Breakfast at your Riad. Visit the Ourika Valley’s Setti Fatima Waterfalls or spend the day exploring on your own in the Marrakech medina.

Attend the CHEZ ALI FANTASIA, Equestrian & Moroccan Music show. Three Course Dinner served on site in Marrakech’s lush palmary. Return to your Riad for the evening. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see a traditional Fantasia unless you visit Meknes during the Fantasia Festival.

►Dinner & Spend the night at a 4 Star Charming Riad or Hotel in Marrakech.

DAY 12: MARRAKECH – ESSAOUIRA (GUIDED HISTORICAL TOUR)

► Rise, breakfast at your Riad. Then take the road to visit the seaside port of Essaouira. The journey to this former Portuguese fishing village offers up only a few roadside towns and the occasional Berber village. In the ’60s and ’70s, Essaouira was a pitstop on the hippie trek from Marrakesh. Jimi Hendrix made the pilgrimage, as did Bob Marley and Cat Stevens. Essaouira was the inspiration for Hendrix’s song “Castles Made of Sand”.

► Visit this sea-side medieval town that boasts lovely white-washed and blue-shuttered houses, colonnades, thuya wood workshops, art galleries and mouthwatering seafood.  Once called Mogador by European sailors and traders, Essaouria is known for its annual Gnaoua Music Festival that attracts 300,000+ people in June. It also has an expansive beach for surfing called Plage de Safi.  The medina of Essaouira (formerly “Mogador”) is a UNESCO World Heritage listed city, as an example of a late-18th century fortified town.

► Take a stroll along the town’s sunlit pedestrian main square, Place Prince Moulay el Hassan and the Skala du Port, the fishing harbor, offers breathtaking views of the Portuguese ramparts. Explore the ramparts and the spice and jewelry souks of the medina. Your guide will take you to the old Jewish Mellah and explain the entire history of Essaouira.

► Have lunch at the fish-grill cafes, with wooden tables and benches laid out overlooking the sea that was once- in the 19th century- the only Moroccan port south of Tangier.

► After lunch visit Orson Welles’ Square and memorial, designed by Samir Mustapha, one of the towns artists, which pays homage to Orson Welles filming of Othello in EssouariaEssaouira’s history is a reminder of the times when Spain, Portugal and England fought to maintain control over its coasts. It has a typical Portuguese harbor that is a stunning example of Moorish and Portuguese architecture.

►Dinner & Spend the night at a 4 Star Charming Riad or Hotel in Marrakech.

DAY 13: MARRAKECH – CASABLANCA

►Breakfast at your Hotel. Departure at Casablanca’s International Airport.

Fes Festival Tour Rate: $4,480 Per Person (Double Occupancy Preferred, Not Required)

All Inclusive, Private Group Transport in Luxury Minibus or 4×4 Land cruiser, 4/5 Accommodations, licensed historical guides, some meals, museum and monument entrances fees, tickets to the Fes Festival of Sacred World Music

For more information about the Fes, Morocco Tour Package and the World Sacred Music Festival

For more information about Travel and Tours to Morocco plus highlights on Moroccan culture visit Morocco’s Imperial CitiesSeaside Resorts,Sahara DesertBerber villagesA Taste of MoroccoMagical Kasbahs, Ruins & WaterfallsAbsolute Morocco, The Best of MarrakechFes, and Ouarzazate

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration

Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel.We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806 or 1 (917)703-2078 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

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Fes Festival World Sacred Music 17th Edition June 2011 Program, Your Morocco Travel Guide

Fes Festival 2011

Travel Exploration is proud to present the final music and conference schedule for the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music. The Fes Festival Of World Sacred Music’s 17th Edition will take place from June 3rd – 12th, 2011. The Fes Music Festival can be attended by taking a 13 Day/ 12 Night Morocco Tour with Music Host, Joel Davis which includes discovers of Morocco’s Imperial Cities, the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music and the Sahara region. Discovering Fes and the Fes Festival can also be done on a private journey to Fes. This immense undertaking of a Fes Festival Program in the city of Fes, Morocco is once again spearheaded by Mr. Faouzi Skali. Mr. Faouzi Skali has a Doctor in anthropology, ethnology and religion sciences. Faouzi Skali was born in Fes Morocco in 1953.  Mr. Skali founded the international symposium A soul for the globalization – since 2001 – in parallel of the Festival of World Sacred Music in Fes. Those of us who know Mr. Faouzi Skali’s word and his commitment to peace and a greater Fes are pleased to have him back at the helm. The 17th Edition of the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music is going to be like none other. At a time when the Muslim world is looking for reform towards democracy and peace, Morocco once again leads with a commitment to these efforts linked to culture, arts and community. The mix of musicians from around the world at the 17th annual Fes Festival within the modernized, peaceful and progressive country of Morocco is surely to be at the threshold of the world’s eyes and an opportunity for world and spiritual music to once again bridge the gaps that exist among us.

Faouzi Skali, Director of Fes Festival of World Sacred Music

Fes Festival of World Sacred Music – 17th Edition 2011 (June 3rd – 12th, 2011)

Friday, June 3rd

Bab Al Makina – 8.30 pm Creation

Opera ‘Majnun and Leila’ Armand Amar, art direction ‐ Leili Anvar, booklet (lyrics/script) With  the  Shanghai  Percussion  –  Japanese  Drums  –  Sarah  Nemtanu,  violin  soloist  with  the  London Symphony Orchestra ‐ Gregory Korneliu, cello ‐ Ibrahim Maalouf, trumpet ‐ Levon Minassian,  duduk  ‐  Seye  Mohamed,  ney  ‐  Zaim  Abdou,  oud  ‐  Guo  Gan,  erhu  ‐  Mara Dubrescu,  piano  ‐  Mathias  Duplessy,  guitar  ‐  Salah  Aguili,  Iranian  singing  ‐  Sandrine  Piau and Adele Carlier, classical singing – Epi, Mongolian throat singing ‐ Asif Ali Khan, qawwali singing  Armand Amar, a cinematic composer – from the prestigious “Amen” by Costa‐Gavras to the recent “Home” (a cult‐oriented ecological movie by Yann Arthus‐Bertrand) ‐ offers a musical and poetic journey of the great Eastern traditions, from Persia to the Arab world. The  universal  story  of  Majnun  and  Leila,  a  legend  carried  over  time  through  stories, novels,  poems,  films  and  songs  in  Arabic,  Kurdish,  Pashto,  Hindi,  Urdu  or  Bengali,celebrates absolute love and represents the idea of a true mystical quest.

Saturday June 4th

Batha Museum – 4.00 pm

Elena Ledda and his quartet with polyphonic choir Su Cuncordu ‘E Su Rosario de Santu Lussurgiu ‐ Sardinia, Italy Cantendi A Deus. Surrounded  by  the  beautiful  voices  of  Sardinia,  Elena  Ledda  renews  the  sacred  songs  ofan  island  whose  pastoral  society  has  preserved  its  rich  oral  heritage,  a  heritage  that exudes the wild beauty of the ancient mountains and Mediterranean.

Bab Al Makina – 8.30 pm

Maria Bethânia ‐ Brazil Romances and spiritual songs / Canticos, preces e suplicas. A native of Bahia, Maria Bethânia was the spokesperson of a youth movement involved in post‐dictatorship and feminism. Today, the adored grande dame of popular song – known as  Abelha‐rainha  (“Queen  Bee”)  –  plays  a  repertoire  of  homage  and  praise  to  the  Virginary, full of a sensual fervor related to Brazil’s multiculturalism.

Nawah Fes Festival 2011 Performers

Sunday June 5th

Batha Museum – 4.00 pm

Nawah ‐ Morocco and Palestine Traditional Sephardic Jewish and Palestinian songs   Françoise Atlan, voice Moneim Adwan, voice and oud  Bijan Cheminani, zarb and daf . At  the  junction  of  the  three  monotheistic  traditions  of  medieval  Spain  and  a  musical tradition  evoking  exile,  lost  homelands  and  purified  love,  Françoise  Atlan  and  Moneim Adwan form a meeting between the musical history of the Maghreb and the Middle East.

Bab Al Makina ‐ 8.30 pm

Julia Boutros – Lebanon

The consciousness of a great voice. Following the path of the illustrious Feirouz to whom she is often compared, Julia Boutros  continues  with  intelligence  a  career  leading  her  to  be  respected  by  the  entire  Arab  world. Simple  in  her  interpretation,  serene  in  her  appearance,  Julia  Boutros  has  all  the attractions of a diva aware of the political realities surrounding her.

Monday June 6th

Batha Museum – 4.00 pm

The ‘Kinor David’ choir under the direction of Michael Abittan ‐ Casablanca, Morocco. The art of matrouz. This  year,  in  the  spirit  of  the  spiritual  dialogue  that  characterizes  this  festival,  the  Jewish  Arabic tradition – dear to the musical heritage of Morocco – evokes the land of Andalusia,  a  crucible  of  Muslim,  Hebrew  and  Christian  cultures,  where  Jewish  and  Arab  poetry  are  embroidered and entwined.

Night in the Medina I

Dar Mokri –  8 and 10 pm Jesús Corbacho – Andalusia‐ Spain Saetas, songs of praise

Dar Tazi – 8.30 pm Salah Aghili ‐ Iran The poetic art of Djalâl ad‐Dîn Rûmî. The  Persian  music  and  poetry  of  Djalâl  ad‐Dîn  Rûmî  opens  the  doors  of  perception,  lifting  our  imagination  into  the  heart  of  ancient  warriors  and  epic  songs,  before  descending  into  deep nostalgia and mystic sadness.

Batha Museum – 9.00 pm

Prem Sanyas, “The Light of Asia” ‐ North India A masterpiece of silent film directed by Franz Osten (1925) and set to music on stage by the ‘Divana Ensemble’ ‐ manghaniyars and langas musicians from Rajasthan.  Prem  Sanyas  evokes  the  early  years  of  Buddha,  also  known  as  Siddhartha  Gautama,  the long‐awaited son of King Suddhodana. After growing up in a closed and protected world  the  young  man  escapes  the  palace  and  discovers  another  aspect  of  human  existence: poverty,  disease  and  death.  The  film,  shot  in  Jaipur,  is  an  opportunity  to  discover  the  sumptuous lives and traditions of the rajahs of the time.

Dar Adiyel ‐ 9 and 10.30 pm

Alèmu Aga ‐ Ethiopia

Sacred song and lyre bèguèna Since the time of the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon (1000 BC), there were 3000 years of independence experienced by the Kingdom of Axum, before it became Abyssinia and Ethiopia. These countries then converted to Christianity in the 4th century at the same  time as the Roman Empire. The  crystalline  notes  of  the  lyre  and  singing  recitals  of  Alemu  Aga  take  us  back  to  the  chants  of  King  David.  At  once  meditative  and  therapeutic,  these  songs  are  ancient  and deeply peaceful.

Dar Tazi – 11.00 pm Sheikh Taha ‐ Upper Egypt The Inshad sufiya of Luxor The  Munshiddin  of  Upper  Egypt  are  known  for  their  poetic  verve  and  stage  presence.  Very  popular,  they  are  accompanied  by  the  Takht  Ensemble  who  play  melodic  ancient tunes  inspired  by  old  songs  such  as  Oum  Kalthoum.  Their  Sufi  singing  ‐  inshad  Sufiya  ‐  is  bright and accessible to all.

Gundecha Brothers Fes Festival 2011 Performers

Tuesday June 7th
Batha Museum – 4.00 pm

Gundecha Brothers ‐ North India

The sacred art of dhrupad. Dhrupad singing is the oldest classical music tradition alive in the Indian subcontinent. It is  rooted  in  the  recitation  of  the  Vedic  hymns.  Originally  sung  in  the  temples,  the  vocal  technique recreates the exaltation of the loving soul.

Dar Tazi – 11.00 pm Sheikh Taha – Upper Egypt Sufi Inshad of Luxor Night in the Medina II

Dar Mokri – 8.00 pm Mohamed Amin El Akrami and his orchestra ‐ Morocco Andalusian tradition of Tetouan. Mohamed  Amine  Akrami  carries  with  him  the  musical  heritage  of  Andalusian  Tetouan,  a  small town in the Rif Mountains often called “the Andalusian patio of Morocco”. The tune  contains  both  sophisticated  and  bitter  aspects  and  the  music  al‐âla  of  Tetouan  is  beautifully  enhanced  by  the  Mohamed  Amine  Akrami  Ensemble.  Mohamed  Amine Akrami  perfected  his  art  with  religious  songs  from  madih  to  samâ,  studying  under  great masters such as Mohamed Larbi Temsamani and Abdessadak Chekara.

Batha Museum – 8.00 pm Ensemble Barroco Asuncion Paraguay ‐ Latin America Alexander Chauffaud, musical direction

Jessica Bogado and Laura Delogu, sopranos. Samples of Peruvian Codes from the Andean area in the 18th century Halfway between the European Baroque universe and traditional music, the viewpoints of two civilizations meet in sacred music. These works, born of the “meeting of two worlds”,  make  Latin  America  the  chosen  land  of  a  musical  art  that  has  developed  in  staggering proportions  since  the  late  16th  and  17th  centuries.  The  young  musicians  from  Paraguay  ‘Barroco’  tell  the  story  of  this  journey  by  blending  indigenous  and  European  instruments, from the harpsichord to the Paraguayan harp.

Homayoun Sakhi Fes Festival 2011 Performers

Batha Museum – 10.00 pm Homayoun Sakhi – Afganistan Art of Rubâb

Afghanistan, formerly at the crossroads of the Persian, Indian and Asian civilizations, remains a country of proud mountain warriors, who are today faced with the game of international powers. Homayoun Sakhi, a musical revelation in recent years, has devoted his existence to rubâb,  an Afghan lute, which sounds volatile and cutting.

Dar Mokri – 10.30 pm Nahal Tajddod and Jean‐Claude Carrière

“The Conference of the Birds” by Farid Eddin Attar Jean‐Claude Carrière and Nahal Tajaddod revive the Sufi tale of Farid Eddin Attar during areading punctuated by music. All  the  birds,  known  and  unknown,  met  one  day  and  discovered  that  they  lacked  a  king.  They  decided  to  go  in  search  of  the  bird‐king  Simorg,  a  symbol  of  Truth  in  the  Persiamystical  tradition.  This  famous  story  of  initiation,  interspersed  with  stories  and  anecdotes,  remains  forever  a  jewel  of  Muslim  spirituality.  The  great  Rumi,  Persian  mystic  and poet, said of its author, Attar (c. 1140 ‐ c. 1230): “He was the soul of Sufism, I am only following his trail.”

Dar Adiyel – 9.30 pm Ensemble Wajd – Morocco and Syria. Songs with existential and spiritual dimension, between tradition and modernity Naziha Meftah, songs  Ghaïs Jasser, composition and piano  Khaled Roumo, poetry

Dar Tazi –  11.00 pm Divana ‐ Rajasthan, North India Sufi songs of the Thar Deser A  raw  voice  capable  of  shaping  a  myriad  of  songs,  in  perfect  harmony  with  the  amanchiya  and  sarangui  fiddles,  is  the  image  of  these  nomadic  societies  that  cultivate  ahigh poetic refinement. In the poetic paradise that is the ancient land of Rajas (Rajasthan,meaning  ‘Land  of  Princes’  in  Sanskrit),  the  poet’s  voice  rises,  sinuous  and  warm,  and  illuminates our soul like “the expanse of stars in the night”.

Abd Al Malik Fes Festival 2011 Performer

Wednesday June 8th Batha Museum – 4.00 pm

Urban Phileas – Reunion Island, France Reunion  Island  is  a  microcosm  of  intersecting  African,  Asian,  Indian,  Arab  and  Europeanpopulations,  a  symbol  of  multiculturalism  where  all  faiths  and  communities  live  together.The  spirit  of  this  special  island  is  expressed  through  maloya,  between  Dravidian  India,Malagasy  possession  rituals  (servis  kabaré)  and  the  legacies  of  African  slavery.  UrbanPhileas,  belonging  to  the  family  Lele,  practices  this  ritual,  which  has  been  passed  downthrough generations of ancestors.

Bab Al Makina – 8.30 pm Abd Al Malik ‐ France Rapper,  slammer  and  composer,  Abd  Al  Malik  is  the  media  figure  of  a  new  culture  that has  built  itself  out  of  the  search  for  another  life,  another  language,  while  managing  the  ups and downs of existence in an urban jungle. Abd Al Malik is inspired by, amongst other ideas,  the  Sufi  philosophy  of  spiritual  and  intellectual  resources  and  the  great  texts  of Western thought.

Thursday June 9th Batha Museum – 4.00 pm

Ensemble baroque “Il Concerto di Arianna” – Italy Musical performance of Alessandro Stradella, Alessandro Scarlatti and Antonio Vivaldi The  illustrious  Roman  Ducci  Foundation,  which  works  for  peace  and  dialogue  between  cultures,  offers  a  repertoire  focused  on  sacred  music  under  the  direction  of  the  great conductor Marcello Panni.

Bab Al Makina – 8.30 pm Youssou N’Dour and the Super Star of Dakar ‐ Senegal Tribute to Sheikh Sidi Ahmed al‐Tijani Youssou N’dour, a true icon of West African music, has not forgotten his spiritual roots. In front  of  the  symbolic  door  of  Fez  he  will  pay  tribute  to  the  great  master  of  the Brotherhood  Tijaniyya,  founded  around  1780  by  Ahmad  al‐Tijani.  Ahmad  al‐Tijani’s mausoleum  ‐  a  place  of  pilgrimage  for  the  worldwide  Tijani  brotherhood  ‐  is  in  Blida,  in the heart of Fez Medina.

Doudou Ndiaye Rose Fes Festival 2011 Performer

Friday June 10th Batha Museum – 4.00 pm

Creation Doudou Ndiaye Rose and his sabar drum ensemble With the choir of St Joseph Medina led by Ambouras ‐ Senegal The  sabar  drums  of  Doudou  Ndiaye  Rose  and  his  sons,  give  a  new  dimension  to  this polyrhythmic percussion and chorus, which is animated by the spiritual conviction to own the  soul  of  Africa.  This  also  occurs  when  Muslim  and  Christian  traditions  are  absorbed  by the traditional culture of the Fefer community.

Bab Al Makina – 8.30 pm Farid Ayyaz & Party and the great voices of moroccan samâ, accompanied by the Arab‐ Andalusian Orchestra of Fez, led by Mohammed Briouel ‐ Pakistan and Morocco The expression qaûl in Sufi speech, becomes qawwalî in Indo‐Pakistani music and meets the Arab‐Andalusian al‐âla tradition from Fes and the vocal art of samâ. In  a  common  spirit  of  poetic  recitation,  with  the  same  rhythmic  frenzy  and  equal  wealth of  ornamentation,  the  powerful  vocals  of  qawwalî  by  Farid  Ayyaz  intersect  with  those  of samâ and their voices fill the sky with chanting.

Saturday June 11th Batha Museum – 4.00 pm

Syubbanul Akhyar Esemble ‐ Java, Indonesia Songs and music Hajir Marawi of Cirebon The first centuries of Islamization in Southeast Asia coincided with the heyday of medieval Sufism and developed around the 12th and 13th centuries, during which time the Sufi brotherhood tarîqat emerged. In Indonesia, Yemeni Arab traders from the Hadramout Valley were among the first to transmit a true and popular Sufism. The  musical  style  hajir  marawis,  legacy  of  the  Yemeni  Sufi  culture,  refers  to  a  set  of  hajir percussion  drums  (double  membrane)  and  marawis  (small  tambourines)  to  which  are added the oud, lute and Yemeni gambus.

Bab Al Makina – 8.30 pm Kazem El Saher and Asma Lmnawar, with the artistic collaboration of Aziz Lachhab ‐ Iraq and Morocco Kazem  El  Saher,  a  prestigious  and  big‐hearted  Arabic  singer,  will  be  in  Fez  alongside  the singer  Asma  Lmnawar  from  Casablanca,  with  whom  he  recently  collaborated  to  create  a masterpiece.  This  largely  spiritual  concert  is  being  shown  for  the  first  time  in  a  repertoire especially created for, and dedicated to, Fez.

Sunday June 12th Bab Al Makina – 8.30 pm

Ben Harper ‐ USA Ben Harper expresses the roots of an America that, through its nomadic troubadours and minstrels, has brought the essence of spirituality from memories of a lost Arica, through the struggles of slavery and the hopes of the early settlers.

FES FORUM: “Giving a Soul to Globalization” 4th‐ 8th June 2011

Batha Museum – 9 am to 12 noon 2011  Forum  Theme: Dialogue  about  wisdom:  inspired  by  Farid  al‐Din  Attar’s  The

Conference of the Birds – “The  problems  we  face  cannot  be  solved  with  the  same  level  of  thinking  we  used  when we created them.” Albert Einstein Since  the  fall  of  the  Berlin  Wall,  surely  we  agree  that  the  world’s  fate  no  longer  depends on  a  balance  of  power  that  sees  mounting  tensions  between  a  western  culture dominated  by  reason,  creativity,  and  technology  and  other  cultures  driven  by  new, irrational, and dogmatic ideologies that draw solely on identity or religious affiliation? Not  to  deny  these  tensions,  we  must  understand  that  what  is  happening  is  far  more complex and deeply rooted. Whether  our  resources  draw  on  ancient  or  new  philosophies,  from  the  North  or  South, East  or  West  is  not  what  matters.  What  is  essential  is  that,  by  virtue  of  their  encounter, they  can  nourish  our  relationship  with  the  world.  The  impact  of  this  encounter  makes possible the emergence not simply of a plethora of ideas ‐ regardless of cultural relativis  but  a  genuinely  unknown  relationship  among  cultures;  a  genuine  diversity  tha challenges  and  enriches  thought,  concepts  of  society,  and  our  ideas  of  who  we  are  and can be. Thus the Persian mystic poet of the 13th century, Attar, in his The Conference of the Birds, recounted  how  the  birds,  through  an  intensive  dialogue,  were  able  to  discover  the  true significance of their existence and of their common destiny.

Faouzi Skali – The  Fes  Forum,  whose  overarching  theme  is  “Giving  A  Soul  To  Globalization”  will  address  topics  ranging  from  “Islam  and  the  West”  :  towards  a  new  civilization,”  “New horizons for the Maghreb», «What future lies ahead for the Middle East?, “The roots of the financial crisis”, “Contemporary  dilemmas”, and more…Leading figures who will attend include:  Rajmohan  Gandhi,  Katherine  Marshall,  Salamatou  Sow,  Edgar  Morin,  Majid  Rahnema,  Wim Wenders, Leila Shahid,  André Azoulay, Karen Amstrong, Bariza Khiari, Jacques Attali, Siddhartha,  Yann  Arthus‐Bertrand,  Michel  Thao  Chan,  Michael  Barry,  Leili  Anvar,  Katia  Légeret, Mohamed Valsan, Assia Alaoui Bensalah, Marie Miran‐Guyon, Mohamed Ghalmi,  Kamal  Oudghiri,  Xavier‐Simon  Guerrand‐Hermes,  Xavier  de Catheu,  Patrick  Busquet, Henri  Joyeux,  Patrick  Viveret,  Jean‐Claude  Carrière,  Amal  Arfaoui,  Saad  Khiari,  Nahal  Tajddod,  Abd  Al  Malik,  ,  Setsuko  Klossowska  de  Rola,  Adel  Rifaat,    Bahgat  Elnadi,  Joseph  Mail,  Zeyba Rahman, Gunnar Stalsett and more.

Festival in the City – Everyday- Place Boujloud at 6.30 pm – Dar Tazi at 11.00 pm

For more information about Travel and Tours to Morocco plus highlights on Moroccan culture visit Morocco’s Imperial CitiesSeaside Resorts,Sahara DesertBerber villagesA Taste of MoroccoMagical Kasbahs, Ruins & WaterfallsAbsolute Morocco, The Best of MarrakechFes, and Ouarzazate

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Moroccan Wedding Traditions, Join A Moroccan Wedding Tour, Your Morocco Travel Guide

Musicians Moroccan Wedding

Every country has it’s own wedding culture. Traditions and ceremonies differ in each part of the world and Morocco is no exception. Moroccan weddings are a 24-hour affair and more. Just as in the west, every Moroccan wedding is different, and families from different regions whether it be cities or villages try to make their children’s weddings unique. There are a few common themes and events that occur over the course of a wedding, and knowing what to expect if you attend one is important. Morocco boasts rich wedding traditions and customs that vary by region, city and village however most have commonalities that range from unique and colorful clothing, a traditional henna party and serving special salads, meat and couscous to their guests.

Women Dancing at Moroccan Wedding

The traditional Moroccan Wedding boasts an elaborate and meaningful process. The Moroccan wedding process can take up to seven days and there are many pre-wedding ceremonies that take place before the actual wedding. With its rich cultural heritage Morocco is a place to visit for vacation if you have the opportunity to attend a Moroccan Wedding or Moroccan Wedding Tour.

Once a date has been set for a Moroccan wedding, the preparations begin. Before the wedding day, the bride is taken by female family members to a hammam. Older married woman, female friends and relatives beautify her.

What follows is the elaborate decoration and dressing of the bride in a traditional wedding caftan in the colors of the city or village – tradition. The bride is then decorated with heavy silver jewelry (in modern day often 24 carat gold given by the groom to the bride), unqiue family air looms such as a tasfift (which is word on the head) a fibula set which is worn across the brides chest among other old pieces. The brides eyes are darkened with kohl which appears a bit like thick dark eyeliner.

Henna Hand

Then a Henna (beberiska ceremony) begins whereby the brides hands and feet of the bride and her party are painted with henna. The bride’s designs are always the most intricate and the various floral and geometric designs are worn to bring good luck and increase fertility.

The grooms name is often hidden in the henna designs. The brides and the grooms female family relatives will then take the opportunity to discuss the ‘secrets’ of marriage”.

In some ceremonies the bride is placed behind a curtain to symbolize her change of lifestyle. In more remote village and areas of Morocco this kind of ceremony would take place before the actual wedding.

Moroccan Couscous

During this preparation families and friends together prepare traditional foods such as tajines made of sheep, beef and goat and couscous along with the ceremonial meal of taraoit which is eaten the next day. There is often a separate men’s dinner that takes place a day or two before the wedding event.

The wedding then begins with a joyous celebration in evening with various kinds of Moroccan music and dancing that often lasts all night long.

In Berber, Moroccan Weddings there is Ahwash dancing and Hadous drumming along with other festivities and traditions such as the bride riding a mule around the village which in modern day is often replaced with a car. In Arab, Moroccan weddings, the bride would be lifted up on a circular cushion or table and the groom on the shoulders of his friends. The Imlilchil Marraige Festival is another example of a long standing tradition in Southern Morocco with a festive celebration that takes place each September.

Ahwash Berber Women Dancing

Ahwash is exclusively village music that has been unchanged for centuries performed at weddings and on special occasion. Ahwash musical texts emphasize the submission of the individual to the community. Typically, it consists of two large choruses engaging in call-and-response vocals, accompanied by instrumentalists and dancers. Since this music requires anywhere from 20 to 150 participants, it is not easily portable and so rarelyheard in the cities.

Haddous drumming is a traditional type of drumming that is played on special occasions, ceremonies and weddings. Hadous tradition uses a hand drum made of animal skin. Women and men move together forming a line or circle, then play and sing in unison.

Caftan Design

The Moroccan Wedding tradition also has a long heritage of ceremonial caftans that are traditionally hand made by a local tailor however in modern day, many brides are buying them in shops. Hand-made caftans are typically designed with the shared ideas and traditions of the family tradition with input from the local tailor. The caftans sometimes have intricate embroidery which is done locally or instead shipped off to the town of Fes which is famous for it’s ancient traditions of caftan embroidery, skuli hand made belts and shoes.

AIT ATTA BERBER MOROCCAN WEDDING TOUR:

MAY 12th: OUARZAZATE ARRIVAL – EVENING

►Arrive at Ouarzazte’s Airport. Transfer to your Charming Riad or Hotel.

►Dinner and Spend the night at a charming Riad or Hotel in Ouarzazate.

MAY 13th: OUARZAZATE – SKOURA – VALLEY OF ROSES – BOUTHGRAR – VALLEY OF NOMADS – BOUMALNE DADES VALLEY & GORGE

►Breakfast at your Riad. Take the road to visit the Amerdihl Kasbah in Skoura and pass the Skoura Palmary. Continue the road to the perfumed Valley of Roses, just north of El Kelaa Des Mgouna. On the way to the Valley of Roses, your driver will stop for you to view the Capp et Florale shops and rose gardens in the small kasbah town that manufacture the entire nations products of eau de rose. The rose water and other products such as hand and body soaps, oil, crème perfume and dried flowers are for sale and also popular among Moroccans. The factories produce 3000-4000 petals a year. With ten tons of petals required to produce a few liters of precious oil, the harvest is understandably a labor of love and the culminating festivities of the annual Rose Festival are all the livelier for it.

►In the Valley of Roses will find miles of pink, small Persian roses-cultivated as hedgerows dividing the plots of land. In spring, you can buy a garland of fragrant roses from one of the Berber children who line the route. Continue the road to Bouthgrar, the Valley of Nomads and the Dades Valley.

►Go by pise (windy road) to visit the breakthtaking Valley of Nomads. Located in Bouthgrar is the Valley of Nomads, a beautiful 10 kilometer valley where Nomads live in caves that are surrounded by Mount Mgoun. Mount Mgoun is the second highest mountain in Morocco and boasts extraordinary views. Have tea with a Nomad family. Your journey will then take you through the Dades Valey which covers 125 km between Ouarzazate and Boumalne du Dadès in the High Atlas Mountains.

►Once you reach Boumalne at first sight you notice the limestone cliffs with uniquely shaped erosions and superb scenery and the valley’s pise. Driving along you will pass flower filled fields, fertile fields, riverbanks and several fortified ksours. At the bottom of Gorge of Boumalne Dadès.

►Lunch will be served at a nearby guesthouse with local Moroccan fare and a panoramic view. Relax and sip mint tea while gazing at the impressive valley.

Dinner Option: La Kasbah Des Sables in Ouarzazate. Le Kasbah Des Sables is a gastronomic experience with a menu that combines the cuisine of Fes, Meknes, Tangier, Arab and Berber with 5 class fare. This restaurant offers a museum- quality atmosphere as its’ decor has been hand stitched together and is filled with Berber, Morocco traditional furniture and art that was hand crafted by local artisans in the Ouarzazate region. Each section of the restaurant offers an intimate environment and the opportunity to eat on tables that are hand painted and adorned with silver fibulas, Amber and other regional jewels.

►Dinner & Spend the night at 4 or 5 Star Riad in Ouarzazate.

MAY 14th: WEDDING DAY – OUARZAZATE – AGDZ – KASBAH TAMNOGAULT – AIT OUZZINE

HENNA PARTY – WEDDING CEREMONY – DINNER FEAST & MOROCCAN MUSIC ALL NIGHT LONG

►Breakfast at your Riad.

9:00am: Departure from Ouarzazate to Agdz to Hammam.

10:30am: Visit to traditional Hammam Bath. Enjoy a 90 minute rendezvous with the bride and groom at a traditional bath house.

1:00pm: Lunch at Chez Yacoub in Kasbah Tamnougalt. Lunch at this 17th Century Kasbah in the Draa Valley. Enjoy a Moroccan tajine in this restored kasbah after the Hammmam experience.

3:00pm: Henna Party will take place in Ait Ouzzine family home. Attend the Henna Party for the bride in Ait Ouzzine Village.

5:00pm: Check into your Kasbah Hotel in N’kob. Relax, dress up and prepare for wedding dinner feast and evening celebration.

7:30pm- 10:00pm: Wedding Ceremony, Dinner Feast and Music festivities.

10:00pm- 3:00am: Evening of live music from the Souss Valley, Valley of Roses, Traditional Berber Hadous Drummers and Ahawash Dancing.

Ahwash Dancing & Singing: Ahwash is exclusively village music that has been unchanged for centuries performed at weddings and on special occasion. Ahwash musical texts emphasize the submission of the individual to the community. Typically, it consists of two large choruses engaging in call-and-response vocals, accompanied by instrumentalists and dancers. Since this music requires anywhere from 20 to 150 participants, it is not easily portable and so rarelyheard in the cities.

Hadous Drumming: Haddous drumming is a traditional type of drumming that is played on special occasions, ceremonies and weddings. Hadous tradition uses a hand drum made of animal skin. Women and men move together forming a line or circle, then play and sing in unison.

Spend the night at Charming Riad in N’kob Village

MAY 15th: WEDDING DAY – AIT OUZZINE – ALNIF -RISSANI – MERZOUGA

CEREMONIAL VISIT – LUNCH IN AIT OUZZINE- SUNRISE CAMEL TREK – 1001 NIGHTS DINNER

11:00am – 2:00pm: Morning Ceremonial visit of Ait Ouzzine village whereby almonds are cast to children for good luck and the bride rides a mule three times around the village to celebrate the consummation of her marriage. Celebrate with the as she wears her Moroccan, modern white and gold bridal caftan and enjoy time with family and friends.

2:00pm: Lunch in Ait Ouzzine.

4:00pm: Departure to Merzouga. Take the road to Merzouga passing the Sahara Desert town of Rissani and Alnif. Go by pise into the Sahara Desert as the sunsets to discover the rocky and majestic Erg Chebbi Golden Dunes.

7:00pm: Dinner and Music along with a 1001 Nights Arabic Feast under the Sahara Desert Stars.

►Spend the night in Merzouga’s Sahara Desert at Le Belle Etoile. Options to stay in a Luxury bivouac tent or guests house at the foot of the Erg Chebbi Dunes.

MAY 16th: MERZOUGA -RISSANI – ERFOUD – TODRA GORGE – OUARZAZATE

Sunrise camel trek before dawn into the Erg Chebbi Dunes. Explore the flora and fauna of the Sahara Desert.

►Take the road to Rissani, a Sahara desert town that is from the ancient Alawi Dynasty and the birthplace of King Mohammed VI, the current King of Morocco. Visit the old Mausolem of Moulay Ali Sharif, the first King of the Alawi Dynasty. Next visit Maison Taureg House and then the old Ksar of Rissani. Continue the road to Erfoud.

►Arrive in Erfoud, the capital of fossils in mid-afternoon. Lunch in Erfoud.

►Visit Royal Palace gate; the panoramic view from the top of the Borj-Est that rises 935 metres (3067 feet) above the city; Fossil sites in Carriere des Fossiles and the Maadid Ksar.

►Erfoud is a city located in south-east Morocco. Although many ancient fortified villages have existed in the region for several centuries Erfoud was built up by the French troops after the victory of Tafilalet Battle, that took place between 1916 and 1932. Erfoud is a very active city, full of commerce, restaurants and street cafés, hotels, banks and handicraft and souvenir shops.

►While maintaining its name as a modern Moroccan Sahara Desert town, it still preserves a certain authenticity of an true Arab city with an impressively “wild” market and gorgeous surrounding landscapes filled of oases, dunes and rocky mountains.

►Erfoud is a cinema hub for many movie directors. Some well known films had several scenes shot in Erfoud, some include names as Prince of Persia 2010 by Director Dick Richards; March or Die 1977 by Director Dick Richards; The Mummy 1999 by Director Stephen Sommers.

►In the mid – afternoon take the road to the Todra Gorge. The Gorge extends from the village of Tamtatoucheto Tinerhir. The Todra, with cliffs rising dramatically up to 300m on each side of a narrow corridor, make up some of the most impressive cliffs and are by far, the highest in Morocco.

►Lunch in the Todra Gorge.

► The Todra Gorge is a spectacle with its gigantic rock walls changing color to create magical effects with the sunlight. In the morning, when the sun permeates through the bottom of the gorge, the rock changes from pink rose to deep ochre gradually throughout the rest of the day.

Dinner & Spend the night at charming Riad in Ouarzazte.

MAY 17th: OUARZAZATE DEPARTURE

►Breakfast at your Riad or Hotel in Ouarzazate.

Departure from Ouarzazate’s Airport.

For more information about Morocco Tours or attending a Moroccan Wedding

 

For more information about Travel and Tours to Morocco plus highlights on Moroccan culture visit Morocco’s Imperial CitiesSeaside Resorts,Sahara DesertBerber villagesA Taste of MoroccoMagical Kasbahs, Ruins & WaterfallsAbsolute Morocco, The Best of MarrakechFes, and Ouarzazate

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration

Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel.We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806 or 1 (917)703-2078 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

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