Monthly Archives: July 2013

Essaouira’s Jewish Heritage, Your Morocco Tour Guide

Synagogue Rabbi Pinto Ark

In the new Moroccan constitution adopted in 2011 in the context of the Arab Spring , His Majesty King Mohammed VI reaffirmed the “Hebrew distinctive characteristic” of Morocco as ” one of the age-old pieces ” of “its national identity”” and he called for “the restoration of all the Jewish temples ” in the Kingdom. In a message at the restoration ceremony of the 17th century Slat al Fassayine Synagogue in Fes, King Mohammed VI reiterated his commitment to religious freedom and spiritual diversity, and emphasized the importance of the three-thousand-year-old Jewish legacy in Morocco.

King Mohammed VI commended the institutions and individuals whose years of effort led to the restoration of Slat al Fassayine and called for the restoration of all Moroccan synagogues.  Morocco is intent on making the Judeo-Moroccan cultural heritage a priority as part of its larger domestic program to preserve the unique and historic aspects of Moroccan culture.

“As is enshrined in the Kingdom’s new Constitution,” His Majesty said, “the Hebrew heritage is indeed one of the time-honored components of our national identity. For this reason, I wish to call for the restoration of all the synagogues in the other Moroccan cities so that they may serve not only as places of worship, but also as forums for cultural dialogue and for the promotion of our cultural values.”

Essaouira Jewish Cemetery 16th Century

Essaouira is the site of an annual pilgrimage to the grave of the renowned Rabbi Chaïm Pinto,known for many miracles during his lifetime, he died 1845. His home and synagogue are preserved as an historic and religious site. It is situated in the Mellah. The hiloula of Chaïm Pinto is held in September every year and is attended by many devout jews from all over the world..

The Chaim Pinto Synagogue, is an historic site in Essaouira, Morocco, formerly known as Mogador,   and was the home and synagogue of Rabbi Chaim Pinto. Although there is no longer a Jewish community in Essaouira, the building is an active synagogue, used when pilgrims or Jewish tour groups visit the city. The synagogue is on the second floor of a three-story, courtyard building inside the walls of the old city that also contained Rabbi Pinto’s home and office. The building is of whitewashed plaster over masonry. The synagogue consists of a single large room. There are two women’s sections, one across the courtyard and one on the third floor, both with windows looking into the synagogue. The synagogue room underwent a modern renovation in line with the policy of restoring  Morocco’s Jewish synagogues announced by King Mohammed VI, concealing the ceiling and column capitals, and painting the wood of the Torah Ark and Bimah light blue. The other synagogue being renovated is Slat Attias

Synagogue Rabbi Pinto Interior

Essaouira’s mellah covers over 10 percent of the town, but Jews constituted almost 40 percent of the population in the late 1880’s. Jewish stars on the doors to the mellah show the degree to which Jews were accepted in Essaouira, to the point that some of the richer Jews did not even live in the mellah. Commemorative plaques indicate the buildings in which synagogues were located. The Jewish community formed an important link with the outside world for Morocco not only as regards trade but also in terms of art and culture. André Elbaz the painter is one of many, who lives in France but always remembers his birth place, Essaouira, and continues to exhibit there at the Contemporary Art Centre at Essaouira.

Former inhabitants of Essaouira, most of them Jewish, formed a committee to rehabilitate the town. The Jewish cemetery, just outside the city gates, is extremely well-kept.

Rabbi Haim Pinto

The cemetery  is renowned as the site of an annual pilgrimage to Rabbi Haim Pinto. Annually, on the hillula or anniversary of the rabbi’s death (26 Ellul on the Jewish calendar), Jews from around the world come on pilgrimage to the rabbi’s grave. Essaouira was founded in 1765. The oldest tombs date from 1776. These tombs carved out of marine sandstone, are interesting. Contrary to Jewish tradition and Mosaic Law, they are sculptured with very marked human forms.

A famous citizen of Essaouira, the adviser to King Mohammed VI , André Azoulay ,who is Jewish, has said that his birthplace Essaouira is, “the single place in the Arab world equipped with a population mainly Jewish until 1930, could be used today as example for the dialogue between the Jews and the Moslems throughout the world”

During the 19th century the Jewish population in Essaouira grew from 4,000 to 12,000 from 1830 to 1912, and declined to about 6500 in 1936.This is attributed to the decline of commerce and other economic activity during the French Protectorate era in Mogador in favor of Casablanca and Agadir.

The immigration trends of the 1950s and 1960s caused the Mogador Jewish community to dwindle. n the early 1970s most of its Jewish community members resided in USA,Canada, Europe and Israel. By 2005, the community had almost disappeared.

Essaouira used  to be an example of a small town in which Muslims and Jews lived side by side in both rich and poor districts, working together but socially segregated – and in peace. The rise of Essaouira as a commercial port in the 19th century because of the cotton trade and the links with major ports such as Manchester and Liverpool saw the Jewish community involved in export –import trade in Essaouira reach its zenith. It was unique because there were almost as many Jews as there were Muslims, so the term “minority” did not really apply, as it did in every other town and city in Morocco and everywhere in the Arab world.

Aside from ownership of the land in and around the town, which always remained in the hands of the caids and makhsen – local landed gentry and royal family clans – most urban-style import-export business was dominated by Jewish families.

The one exception was all artisan work connected to wood, directly linked to the vast forests around the town. From the very beginning of royal trading in the 18th century, the Corcos family dominated the import of tea leaves from Britain, which originated from its Far East colonies, and was thus responsible for making tea the traditional morning beverage in Morocco.

Essaouira’s last Jews began to leave following the Six Day War. Many of the working-class families left the mellah, the Jewish district in Arab cities, for Israel. The Kasbah’s well-off business leaders headed mostly to France and Canada. But thousands of Jews remain here, buried in two cemeteries on the edge of town, including Rabbi  Chaim Pinto. Thousands of Jews return each year to venerate his tomb and those of the many Moroccan Jewish saints and ancestors uniting them with their past and  also celebrating the future.

Many religious schools, a yeshiva, and several English-French Jewish schools were founded in Essaouira in the 1800s. In the early 20th century, the Jewish population in Essaouira was still higher than the Muslim population, and urban life was regulated by the Jewish calendar.

Essaouira’s real beginning as a import-export center came in 1760 when the sultan of Morocco appointed families from Casablanca, Marrakech and other northern cities to settle here and become official royal traders. Many if not most were Jewish. The town grew. According to Ottmani, seven of the town’s leading families in the 19th century were Muslim, while 25 were Jewish, with names such as Corcos, Afriat, Bensaoud, Cohen Solal, Belisha, Ohana, Pinto and El-Maleh.

In the beginning, these families conducted trade by ship mostly with Britain, but also handled local trade and the camel caravans coming from Timbuktu across the desert, with links to Algiers, Tunis, Tripoli, Cairo and Mecca. In modern times the caravans disappeared, but international trade focused on Europe became highly competitive.

The silver jewelry work was famous for the much sought-after filogram design, the Dag Ed Essaouiri – thin lines converge on a circular center as meticulous radii, a design that was instantly recognizable as native to Essaouira. The master silversmiths were all Jewish, as were many of the workers, who lived mostly in the mellah. Today, the remaining silver designers are Berbers, many of whom worked with the local Jews until they left. The local Arab jewelers all work in gold. Israel has been a part of the attempt to commercialize. There is an ongoing attempt to link French-speaking Jews back to their countries of origin in North Africa. In some cases, it has been successful, as French and Canadian Sephardim, and in some cases Israelis, have bought homes there.

The Essaouira Alliance Israélite Universelle School, was founded in 1765. While no longer an Alliance school, the building remains the same, with its open courtyard, narrow staircases, and rooftop view of the Atlantic ocean.

For More Information about the Essaouira’s Jewish Heritage or an Essaouira Tour 

Morocco’s Imperial CitiesSeaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber 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 (212) 618882681 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.
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Summer in Morocco: Seaside Communities Things to do in Essaouira, Agadir and Oualidia

Morocco Coastline

In Morocco in July and August when temperatures are on the high side, you can avoid the sweltering heat of the cities by heading to coastal resorts  or  the Atlas Mountain retreats where cooler breezes allow you to escape inland heat. Agadir’s  long  clean crescent beach on the Atlantic coast, offer opportunities for surfing, snorkeling,  wind surfing and  jet skiing. Most of the larger hotels and surf clubs on the beach rent out water sports equipment and surf boards and cool sea breezes keep the temperature down.

Further up the coast the ancient fishing port town  of Essaouira with its ramparts,  long idyllic beach and sea front, provides opportunities  for wind surfing and other water sports . It has a reputation for being windy but temperatures are much lower than inland which means that you can enjoy the fun of Essaouira’s colorful relaxed souks and walk the ramparts with their 17th century cannons or simply enjoy the thriving cafe life and many good restaurants. You can take a private tour to Essaouira with a Morocco travel agency which is the easiest option. Other less convenient options of travel to Essaouira is the CTM and Supratour buses offer regular daily luxury airconditioned  bus trips from Marrakech to  Essaouira return, which take three hours with a stop on the way at a roadside café. This for budget travelers and the way to travel if you do not have other transport arranged or the budget for a private Essaouira Tour.

Sidi Kaouki

Two more relaxed alternatives to Essaouira are Sidi Kaouki  some 20 kms drive from Essaouira and the alluring lagoon  and beaches at  Oualidia which is between Safi and El Jadida. Both locations are quiet and uncommercialised. Sidi Kaouki is a delightful small town with a few small hotels and an unspoilt beach which is also ideal for surfing and relaxing. The Hotel Villa Soleil, is a white villa with a garden and restaurant close to the beach. Other hotels along the beach are Hotel windy Kaouki, a traditional   Moroccan residence and Hotel Blue Kaouki.

Oualidia is becoming more popular with tourists.  The lagoon and extensive beaches were a well kept secret and a favorite of Moroccans as a seaside venue and a place to unwind, the beaches extend for miles. It is a beautiful natural beach and fishing location where surfing and swimming in the shallow waters of the lagoon can be enjoyed by all the family. It is ideal for swimming, surfing, wind-surfing or water-skiing. You can also hire a kayak and explore the lagoon or go fishing. There is a French run surfing school for children and beginners.

Oulalidia is a very important ecological location. Among the marshes and wetlands there are curlews, flamingos, sandpipers, plovers, and many other migrating species making it a paradise for bird watchers.

It  is the  main place in Morocco for oysters and you can enjoy them and the best seafood in the restaurants and small hotels along the beach. The most luxurious hotel is the luxury boutique hotel La Sultana Oualidia situated on the edge of the lagoon. It has an infinity pool ringed with jacuzzis,  whose waters seem to merge with those of the lagoon, and an exotic, terraced garden as well as a five star health spa and an underwater restaurant.

Alternatively you can drive to the Atlas Mountains to places such as the trekking town of Imlil and the Shangri la setting of the Kasbah Toubkal surrounded by mountains with outstanding views from its terrace. You can experience the life of the Berber people and the cool clear air of the mountains. Even a trip to the Ourika Valley with its bubbling streams or further up  to the seven waterfalls of Sebti Fatima which leads on to trekking in the mountains. The ski station of Oumkaimeden offers views over the Vale of Marrakech.

Other mountain locations include Midelt, Ifrane and Azrou which are high up winter stations and offer a cooler temperate climate with forests and national parks to explore.

Even when you are in Marrakech, you can find a shady spot in the eco paradise of the Majorelle Gardens owned by Yves Saint Laurent or the green palm tree lined Moulay Abdesalam  Park off Avenue Mohammed VI or the delightful  Harti Park near the Place 16 Novembre  and Macdonalds which has a children’s playing ground with two large stone dinasours.

You can take the family for the day to the Oasiria Water Park just outside Marrakech,or the Beldi Country Club 6 km outside with its adult and two children’s swimming pools, Spa  and three restaurants, set in fine gardens with roses,olive trees and flowering plants. This is also an hotel and the club serves non guests. For the seriously trendy there is Nikki Beach in the Palmeraie which has a DJ with groovy music as well as an excellent restaurant and swimming pool. Many hotels and some restaurants in Marrakech now welcome guests and nonresidents for lunch and a dip in their pool.

For More Information about the Morocco in Summer in Agadir & Essaouira 

Morocco’s Imperial CitiesSeaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber 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 (212) 618882681 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

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Souks Outside Marrakech, Your Morocco Tour Guide

Souk Amzmiz

By  visiting local souks outside Marrakech you can experience local Berber country life and absorb the character of the marketplaces where they meet each week. This is an important social occasion where local producers sell their wares including, fruit, vegetables and livestock. Merchants from Marrakech sell essentials such as: tea, coffee, sugar, packaged foods, cooking items, clothing and electronics. You can also come across carpets, jewelry and pottery generally cheaper than in Marrakech. There are many things available to buy from in Moroccan souks: henna, spices, rugs, Berber slippers and sandals, pottery, Berber djellabahs for men, dresses for women and handmade wooden kitchen utensils.

Amizmiz has the best Berber souk  in the region on a Tuesday as well as sampling the local wares, it is a good starting off point for treks in the surrounding Atlas Mountains and meeting the Berbers in their home environment for mint tea and a meal served in their homes.

Set against the majestic backdrop of the High Atlas, the picturesque village of Tahanaout attracts visitors with its landscape and attractive sturdy Berber red clay buildings.  The village which is 30 km from Marrakech is surrounded by olive groves, orange  and lemon trees. Its souk is also held on a Tuesday. Pottery making and cooking demonstrations are on offer from the inhabitants of Tahanaout,  you  can learn how to make homemade bread, makoda, couscous and other traditional regional dishes.

Terres D’Amanar

There are good opportunities for bird watching whilst strolling along the riverbanks, where you can see  Moroccan wagtail, white stork and cattle egret. You can trek to the Ouirgane, N’Fis and Ourika Valleys and the waterfalls at Setti Fatma. You can also ride donkeys or hire a 4X4 cross country vehicle. If you want to stay in Tahanaout  you can book into the Terres d’Amanar an extensive eco lodge with gardens and stunning mountain views on the outskirts of the village. The Kasbah Angour is also nearby both establishments can arrange local tours including trekking on foot or by donkey and  4×4 overland vehicles for further afield .

Other centers for weekly souks include  Tnine Hem on Monday,Sidi Ghiat on Sunday and Aghmat with its ancient ruins on Friday. Asni   also has a large market on Saturday, Ijoukak on Wednesday and  Khemis Ouirgane on Thursday. Ouirgane itself is a delightful place to spend a few days for trekking and relaxation. It is close to the Tiz N’Test pass, Mount Toubkal, Toubkal National Park and the Tassa Ouirgane National Park. This is trekking and ecotourism country at its best. It is possible to travel around by 4×4 but if you are up to it by foot, donkey or horse is best. The air is clean the mountain scenery and the Takherkhoute forests are enchanting.

One of the of the best places to stay in Ouirgane is the idyllic Domaine de la Rosaraie, set in sixty acres of  parkland with a  large garden filled with roses .

Domaine Malika is new on the scene in Ourigane and for an upscale and chic mountain experience there is none better than the Domaine Malika. .

Chez Momo is a charming auberge, Moroccan country style home overlooking the High Atlas. They are also known for the excellent cuisine and elegant dinner setting. If staying in Ourigane dining at Chez Momo is a must.

Au Sanglier Qui Fume  has been in existence since 1945. It started by catering to Foreign Legion soldiers working on the bridge and acquired its distinctive name because it was used by wild boar hunters. Its restaurant has great character including the heads of wild boar hanging from the walls. The food is a blend of French and Moroccan cuisine. It remains a classical French establishment.

The Tassa Ouirgane National Park and the Toubkal National Park provide great trekking opportunities in amongst the valleys and local Berber villages hamlets and fields with the Atlas mountains towering above them. You can visit the salt mines at Marigha. Here the Berbers have been mining salt by their traditional method unchanged for centuries. They transport the salt by donkeys and sell it locally.

For More Information about the Souks outside of Marrakech

Morocco’s Imperial CitiesSeaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber 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 (212) 618882681 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

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The Art of Yahya Rouach: Modern Elegance and the Riches of the East

Moroccan Art, Lighting by Yahya Rouach

Lamps in ornate brass covered with intricate designs thrown into relief as shadows on the wall, huge lamps hanging from the ceiling, framed wooden Arabic calligraphy and the finest metalwork hangs on the walls of Yahya Rouach’s show room in Marrakech’s modern quarter, Guéliz. It feels as if you have entered the splendors of the golden age of Islamic art with the clear precise lines of modern design. It has the western elegance and economy of style as well as the richness and exuberance of the East. There are silver nickel boxes and superb wooden creations using Arabic geometric and floral Moroccan designs and calligraphy. Elegant proportions, subtle imaginative and effective use of light, sobriety and richness of design, nobility of materials and a jeweler’s meticulous precision characterize the work of  Yahya Rouach.

He was born in London in 1972 and his father came originally from Meknes, his mother is Anglo German. He came over to Marrakech in 2005 with his wife and six children from London after an earlier visit in 2004. He was fascinated by the brass work and silver designs he saw in the souk. He began by exporting artifacts to London and started drawing and experimenting with his own designs, he was having fun and then he began to take it seriously.

Up Close Design, By Yahya Rouach

Yahya’s creations are a mixture of East and West. He was selling his work to Harrods and other outlets and night clubs in London and Nieman Marcus a US company which gave him his first substantial order that really set him up. In six weeks he ran out of stock and realised the importance of taking time to create artistic excellence, so clients were encouraged to come to him rather than the other way round. He works strictly to order due to demand.  He is entirely self taught and had no formal training. He does what he likes and each creation is entirely original. Each piece he creates from the smallest to the largest specially commissioned works of art becomes a collector’s item transcending time and fashion. He is driven by his passion for design and creative imagination.

Yahya Rouach selects young craftsmen and trains them.To produce such treasures he needs highly qualified and creative staff. The process is different from the craftsmen in the souk because their work is essentially repetitive whereas Yaha Rouach  is  drawing out the abilities of our people so that they create original work. He does not believe in pushing people beyond their limits but he encourages his  workers to extend their abilities and this works. Yahya has his workshop in Sidi Youssef with two hundred craftsmen.

The work is intricate and takes weeks and months of dedicated work to complete, hammering and chiselling the brass or nickel silver or wood with the delicate patterns that start their life on paper. Often more than one craftsman works on the design and it becomes a team effort. It is not something that can be rushed and his clients know this, so they are prepared to wait because perfection such as this cannot be mass produced to order. Yahya is well known for his metal work.  His team design and create collections that are diverse in terms of materials and style using glass, wood, stone and fabrics. From lighting and furniture through to decorative accessories and  objet d’art. He is always exploring new materials and forms of artistic expression in order to develop his style and vision.

Many royal families and important personalities in the Middle East  particularly like Yahya’s  work and he has many clients in the United States and Europe and of course Morocco, so he has an international clientele for whom we we work on private commissions. He won the contract to provide leading pieces and decoration for the Royal Mansour Hotel in Marrakech which is owned by His Majesty King Mohammed VI. Yahya does not normally work for hotels but this was special and a great honour. They gave him a completely free hand on what his team did for the project and it was a fantastic project to work on. Yahya Rouach’s  clients know his work and come to him when they want something special, of the highest quality and totally original. Each project  Yahya’s team  works on is unique and has its own special ambience.

Artistic creativity is flourishing in Morocco and Yahya Rouach does everything he can to support it. He has acted as a judge at Riad Art Expo in Marrakech and he  creates the prize called “Les Palmes de Marrakech “ for the Biennale for Contemporary   Arts in Marrakech. He encourages participants to strive for excellence, creativity, originality and quality. He reflects that Moroccan artistic creativity is endless and has an infinite variety and the craftsmen’s role is alive and well and rooted in history. It needs nurturing in turbulent times. Turkey , Iran and  conflict  torn Syria have superb craftsmen in brass, nickel silver and wood but Yahya Rouach has said that Morocco is definitely the best and Moroccan craftsmen are sort after all over the world

For More Information the Art of Yahya Rouach or Moroccan Art 

Morocco’s Imperial CitiesSeaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber 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 (212) 618882681 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

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Azemmour, Your Morocco Tour Guide

Azemmour, El Jadida

Azemmour  is a charming former Portugese  fortified town  on the  great  Oum Er-Rabia river 75 km from Casblanca and close to the  fortified  city of El Jadida  which the Portugese moved to after abandoning Azemmour in 1541. The Duke of Braganza took the town in 1513 with a force of some 500 ships and 15,000 troops. It was used as a destination for shipping goods along the river. Azemmour  is  unspoiled and a very restful destination of character in Morocco.

The views from its ramparts and walls which rise up from the river are striking. Its white Medina  and  ochre walls seen  from the three bridges that cross the river are very picturesque. The town is refreshingly calm and gives first time visitors to Morocco a good idea about the tranquil Moroccan way of life in a small town.  The old Kasbah is mostly a ruin with striking views cross the river and gardens from the rampart walls. The prominent Dar El Baroud tower is all that remains of a gunpowder store that was destroyed.

 The Moroccan built Medina is reached via Place de Souk and a 16 century gate with a European  semi circular style arch.  Azemmour had a substantial Jewish population which left in the 1960’s and the old Mellah or Jewish quarter lies in the northern part of the Medina after the Kasbah. The old synagogue is well maintained and looked after by a local family and it is possible to see inside where lies the tomb of Rabbi Abrahim Moul Nis, which is an important shrine for Jewish pilgrims and is the focus of a Mouassem each year.

The patron saint of Azemmour is Abu Shuayb Ayub Ibn Said Erredad al-Sanhaji Assariya  , who died about  1177. His mausoleum was built on the order of  Sultan Mohammed ben Abdallah. Each year a moussem is celebrated to honour him. The Azemmour festival is held each year in July.

Riads in Azemmour include  the Oum Errabia, 25 Derb Chtouka  a modern and traditional high class riad with excellent cuisine. The Dar Wabi ,Derb Daira and Riad 7, at 2, Derb Chtouka

Riad Azma  17 Derb Ben Tahar is a grand 19th-century house complete with original carved woodwork and charming rooms surrounding a lovely courtyard. The carved, painted ceilings here are some of the finest and the rooftop terrace has great views of the medina

 There is the Restaurant Panorama  with a delightful garden serving  Moroccan cuisine  and La Perle restaurant on Hauzia beach across the river from Azemmour .

Hauzia beach  has kite surfing, although the river has strong currents and care should be taken. The wetlands by the beach have a variety of bird life for bird watchers.

A visit to Azemmour  can be combined with a trip to the Portugese fortified medina of El Jadida giving the visitor a good idea of the Portugese architectural heritage and naval prowess in the sixteenth century. The Portugese presence in Morocco declined after their defeat at the battle of the three Kings  at Kasr el Kebir in the north of Morocco in 1578.

For More Information about Azzemour, El Jadida and Morocco’s Seaside Towns 

Morocco’s Imperial CitiesSeaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber 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 (212) 618882681 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

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North African & Berber Jewelry, Your Morocco Tour Guide

Jewish Woman, Berber Silver Jewelry Fes

In the nineteenth century Morocco began to receive European and American visitors who were also visiting neighboring Algeria,Tunisia and Libya. Early photographers like the Scotsman George Washington Wilson and others began to take photographs of the countryside, towns and people including posed photographs of Berber women adorned in their fine Moroccan jewelry. These photos became the first travel postcards and help to encourage early tourism and an appreciation of North African jewelry.

Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Greeks, Romans  and Jews mingled culturally with the Amazigh people . When the Arab  Islamic conquest came in the 7th Century the Berber people were assimilated along with the Jewish population under Islamic rule. The exit from Andalusia of the Moorish and Jewish populations in 1492 added another rich creative seam to Morocco’s already talented craftsmen.

Berber Silver Necklace

The Amazigh Berbers and the Jewish craftsmen permitted to work with precious metals such as gold and silver preserved a unique identity in which jewelry expressed their  social and tribal  customs particularly the use of intricate jewelry as a marriage dowry, central to their way of life and Berber traditions as were carpet weaving, woodwork , and ceramics. North African jewelry preserves the enduring creative diversity and beauty of this living artistic tradition preserved by skilled craftsmen in places such as Tiznit and Taroudant.

The jewelry includes pendants, earrings , bracelets, amber necklaces and the distinctive Berber cross and the Hand of Fatima to ward off the evil eye. The geometric patterns also reflect  tribal identity and in rural areas the jewelry is usually silver, whilst urban jewelry is sometimes made from gold with floral and arabesque designs with filigree and enameling also reflecting  ancient inherited Egyptian, Greek, Byzantine and Roman traditions. Indeed many techniques and materials from diverse locations were used by craftsmen over thousands of years. Beads and coins and amber are common in North African jewelry.

Jewish Hand of Fatima, Filagree

Some materials are believed to have protective and healing qualities and symbolic meaning. Silver is linked with honesty and purity, and when combined with certain stones it is said to heal select ailments. Red Mediterranean coral, associated with life-sustaining blood, is prized for its healing properties. It is worn to promote fertility and to prevent harm to children. Yellow amber attracts sunlight and deflects darkness.

Berber Moroccan Jewelry, Pendant

The two brothers, Patrick and Yves Guerrand Hermes have both been remarkable collectors of North African Jewelry. Patrick Guerrand Hermes, the youngest son of the founder Emile Hermes was the  owner of Villa Ain Kassimou in Marrakech . He sold the contents of this villa including an extensive North African jewelry and a large art collection, on 9 October 2009, at Sotheby’s in Paris before moving to Tangier.

This house in Marrakech is known as prestigious occupants. It was originally built for Olga Tolstoy, daughter of the great writer Leo Tolstoy, before being sold to Barbara Hutton, the wealthy American heiress, who was married five times, including Cary Grant and Prince Igor Troubetzkoy. The collection was reported to have embodied the spirit of North Africa and Morocco.

Patrick Guerrand Hermes introduced his brother Xavier Guerrand Hermes to Morocco and he bought a riad in the Medina in 2011. His extensive collection of over thirty years of North African jewelry and photographs “Desert Jewels”  were displayed at the Museum for African Art in New York and the Philadelphia Museum.

For More Information about  North African Jewelry Travel Exploration Morocco’s Guided Professional Jewelry Tours  

Morocco’s Imperial CitiesSeaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber 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 (212) 618882681 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

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Travel Exploration Morocco, Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence 2013

Trip Advisor Award of Excellence 2013

Travel Exploration Morocco Private Tours is a winner of the Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence aware for 2013. The Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence Award is a testament to Travel Exploration’s High Standards and Service provided for Morocco Private Tours and Morocco Day Tours. Travel Exploration Morocco earned exceptional traveller ratings over the past year. The Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence honors businesses that consistently earn top ratings from Trip Advisor travelers.

The Trip Advisor award which is given to the most exceptional performers in Trip Advisor’s global business community, is a significant achievement deserving recognition of both travelers and staff.  Travel Exploration Morocco is a full service travel agency with offices in New York, Marrakech and Ouarzazate. The owner of Travel Exploration is a former magazine publisher, music business executive who established Travel Exploration Morocco Private Tours to show travelers the best of Morocco.

Discover Morocco with Travel Exploration on a tailor made private tour. We offer mid-range and luxury options. You will travel to Morocco and visit Arabo Andalous architectural sites in the Imperial Cities, majestic palaces, glorious houses of worship, opulent gardens and a breathtaking Sahara desert. You will taste Moroccan hospitality in Berber Villages and enjoy exquisite cuisine and elegant accommodations. Our team of expert, licensed Multi-lingual guides and drivers will set in motion a memorable journey. As a member of the American Association of Travel Agents we take pride in our impeccable service and reputation. We donate 5% of all proceeds to Berber Villages.

For More Information about Travel Exploration Morocco’s Private Tours to Morocco

Morocco’s Imperial CitiesSeaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber 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 (212) 618882681 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

 

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Filed under Morocco Travel