Tag Archives: Fes

A New Children’s Library Opens in the Fez Medina

Fez Medina Children's Library

Fez Medina Children’s Library

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UN statistics suggest that average literacy rates in Morocco are as high as 67% (in 2011). However, this figure hides large discrepancies between males and females and between urban and rural populations. Typically, girls in Morocco are less well-educated than boys. Additionally, in rural communities or poorer areas of the medinas, parents may remove children from school at an early age to work or help the family. The Medina Children’s Library in the medieval old city of Fez aims to support children’s learning and make it fun.

Co-founder of the library, author Suzanna Clarke, says: “Houses I have visited in the Medina rarely have books beyond the Koran, and certainly none for children. Lots of children don’t continue their education past primary school and are expected to become part of the family business.”

Fez Medina, Children's Library

Fez Medina, Children’s Library

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since its opening in January 2015, the Fez Medina Children’s Library has become a big hit with local kids. On average, between 35-50 kids attend every day. In May 2015 alone, it welcomed over 1,100 children through its doors. Wafae, aged nine, explains: “Before the library was here, I only used to play in the street with my friends.” And Kawtar, five years old, added, “I come to the library because I want to read more stories. They stay with me always.” Local children are really excited to have a place to go to discover books, listen to stories and read in a welcoming and safe environment near their homes. They can also borrow books for up to a week to read at home and share with their families. Khadija, aged 13, explains: “I come to read short stories and novels in French and Arabic. I also like to take the books home to read them.”

The library has been conceived with a particular focus on younger children: pre-readers and developing readers (up to the age of 14 years old). Children in the Fez medina have ample access to TV and the internet, but children need age appropriate and culturally relevant books to fuel their learning and development as they grow. Through their own enthusiasm for reading, they can also ignite an interest in their parents, many of whom themselves are illiterate.

Children's Library, Fez Medina

Children’s Library, Fez Medina

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As well as reading, the children can come to the library to listen to stories read from books. Once a day in the week and twice daily at weekends, a volunteer reader brings the stories alive and continues a tradition of oral storytelling very familiar to the children. They sit quietly to listen and are eager to answer comprehension questions. The sessions encourage them to discover the stories contained in the books for themselves.

The librarians are locals and receive a salary for their work. Hamza, 23, is studying for a degree in English.  He got involved because “I live in the medina, I like reading and I like children.” He and fellow librarian Safae supervise the kids in the library and faithfully record their attendance and the books they borrow.

The Medina Children’s Library is managed by the Fez Association for Children of the Medina. The association’s members are volunteers committed to improving the lives of children in the Fez Medina and to bringing their own love of reading to the children of their local neighbourhood. They have great ambition to expand the library to new premises and add extras such as creative, sport and environmental activities to the library’s remit.

The library is open 10am – 7pm on weekdays and 10am – 6pm at weekends at 41 Zkak Rouah – Talaa Sghira in the Fez Medina. Further information on the library and how to contribute are available at: www.medinachildrenslibrary.org

Article References:

http://www.data.worldbank.org/indicator/SE.ADT.LITR.ZS

http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/morocco_statistics.html

Written by Lynn Sheppard 

Lynn Sheppard has lived in Essaouira, on Morocco’s Atlantic Coast for more than 2 years, supporting local non-profits, writing and becoming an expert on all things Swiri (ie. Essaouiran). She blogs at Maroc-phile.com and for other travel industry clients.

For more information about the Fez Medina’s Children’s Library or a Tour of Fes

Morocco’s Imperial Cities, Seaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villages, A Taste of Morocco, Magical Kasbahs, Ruins & Waterfalls, Absolute Morocco, The Best of Marrakech, Fes, 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 6 Best Views of Morocco, Morocco Tour Guide

Morocco is such a photogenic country. The Best Times to Travel to Morocco and discover the 6 Best Views is spring and fall. The bright, Mediterranean sunshine makes for a special light, whether you are photographing deserts, mountains, cities, dunes or coastal scenery. The colors of the natural elements, the architecture and the handicrafts such as carpets, highly polished teapots, hand-stitched and embroidered leather babouches slippers or flowing caftans make for great subjects, as do the people and animals of Morocco. It’s best to always ask before taking someone’s picture and don’t be offended if they refuse given many Moroccans are modest and private. Morocco also has several stunning vistas which you will want to snap during your trip. Here is a lowdown of where to go to capture the six best views of Morocco.

Fes Medina View

Fes Medina View

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fes

The ancient capital of Fes is such a dense, labyrinthine city that when you are in it, it is hard to imagine getting an overview of the place. To get the best view, it is necessary to climb above the hustle and bustle of street level, to get away from the jostle of the souk and rise above the walls. The best place to do this is actually outside the medina (old city) at Les Merinides Hotel. Situated on a hill overlooking the medina, this five-star hotel has three restaurants (La Kouba du Ciel on the top floor; L’Impérial French restaurant and La Terrasse de Fès at the poolside), all of which offer panoramic views of Old Fes.

Moulay Idriss View

Moulay Idriss View

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moulay Idriss

The main draw of this most holy of Moroccan cities is the mausoleum of Idriss I, the founder of the Kingdom of Morocco and credited with the introduction of Islam to this north western corner of Africa. The mausoleum occupies a large footprint in the medina, but is not accessible to non-Muslims. However, it is still worthwhile stopping at Moulay Idriss and hiking up to the highest point in the medina to look down on the huge mausoleum complex with its mosaic patios and glazed green roofs. From here, it is also possible to see the full extent of the ruins of the Roman city at Volubilis, just a few miles away.

Mosque of Koutoubia Marrakech View

Mosque of Koutoubia Marrakech View

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marrakech

The most special moment in Marrakech occurs just before dusk. Pick your spot on a roof terrace in one of the many cafes which surround Place Jmaa el Fna and watch the magic unfold. As the sun begins to set, the hawkers and street food vendors roll their mobile stalls onto the square to set up for the night. As the call to the sunset prayer sounds from the Koutoubia mosque’s minaret, the electric bulbs of the food stalls illuminate one by one, until the natural light has gone and the square is lit by hundreds of twinkling lights. Get to your chosen cafe early to secure a front-row seat and snap the sun setting behind the Koutoubia.

Portuguese Ramparts on Water, Essaouira

Portuguese Ramparts on Water, Essaouira

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Essaouira

The classic picture of Essaouira, which you will find on postcards all over town, is shot through a round window in the fortifications (skala) of the port. Entrance is 10DH and as well as great views looking back to the white-washed medina, you will get an aerial view of the functioning port and the canons lining the crenulations, as well seeing swooping seagulls and the islands out in the bay. For the best sunset views, head to the medina skala, or one of the many bars and restaurants along the beachfront, and wait for the sun to sink into the Atlantic.

Dades Valley Pins

Dades Valley Pins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dades Gorge

The best views of the stunning Dades Gorge are from the Auberge Chez Pierre, in the gorge itself. The ochre and red landscapes are an essential sight on your route to Zagora. Even if a night at Chez Pierre isn’t on your itinerary, it is worth stopping for lunch or a drink on their terrace. The hotel is built in the traditional local style amid terraces of fruit trees, offering fantastic views of the surrounding gorge.

Sahara Caravan

Sahara Caravan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Erg Chebbi Dunes

It is not always easy to get an accurate impression of the sheer size and majesty of the magnificent Erg Chebbi sand dunes. However, the Yasmina Hotel offers unbeatable views due to its sheer remoteness. It is located right on the edge of the dune complex and the slightly longer drive from all sense of civilization is worth it for the absolute peace and calm that gives visitors a true feeling of the vastness Great Sahara. The best views of the dunes are at sunrise and sunset. For this reason, you may not choose to sleep at Yasmina – many guests use it as a stopping point before heading into the dunes on camel-back for a night under the stars in tents.

This list is offers edited and subjective highlights of our favorite views. On your Morocco trip you will certainly experience many others, take many photos and create special memories for the years ahead.

For more information about the Best 6 Views and our Splendors of Morocco 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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Fes Food, Eating Well in Fes

Riad Dar Roumana, Fes

Riad Dar Roumana, Fes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fes is the culinary and cultural capital of Morocco. The city of Fes is a leader in Moroccan cuisine. The ancient traditions of Fes cuisine come alive at a variety of riads and restaurants throughout the old city of Fes. New on the scene are a wide variety of boutique riads that have opened their doors to the public and are merging traditional Fassis table cuisine with French and International flavors. Morocco Travel Specialist, Alecia Cohen, takes a look at the best places to dine and experience cuisine in Fes to tempt your pallets on a Morocco Tour.

The world famous Fes Sacred Music Festival takes place each June and Dar Roumana’s restaurant at 30 Derb el Amer Zkak, Roumane in Fes Medina is open daily offering pre-concert dinners from 6pm – 8pm Dar Roumana and they also offer a smaller menu (2 starters, 2 mains and 2 desserts) for a reduced price of 300dh for three courses or 225dh for two courses. For those not attending the festival Dar Roumana’s usual dinner service will continue as normal from 7.30pm – 9pm. It is essential to book well beforehand during this busy period. Dinner is served in the patio and on the terrace with spectacular views of the medina and includes varied delicacies such as roasted beetroot, orange, mint and feta salad, spiced roasted quail with dried fruit orzo, moroccan fishcakes with cucumber and radish ribbon salad and sweet harissa dipping sauce, baked chicken thighs with honey, hazelnut and saffron with carrot and cumin mash. Dar Roumana is run by husband and wife team Vanessa and Vincent. Vincent is a Le Cordon Bleue certified chef and serves up a great table in Fes. Vanessa and Vincent are fabulous hosts and dining at Roumana is a must when in Fes.

The garden restaurant attached to Riad Idrissy at 13 Derb Idrissi, Sieje, Sidi Ahmed Chaoui, referred to as the Ruined Garden, is set in the romantic remains of a crumbling riad which has been turned into a delightful garden, with mosaic floors, fountains and exotic foliage. Lunch is prepared using fresh produce from the souk and includes salads – such as zaalouk (smoky aubergine, tomato and paprika puree) and tfaya (chickpeas, onions, raisins and cinnamon) – and street food, cooked to order in the garden, such as sardines marinated in chermoula (garlic, paprika, cumin, olive oil and lemon juice) with a polenta batter and makuda, spiced battered potato cakes. Afternoon tea is a blend of English and Moroccan, including tea made from homegrown mint and wormwood. After 7pm, the garden is open for dinner by prior arrangement only, offering mechoui lamb (anything from a leg to a whole animal) cooked for seven hours over charcoal, Sephardic suppers and Roman banquets. The ruined garden at Riad Idrissy will operate as a festival green room – where artists, journalists and the audience can mingle between the Fes Sacred Music Festival concerts. Opening hours are between 12 noon and 9.30pm. There is also the great boon of no background music.

Another great lunch and dinner venue in Fes is Palais Amani at 12 Derb el Miter, Oued Zhoune.This imposing Art Deco former palace has superb gardens Is known for excellent high class Moroccan cuisine and you can dine in the restaurant or the patio, booking is essential.

Restaurant Numero 7 Fes, Chef in Residence

Restaurant Numero 7 Fes, Chef in Residence

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Numero 7 has a rotating Chef in residence program that uses seasonal produce sourced from the markets in Fes and nearby farms for its cuisine. Located in the heart of Moroccan gastronomy each chef in residence utilizes Numero 7 as their center stage to create a table of unique cuisine through their own interpretation. Numero 7 is owned by Stephen di Renza, a former fashion director for Neiman Marcu and Bergdoff Goodman. He divides his time between Fes and Mararkech. Di Renzi is also the creative director of the Yves Saint Laurent Majorelle Gardens in Marrakech. Numero 7 is a must dine experience for those interested in modern, creative cuisine with a Moroccan touch.

La Maison Bleue offers a classic table in Fes and reservations are also necessary at this elegant riad restaurant. The setting is intimate and romantic, with diners serenaded by an oud player (replaced by livelier Gnawa song and dance at the end of the evening). You’ll be treated to an array of cooked salads, tajines, couscous and bastilla (savoury pastries), plus filo pastry desserts.

At Dar El Ghalia, a restored 18th century palace you will find Dar Tajine, one of the best known restaurants in Fes. You can choose from set menus or à la carte: there are salads, excellent Harira, grills, fresh fish, tagines and couscous.

Chez Vittorio is in the rustic Italian restaurant angle well, right down to the candles and checked cloths. The food is good value, Go for the pizzas or steak and enjoy the wine.

Dar Anebar is a riad you can dine in fne surroundings, in the splendid courtyard, or one of the cosy salons. The menu is strictly Moroccan, but of the highest standard, and wine is available.

Palais Jamaï is a five-star hotel has a superb position overlooking the medina. There’s a French restaurant and a Moroccan restaurant. At lunch they serve a good buffet on the terrace above the pool (or in the dining room in winter): there’s the salad buffet, or the salad buffet with barbecue and dessert.

Fes is truly international and Kiotori restaurant offers sushi with a Japanese chef.

Café Clock is a restored town house and is an important and highly original cultural centre which offers a varied menu with offerings such as falafel, grilled sandwiches, some interesting vegetarian options, a substantial camel burger, and delicious cakes and tarts. It is open right through the day into the evening so you can eat whenever you want.

Fes Cafe, Jardin Des Biehn

Fes Cafe, Jardin Des Biehn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fez Café is set in a fine garden in Le Jardin des Biehn, Dinner is available both before and after and during concerts.

Le Kasbah restaurant is on several floors at Bab Bou Jeloud, and occupies a prime spot: the top floor looks out over the medina, making it a good place to relax over food. The menu is traditional Moroccan fare, tajines, couscous and grilled meat.

Fes is famed for its street food and probably the most well known establishment is Thami’s at Bou Jeloud, 50 Serrajine in the Medina. It is highly recommended by the website “The View from Fez.” They recommend Thami’s kefta tagine with egg, the melange and the fish. Fes has many such small establishments and a visit to the vegetable and spices souks will enrich your knowledge and appreciation of Moroccan daily life and the variety of its cuisine even in very simple establishments.

And for those who want the intimacy of a leafy garden, try Ryad Mabrouka as this delightful guesthouse in the warmer months is perfect for lunch, or in winter in the 1st-floor dining room overlooking the medina. Traditional fare is served in a three-course set menu, and wine is available. It’s necessary to book 24 hours in advance. 

For more information Fes Food or a Fes Tour.

For more information about the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music 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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Fes Festival of Sufi Culture and Music April 2016

Fes Sufi Festival of Culture and Music

Fes Sufi Festival of Culture and Music

Morocco’s ancient city of Fes (Fez) was Morocco’s first imperial capital. Fes was established and developed by Idris I – founder of the Kingdom of Morocco and credited with the Islamization of the country – and his son, Idris II. More than a millennium later, it remains Morocco’s spiritual heart. In some parts of the ancient medina, little has changed since mediaeval times. As such, the ancient palaces, Koranic schools and gardens make magical settings for two key festivals in the Fassi year: the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music (22-30 May 2015) and the Fes Festival of Sufi Culture (18-25 April 2015).

Sufism is typically defined as the mystical dimension of Islam and is such is often opposed by the followers of more conservative or literal Islamic philosophy. Many Sufis, however, maintain that the spiritual essence of Sufism transcends and pre-dates religions.

Sufis typically live and worship in orders or brotherhoods gathered around a Master, such as the famous Gnaoua of Morocco, or the Mevlevi Order of Turkey known for their whirling dervishes. Unlike mainstream Muslims, who believe that their communion is directly with Allah (God) through prayer with the purpose of bringing themselves closer to God in Paradise, Sufis believe that spiritual practice (such as charitable acts and self-discipline) can bring them closer to Allah in this life and that they can communicate with Him via certain practices in addition to prayer (eg song, dance, trance, whirling or others).

This practice of meditating on God through a focus, for example on repetitive beats or dancing is known as samaa. This is said to bring forth a person’s love of God and purify the soul. The aim is to reach a trance-like state of ecstasy which is hoped to lead to deeper spiritual knowledge.

The 2015 Fes Festival of Sufi Culture is the 9th edition. Under the banner “The Religion of Love”, the festival will celebrate the life and work of renowned Sufi scholar, Rumi. Jalaladdin Muhammad Rumi was a 13th century Persian poet, jurist, Islamic scholar, theologian, and Sufi mystic. He was the inspiration for the creation of the Mevlevi Order, which practices samaa through music set to Rumi’s poems and whirling. At this year’s Fes Festival, here are several round table events and performances dedicated to discussion of Rumi’s work and the Mevlevi. The Festival will also make tribute to Rabiaa al Adawiya (Rabiaa el Basri), who was an 8th century female Muslim saint and Sufi mystic from Basra, Iraq.

The Sufi Culture Festival also draws on indigenous Moroccan cultural and spiritual traditions, featuring Sufi Amazigh culture and poetry and the musical traditions of al Andalous, the Moorish Empire of the Middle Ages.

Sufism is an open, welcoming aspect of modern Islam and is more accessible in Morocco to non-Muslim audiences through Festivals, spiritual practices and the zawiyas (homes of the brotherhoods) than mainstream Islam whose mosques and cemeteries are typically closed to visitors. Whether your interest is in music, poetry, dance, religion or spiritual aspects of Sufism, the emphasis of the Sufis and of the 2015 Fes Festival of Sufi Culture on love is powerful and appealing. This year’s Fes Festival of Sufi Culture is promises to be a stimulating and inspirational event!

PROGRAM OF FESTIVAL OF SUFI CULTURE & MUSIC APRIL 2015

Saturday 18  April 16.00

Opening ceremony General introduction by Faouzi Skali followed by a musical and artistic moment. 

20.30 Concert : Mystic recital dedicated to Rabiaa al Adawiya 

Sunday 19 April10.00 Round Table and poetic readings. « Tribute to Abdelwahhab Meddeb: Sufi moments ».

16.00 Round Tables: “Is there a revival of Sufism in the Muslim world?”

20.30 Samaa of the Tariqa Boutchichiyya  Qadiriyya ( Morocco).

Monday 20 April 10.00 Round Table: ‘Persian Mystical Poetry and the Message of Love’

Hossein Gomshei Discussion led by Faouzi Skali with Hossein Gomshei, Leonard Lewisohn, and Alan Williams

16.00 Round Table: ‘Rumi and the Mevlevi: Poetry of Ecstasy and Love in Persian and Turkish’ Leonard Lewisohn, Alan Williams, and Roderick Grierson Discussion led by Faouzi Skali with Leonard Lewisohn, Alan Williams, and Roderick Grierson

20.30 Concert:  ‘Aşkın Sesi: The Voice of Love’  :  Mevlevi music for the ney:  Kudsi Erguner.

Tuesday 21 April

10.00 Round Table: ‘Rumi and the Legacy of Persian Music’ Jane Lewisohn (with recordings)

Discussion led by Faouzi Skali with Jane Lewisohn, Leonard Lewisohn, and Hossein Gomshei

16.00 Round Table: ‘“Listen to This Ney”: Music of the Mevlevi Kudsi Erguner

(with recordings and live performance) ‘Visions of the Mevlevi: Eastern and Western Depictions of Semazens’

Roderick Grierson (with illustrations) Discussion led by Roderick Grieson with Kudsi Erguner and Faouzi Skali

20.30  Samaa of the Tariqa Khalwatiyya :  Chaykh Nur Allah Fath ( Turkey).

Wednesday 22 April

10.00 Round Table: « The scriptural foundations of the Religion of the Love ».

16.00 Round Table: « Presence of  Rabiaa » .

20.30 First part : Samaa of the Tariqa Rifaiyya ( Turkey) Second part: Samaa of the  Tariqa Naqchbandiyya (Bosnia). 

Thursday 23 April 10.00 Round Table: « Sufi Amazigh culture and poetry »

16.00 Round Table: « Bards of the spiritual Love of East and West ».

20.30 Samaa of the Tariqa Charqawiyya and of the Tariqa Wazzaniyya.

Friday 24 April 10.00 Round Table: « Writings and poems about spiritual love in Morocco and Andalousia  » .

16.00 Round Table: « Culture and expressions of spiritual love in Sub-Saharan Africa  » .

20.30 First part: Samaa  of the Tariqa Siqilliyya Second part: Sufi singings of Alep: Homage to Jalaleddine Weiss

Saturday 25 April 10.00 Round Table: « Love and Futuwwa,  the path of the Spiritual Chivalry » .

20.30 Sufi Samaa and  Andalusian Music. Conferenciers Lecturers ( alphabétique order ) :

Abdelillah Arafa, Abdou Hafidi, Abdellah Ouazzani, Abdussamad Romero,

Alan Williams Bariza Khiari, Eric Geoffroy, Hossein Gomshei, Ines Safi, Jaafar Kansoussi, Jane Lewisohn, Katia et Gabrielle Legeret,  Kudsi Erguner, Lila Anvar, Leonard Lewisohn,  Michael Barry, Michel Boivin, Mounir El Kadiri, Roderick Grierson, Saad El Khiari, Saïda Bennani, Salamatou Sow, Souada Maoulainine, Suad El Hakim, Touria et Layla Iqbal, Xavier Guerrand-Hermès.

Written by Lynn Sheppard 

Lynn Sheppard has lived in Essaouira, on Morocco’s Atlantic Coast for more than 2 years, supporting local non-profits, writing and becoming an expert on all things Swiri (ie. Essaouiran). She blogs at Maroc-phile.com and for other travel industry clients.

For more information about the Fes Sufi Festival or a Fes 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.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Morocco Travel

Morocco Jewish Heritage Tours, Your Morocco Tour Guide

Star of David Essaouira

Morocco is one of the ancient intersections of civilization. Boldly situated on the far northwestern corner of Africa, Morocco’s expansive shoreline stretches from the Atlantic through the Strait of Gibraltar to the Mediterranean. The cultural diversity of contemporary Morocco reflects its historic vantage point as a gateway to Europe and the world. Morocco’s heritage offers visitors an encounter with an exotic society and its customs, an incomparable cuisine, and a shopper’s paradise of magnificent markets.

Morocco Jewish Heritage Tours offer a unique combination of Jewish History, Culture, Architecture & Gardens for the sophisticated traveler. In the northern reaches of Africa, the 2,500 year old Moroccan Jewish community has a magnificent and little-known history and culture rooted in Africa and the Muslim world. A moderate, pro-western country, Morocco offers millennia-old lessons in peaceful co-existence.

Travel Exploration has a wide range of  Jewish Heritage Tours to Morocco with varied itinerary offerings from Imperial Cities Jewish Heritage Tours to those that venture to Morocco’s great South.  Jewish Heritage Tours to Morocco are all inclusive of historic synagogues, cemeteries, architectural sites, and natural surroundings of each region along with options to attend a Jewish service or have dinner at a Rabbi’s home. Also offered are Casablanca Jewish Heritage Tours.

The Journey through the Maghreb’s most private Jewish and public heritage places is a must for American Jewish travelers. Jewish Heritage Tours of Morocco are an ideal way to discover sacred sites that have left an indelible mark on Moroccan Jewry. Expert licensed Historical guides on Morocco’s Jewish Heritage will impart history and information in great detail that tells a story of Moroccan Jewish culture and heritage.

Temple-Beth-El-Casablanca

A Snapshot of 10 Jewish Heritage Sites Visited on the Jewels of Jewish Heritage Imperial Cities Tour:

1. Jewish Mellah, Marrakech & Marrakech, Cemetery

2. Jewish Synagogue, Marrakech

3.  Ibn Danon Synagogue, Fes

4. Jewish Mellah, Fes

5. Jewish Cemetery

6. Tomb of Solica, Fes

7. Maimonides, Fes

8. Old City of Jewish Seffrou, Fes Region

9. Beth- El Synagogue, Casablanca

10. Jewish Musuem, Casablanca

For More Information about Morocco Jewish Heritage 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.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Morocco Tour

Getting to know Morocco for the first time, Your Morocco Tour Guide

Marrakech Gnaoua Musician

Marrakech Gnaoua Musician

Morocco has a diverse and vibrant culture close to Europe just 13 km from the coast of Spain yet with growing ties with the Middle East where the oil rich Gulf countries are investing substantially in Morocco’s tourism industry.

Morocco also has close contacts with Africa. It is at the crossroads of many cultures absorbing  the  commercial dynamism of the West  in building its growing  tourism industry with  enhanced infrastructure such as  auto routes , trains, airports and ports whilst maintaining its  ancient traditions and  Arab and Berber culture. It still has an aura of ancient oriental mystery and originality whilst also being highly accessible and attractive to tourists.

Tourism has more than doubled since 2002, to nearly 10 million visitors in 2011.  Under the Vision 2020 Plan King Mohammed VI wants to increase the annual visitor numbers to 18 million by 2020. It is the only country in North Africa to have successfully maintained its tourism industry in the face of the global recession.

Morocco is a stable and peaceful country . It is the only country in North Africa to have enacted a new constitution in response to the  Arab Spring and King Mohammed VI remains central to the lives of his subjects.  It is important for tourists to respect Morocco’s traditions and culture.

Morocco is a Muslim country committed to allowing other religions to practice their religion freely , particularly Christianity and Judaism which are recognized as  religions of the book, to practice their religion freely. Morocco is a conservative society but its people are very welcoming, friendly and easy going. During Ramadan whilst you can always have a meal in restaurants in the tourist cities it is best not to eat and drink in public during day light hours as muslims cannot eat or drink or smoke until they break the fast when the sun goes down.

Moroccan men treat their café is their local club where they meet socialize and discuss business while drinking coffee or mint tea and watching the world pass by. If you buy pastries or cakes in a bakery it is ok to eat them in the café at no extra charge.

Moroccan Royal Couscous

Moroccan cuisine is renowned for its delicacy and abundance with traditional tangines, couscous, mechoui (lamb) salads and desserts and an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables. In the main cities there are also French and european cuisines available, a multiple choice is available.

Most Mosques are closed to non believers however you can visit the impressive Hassan II mosque in Casablanca, the Berber mosque at Tin Mel outside Marrakech on the way to Ouarzazate, the former Islamic college the Medersa Ben Youssef in the Marrakech Medina and  the old Medersas in Fés Bali, the Bou Inania  and the El Attarine . These sites will give you some idea of the glories of Moroccan Islamic architecture.

Most Moroccans in the cities speak French as well as Arabic or the Moroccan dialect Darija. The French Protectorate was established in Morocco in 1912 and lasted until 1956.  French remains the language of business whereas Darija is spoken in the street and at home, Darija itself is a mixture of languages including French words and Moroccans happily switch from one language to another in conversation. Spanish is spoken in the north and south as there was also a Spanish protectorate. However there has been a marked increase in the number of young people speaking english as it is taught in schools. Those working in tourism will probably speak good english and the business centers of Casablanca and Tangiers  also has more english speakers.

On a first trip to Morocco it is important not to try to do too much in a limited amount of time. The ancient  Medinas  of Fes el Bali of Marrakech can be combined by other nearby locations in the case of Fes, the imperial city of Meknes and the ancient  roman ruins of Volubilis, or in the case of Marrakech, the nearby  fishing port and beach resort of Essaouira, no hassle and cheaper than Marrakech it is just  two hours drive away, Agadir can be combined with the Sous Draa valley with its Kasbahs  or the desert town of Ouarzazate. Further South  you can visit the desert at Merzouga and the Erg Chebbi sand dunes. Tangier can be combined with  trips to Tetouan and Chefchaouen Morocco’s blue and white town and the Rif mountains.

There is an infinite choice which is a tribute to Morocco’s development of its tourism industry and you should try to plan your trip with your travel agent.  On your first visit it is best  to avoid driving hire cars yourself as Moroccan traffic is very different from driving in Europe or  America. A car or 4X4  with a good Moroccan  driver is a better  bet or  you can  travel on Morocco’s ONCF railways  in first class airconditioned carriages.

Many tourists like to stay in small guest houses called Riads to be close to the ancient Medina which have been restored by local  berber craftsmen . Roof top views offer an insight in to the life of the Medina.

In Marrakech,  Vanessa Branson’s Riad El Fenn has prime views of the Koutoubia Mosque minaret lit up at night with a laser beam nearby , whilst  five-star La Sultana overlooks the Atlas Mountains.

Palais Faraj, Fes

Palais Faraj, Fes

In Fes  three riads are Dar Roumana, a traditional restored Anadlusian palace style Riad with library and Chef that specializes in Moroccan cuisine, Dar Roumana is well-located in the central medina, Riad Maison Bleue and Riad Fes are other luxury guesthouses comprising e beautifully restored riads. They both have a pool and Spa.

Others prefer  the many fine hotels in the modern part of town many of them from well known international hotel  with restaurants,  swimming pool and gym and there are a number in most cities. The choice is yours. The Accor group has Sofitel properties located in Casablanca, Fes and Marrakech, there is a Four Seasons in Marrakech and a new, modern boutique hotel in Fes called Palais Faraj.

When visiting the souks in Marrakech and Fes  for the first time you can pay an official tourism  guide from the government  ONMT tourist office who can help fend of hustlers and take you to shops of interest, although he may take a commission from the shop which will be added to the price you pay. You may want to memorise the Arabic phrase “La Shukran” , No thank you.

After the first visit when you know your way around in the souk and the maze of the medinas of Fes and Marrakech you can enjoy the adventure but be sure to keep to the side of the narrow streets and derbs, as the narrow alley ways are called, to avoid motor scooters and donkey carts who may cry “andak!” which means watch out.

For More Information about a Morocco Tour or traveling to Morocco for the first time. 

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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Sefrou Cherry Festival in June, Tour Morocco Tour Guide

Seffrou Cherry Festival

The June 2013 Sefrou Cherry Festival in Morocco, which celebrates the annual harvest, is the 93rd in its history and the first since its inclusion as part of the UNESCO immaterial cultural patrimony. The first Cherry festival held in Sefrou was In 1918. A cherry queen is crowned as a climax to street events and musical concerts. There will be exhibitions by cooperatives in the region to boost the local economy.

Sefrou is a small ancient walled city, less than an hour’s drive from Fes in the Fes-Bouelmane region of the Middle Atlas Mountains. It ‘s simple white houses pre-date the 8th Century architecture of Fes. The Oued Aggal , a seasonal river divides the city in half, with small bridges a good 10 meters above the river to allow people but not cars to pass. The city is built on high ground to avoid the raging torrents.

Sefrou, south of Fes, was once known as Little Jerusalem due to its high percentage of Jews and its well-developed religious life. Sefrou’s mellah makes up half of the old city.

The mountainous terrain is ideal for cherry trees, flowering in spring, with abundant cherries in summer. The festival is a very colorful occasion featuring music, dancing a fairground and supporting events. The event reaches it climax with the crowning of the Cherry Queen. Sefrou is perfect for a day trip from Fes, and your riad or travel agent can arrange a trip to the festival which occurs each year in June.

For More Information on the Seffrou Cherry Festival or Seffrou Excursion from Fes

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Morocco Travel