Posts Tagged ‘Essaouira’

Hiking in Morocco, Morocco’s Best Kept Secret Treks

Monday, June 29th, 2015
Ait Ashok, Ourika Valley Morocco

Ait Ashok, Ourika Valley Morocco

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some of Morocco’s Best Kept Secret Valleys and Seacoast Regions for Hiking are location in the provinces of Essaouira, Azilal, Al Haouz, Ifrane, Ourika and Chefchaouen. With its diversity of geography and landscapes, Morocco offers plenty of opportunities to hike and trek. And even less experienced walkers need not miss out on the stunning coastal views, mountain panoramas and picturesque river valleys – there are many shorter or less challenging walks as well as the opportunity to trek on mule, camel or horseback. Here are five of Morocco’s best-kept scenic hiking destinations.

Cap-Sim, Essaouira (Photograph by Lynn Sheppard)

Cap-Sim, Essaouira (Photograph by Lynn Sheppard)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Essaouira Province

A longer stay in Essaouira offers the chance to get out of the medina and explore the surrounding countryside. The Cap Sim promontory, south of Essaouira and between the medina and the small seaside town of Sidi Kaouki, is reachable along the broad sandy beach when the tide is out. Given the prevailing trade winds from north to south, it is advisable to start in Essaouira and either organize a ride back from Cap Sim or the nearby village of Sidi Ouassane (beyond the lighthouse and home to a large wind farm) or continue to Sidi Kaouki (around 20km/12 miles along the beach from Essaouira) and pick up transport there, rather than turn back into the wind. Cap Sim can also be reached overland from the village of Ghazoua (8km/5 miles south of Essaouira). Walkers will be rewarded with views of deserted beaches, rock pools and caves and the occasional herd of goats grazing on the vegetation which clings to the windswept dunes and cliffs. The panorama is particularly attractive at sunset.

Ait-Bougemez, Happy-Valley

Ait-Bougemez, Happy-Valley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Azilal Province

Beyond the city of Azilal, the Provincial capital, a road – only paved since 2001 – climbs up to Morocco’s so-called “Happy Valley” at Ait Bougemez. Remote and apparently untouched by many aspects of modern life, it is like a Moroccan Shangri-La. The Ait Bougemez Valley itself is a plateau in the High Atlas Mountains offering plenty of walks alongside babbling brooks where women wash their clothes, beside verdant green fields and under ancient walnut trees on the outskirts of small villages. Two cone-shaped peaks rise from the valley floor, one of which is home to the communal granary (agadir) of Sidi Moussa. It is a short, steep hike up to the granary, where a caretaker will happily show visitors around a small museum inside and up to the roof for the stunning views. For the more energetic, Ait Bougemez benefits from its proximity to M’Goun (Morocco’s 2nd highest peak after Mount Toubkal at 4,071m/13,350 ft) and its surrounding massif.

Al Haouz Province

Accessible on a day trip from Marrakech, the Ourika Valley is a very popular destination among Moroccans and tourists alike. Typically, day trippers visit the town of Setti Fatma in the valley to eat in a riverside restaurant and hike up to the seven waterfalls, which are easily reached with sturdy shoes via a combination of steps and scrambling over rocks. However, in the peak season this small town becomes overwhelmed with visitors. For those wishing to get off the beaten track and experience a more peaceful hike, Ait Ashok is a recommended destination. Hikers in the Ait Ashok area walk among fruit tree orchards fed by bountiful water flowing off the High Atlas Mountains and between small farming villages. In Spring, when the wind scatters the fruit blossom like snow, a trek is particularly pleasant. Later in the year, hikers can see the harvests of walnuts, almonds, apples and other fruits.

Ifrane Province

The area around Ifrane, in the Middle Atlas Mountain range, is known as the Switzerland of Morocco, due to its altitude which results in snow and skiing in winter. The protected area of the Ifrane National Park covers an area of 500 km² (193 sq. mi) and although the last Atlas Lions are long gone, it is one of the last remaining habitats of the Barbary Macaque monkey. Hikers in this region walk among huge forests of Atlas Cedar, where the birdlife is unparalleled. Ornithologists can expect to see birds of prey such as the red kits and common kestrel and the lakes in the park also support several duck species.

Talassemtane National Park

Talassemtane National Park

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chefchaouen Province

In the North of Morocco, in the foothills of the Rif Mountains and near the Mediterranean Coast, the area around the famous blue city of Chefchaouen is protected under the auspices of the Talassemtane National Park. The park covers some 145,000 hectares (358,000 acres). Hikers can either organize day hikes from Chefchaouen or undertake longer trekking excursions, staying within the park itself in a number of guest houses or in tents. The local environment is home to Rif Monkeys as well as countless native bird varieties and plant species, many of which are endangered. A popular destination for a day hike is the Akchour Falls and/or the Bridge of God. As long as the river is not in flood, various paths take walkers along the river banks and over a couple of hills. Routes can be selected according to fitness level and desired length of hike and in the peak season there are cafes on route where the weary can rest and enjoy a riverside tajine. The easiest hike is to God’s Bridge, a steep gorge at the base of which the river flows and which is spanned by a wooden bridge.

No matter your fitness level, Morocco’s diverse countryside of coasts, mountains and valleys is easily accessible and enjoyable. Hikes and walks of varying durations and challenge level can be arranged in many regions. It really is worth getting out of the cities to enjoy Morocco’s beautiful nature, stunning vistas and perhaps the hospitality of a rural Berber family along your route.

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 Hiking in Morocco within the Essaouira Region

For more information about Hiking in Morocco within the Chefchaouen Region

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.

Hindi Zahra Rocks the Essaouira Gnaoua Festival

Sunday, May 17th, 2015
Hindi Zahra, Gnaoua Festival 2015, By Lynn Sheppard

Hindi Zahra, Gnaoua Festival 2015, By Lynn Sheppard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 18th Annual Gnaoua Music Festival took place in Essaouira, on Morocco’s Atlantic Coast from May 14th -17th. Every year, the festival showcases the best of Moroccan Gnaoua musicians and a wide array of Gnaoua and world music. Gnaoua is a musical genre based in Sufi Islamic culture with its roots in sub-Saharan Africa. Moroccan and international artists are also invited to perform, often, in unique fusion concerts alongside Gnaoua groups. One of the most anticipated World Music acts at this year’s festival was Hindi Zahra, a Moroccan-born vocalist who played Essaouira for the first time.

Born in Morocco in 1979, Hindi Zahra (her stage name is an inversion of her real name) released her first album, Handmade, in 2010 to critical acclaim, winning various awards in France, where she has been based since 1993. Hindi Zahra sings principally in the unusual combination of the Berber language of Morocco and in English. In contrast to her Moroccan linguistic heritage, her musical heritage is an international mélange of folk, rock, jazz, soul and blues, as well as African, Spanish and Latin influences. The timbre of her voice and the fluidity of her movement reveal her North African roots.

Hindi Zahra, 18th Annual Gnaoua Festival, by Lynn Sheppard

Hindi Zahra, 18th Annual Gnaoua Festival, by Lynn Sheppard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Essaouira, the audience was treated to an early release of tracks from Hindi’s new album, Homeland, released in April 2015, as well as some popular favourites from her back catalogue. She strutted on stage, channelling a rock goddess persona, to open with To The Forces, a song, which celebrates the mountain Berbers of Morocco, strong and proud, living at one with nature, despite conditions of extreme poverty. The song is the opening track from Homeland, an album that was largely written in Marrakech, at the end of the promotional tour for Handmade. At this time, Hindi says, she was exhausted after 400 gigs in 2.5 years. She shut herself in a traditional riad (townhouse) with only an internet connection and her own creativity. The result is Homeland, an album conceived in and inspired by Morocco.

After a night of powerful funk, fusion, jazz and Gnaoua music from the likes of Gnaoua rock star, Maalem Omar Hayat and Nigerian Afro Beat drummer, Tony Allen, Hindi Zahra had a challenge ahead of her to maintain the energy of the night’s concerts and capture the attention of the Essaouira audience. She not only held her own, she rocked the main stage. Her lilting voice recalls Joni Mitchell or Norah Jones, but these comparisons belie her rock star presence, which is far larger than her petite frame would suggest. The locals were enthused by her Berber lyrics and she was clearly excited to be finally playing at Essaouira with such a wealth of new material.

The appeal of Hindi Zahra is in the way she embodies both fragility and strength and in the sheer diversity of her songs, which she writes herself. Her voice and her energy transform themselves effortlessly from the Latin rhythms of her big hit from her first album, Beautiful Tango, through the jazzy tones of Imik Si Mik from the same album and sung mainly in Berber, to Stand Up (from Homeland), which in Essaouira she performed to a ska/reggae arrangement with Mehdi Nassouli of Agadir. In Any Story, from the new album, Hindi Zahra’s voice haunts with a mystery that suggests an artist more experienced and accomplished than her years.

Hindi Zahra’s albums are available to download on I-tunes and on her website directly.

A Video for Hindi Zahra’s new album, “Any Story” shot in Theatre Royal Marrakech and Legzira Beach, Morocco.

YouTube Preview Image

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 Essaouira Gnaoua Festival

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.

 

Remembering Jewish Essaouira, Heritage Sites & Synagogues

Thursday, May 7th, 2015
Muslims & Jews in Essaouira, Praying for Rain

Muslims & Jews in Essaouira, Praying for Rain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Essaouira owes much of its past, present and future to its situation on a bay sheltered from the fierce trade winds of the Atlantic Ocean by an archipelago of small, rocky islands. Towards the end of the 18th century, Sultan Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdullah (Mohammed III) created a strategic role for Essaouira in his new trade policy oriented towards the Atlantic. He instructed the construction of the Kasbah (King’s Quarters) and the Skala fortifications which became the basis for the medina (old city) we see today. He ordered the closure of Agadir harbor, further south, and effectively routed a large amount of trade between Europe and West and Central Africa through his new port. The Sultan was the first Head of State to recognize US Independence in 1776, thereby creating a strategic linkage in support of his trade objectives in Morocco.

In order to ensure the success of his strategy, Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdullah invited 10 prominent Jewish families from the key commercial centers of Morocco to settle in what was known then as Mogador and manage the trade. These families were largely the descendents of those expelled from Andalusia at the end of the 15th century and had gained a strong reputation for their skills as merchants. They became the “Tujjar as-Sultan“, the Sultan’s traders. These families – and many foreign consuls and negociants – settled in the newly-built houses of the Kasbah, which featured typical Swiri architecture of rooms set around a colonnaded interior patio, the latter often large enough to accommodate merchandise. Such buildings can be seen in the area near Bab el Minzeh and Bab Sbaa and along Rue Laalouj, where the French Institute and Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdullah Museum are excellent examples.

Chaim Pinto, Jewish Synagogue Essaouira

Chaim Pinto, Jewish Synagogue Essaouira

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By the start of the 19th century, the population of Essaouira was majority Jewish. There were as many as 40 synagogues. Some, like the Simon Attia synagogue were the private synagogues of a large family, while others, such as the Slat Lkahal, were community centers of worship. As the affluence of the city grew, it attracted many migrants from the rural areas, seeking economic opportunities. The Mellah, a typical feature of a Moroccan city and a principally Jewish neighborhood, was built to house these families. Essaouira also had a Mellah Kdim, the “old Mellah”, which was an extension of the Kasbah and housed the Jewish middle classes. Mogador was unique in Morocco in that Jews, Muslims and Christians – those of Jewish, Berber, African, European and Arabic descent – lived side-by-side. There was a fruitful exchange at all levels of society, from artisans like silversmiths passing on their trade, to the interchange of intellectual and musical influences such as seen in the Andalusian music which continued to be taught and performed in Mogador long after the flight of Jews and Muslims from the Iberian Peninsula.

Jewish Cemetery, Essaouira

Jewish Cemetery, Essaouira

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today, there are a number of Jewish sites which can be visited and/or are under renovation in Essaouira. Essaouira’s two Jewish cemeteries are open to visitors by calling the number of the guardian posted on the door. The older of the two is only separated from the sea by a wall and is regularly inundated. It features the mausoleum of Rabbi Haim Pinto (1748–1845), which is the subject of a hilloula (pilgrimage) every Fall. The graves are often laid on top of each other and the inscriptions are no longer legible. All that remains are circular or triangular symbols indicating whether the occupant was male or female.

The ‘new’ Jewish cemetery, across the street, was opened in the 18th century to accommodate the growing population. It is the final resting place of a number of rabbis, intellectuals and musicians as well as many of the ‘ordinary’ residents of Essaouira-Mogador. The cemetery tells the stories of many great families of Mogador such as the Corcos, the most famous of the original ‘Sultan’s merchants’ and the Yuly and Levy families – some of whom are certainly ancestors of the first Jewish US senator, David Levy Yulee.

The guardian of the cemeteries can also grant access to the Haim Pinto synagogue, just back inside the medina at Bab Doukkala, in the Mellah. The neighborhood is part of an urban clearance program and the synagogue, although thoroughly renovated inside, sits in a precarious position surrounded by crumbling and decaying buildings, the former homes of Jewish families.

Slat Synagogue, Essaouira Restoration Project

Slat Synagogue, Essaouira Restoration Project

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just a few doors along, back towards the central medina, is Slat Lkahal, a community synagogue currently under painstaking renovation by Haim Bitton, helped by the generous donations of members of former Mogador Jews. Those who are lucky to meet him there will learn of the intricate connections between Jewish communities in Manchester, London, Italy and Mogador. So far, he has managed to rescue key elements of the original synagogue from demolition and is carefully restoring them using local artisans. He hopes to turn rooms on the upper floor into exhibition and meeting spaces.

Back in the Kasbah, the Simon Attia synagogue is the subject of an ambitious restoration program. Once also the Rabbinical Court of Mogador, the aim is to restore the space used for worship on the ground floor and create a library of documents related to Moroccan Judaism alongside accommodation for students of these works upstairs.

Most of Essaouira’s synagogues are long gone. Few have actually been demolished, but most have passed into alternative uses and only the older members of the Mogador Jewish diaspora recall their location. There are still plenty of clues to the size of the former Jewish population of Essaouira, however. A wander around the labyrinthine alleyways of the Mellah or Kasbah will reveal several doorways with the Star of David on the lintel and a conversation with any of Essaouira’s older residents will reveal the proximity and goodwill of the Muslim and Jewish communities in times gone by.

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 Essaouira Jewish Heritage Sites or an Essaouira Jewish Heritage Tour

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.

Essaouira’s 18th Annual Gnaoua Music Festival May 2015

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015
Essaouira 18th Annual Gnaoua Festival, May 2015

Essaouira 18th Annual Gnaoua Festival, May 2015

 

 

 

 

Every year, the sun-bleached, windswept city of Essaouira on Morocco’s Atlantic coast plays host to a festival of Gnaoua and World Music. Normally it is held in June, but this year’s 18th edition will take place – like many of the main Moroccan music festivals – in May, to avoid a clash with the holy month of Ramadan. The dates for this year’s event are 14-17 May 2015.

The principal feature of the festival is the celebration of Gnaoua music and rituals. The Gnaoua movement is a form of Islamic Sufism. The roots of Gnaoua (or Gnawa) lie in sub-Saharan Africa and reflect pre-Islamic traditions. Successive Moorish sultans brought African slaves to Morocco and their traditions became integrated into Islamic Sufism.

Gnaoui (as practioners are known), like other Sufis, are organized into brotherhoods gathered around a Master, or maalem. These brotherhoods are based in a zawiya – a center of religious teaching, healing and practice found in towns and cities across Morocco. Sufis are known for their communion with God (Allah) through rituals such as music or dancing based on repetitive rhythms, known as samaa. The gnaoua hold spiritual events known as a lila, where the objective is for participants to reach a trance-like state of ecstasy to reach deeper spiritual knowledge. The lila rhythms and rituals are said to call up ancestral spirits to drive out evil and cure ills.

A typical instrument of the gnaoua is the gimbri, a three stringed bass lute covered in camel skin. The skin creates a deep reverberation, creating the soul-stirring basis of gnaoua music. The maalem typically plays the gimbri seated, singing the verse of a song (typically praising Allah or venerating a gnaoua saint). A chorus line of young adherents respond to his call while playing a percussive rhythm on the krakeb, iron castanets said to echo the sound of the slaves’ chains. As their clackety-clack beats hasten, the rhythm reaches a crescendo and Gnaoui may enter a trace or break ranks to demonstrate acrobatic dancing and whirling.

At the Gnaoua Festival in Essaouira, the audience has an opportunity to see both the brightly-colored, energetic spectacle of Gnaoua groups performing on large open-air stages (on Place Moulay Hassan and near the beach) as well as at more intimate concerts which simulate some of the atmosphere of a lila in smaller venues such as Dar Souiri or a zawiya. The best venue for the late night, smaller, concerts is the Borj Bab Marrakech. Lying on rugs and cushions under the stars, within earshot of the waves crashing on the beach and with seagulls calling and swooping overhead, a special atmosphere is created for some of the best known artists on the program.

As well as offering the opportunity to see the best of local Swiri gnaoua maalems and their groups, such as Tyour Gnaoua with Maalem Abdeslam Alikane, brothers Maalem Mokhtar and Maalem Mahmoud Guinea or Gnaoua rockstar Omar Hayat, the festival also an insight into the full diversity of Moroccan Sufi music – such as the more traditional and contemplative style of the Hmadcha of Essaouira; the drum-led beats of the Issaoua brotherhood from Fes, or the modern fusion style of Maalem Hamid el Kasri from Rabat.

The festival program is interspersed with performances by international artists. At the end of each evening on the main stage is the highlight – a fusion concert between one of these invited musicians and a Moroccan Sufi group. These spectacles are remarkable not only in their combination of musical genres and traditions, but also in the collaboration between artists of very different spiritual, religious and cultural traditions.

Invited guests this year include Afrobeat veteran, Nigerian drummer Tony Allen; Guadeloupian percussionist, Sonny Troupé; the latter’s sometime collaborator, US jazz saxophonist and flautist Kenny Garrett, and long-standing Gnaoua Festival supporter and collaborator, Franco-Algerian drummer Karim Ziad.

Those seeking a sample of Morocco’s diverse modern music scene, will want to catch Darga, a band from Casablanca playing a fusion of gnaoua, traditional and Western styles on the beach stage or Hindi Zahra, who has been compared to Norah Jones and Patti Smith, on the main stage.

The Festival opens with a spectacular parade of giant marionettes and all the participating Sufi groups on the Thursday afternoon. Seek out a position early on the main street through the medina from Bab Doukkala and get your camera in position!

Alongside the main concert program are also events such as the Forum – a seminar series, this year about African Women – and the Arbre à Palabre discussions held at the French Institute. This year there will be a smaller stage with afternoon concerts at Bab el Minzeh near the port. The open air concerts (on Place Moulay Hassan, at Bab el Minzeh and at the beach) are all free, although they can get crowded at night. VIP passes for an enclosed area near the stage can be purchased on site. The intimate concerts are ticketed (for example, concerts on the roof of the Borj Bab Marrakech at 250 dirhams) and places are limited.

Essaouira’s range of festivals throughout the year (such as the Alizés Festival in April and the Andalusian Festival in the Fall) highlight the melting pot of musical and cultural influences that is Morocco, but the Gnaoua World Music Festival is unparalleled in its showcasing of gnaoua music in its original form as well as in fusion with a range of world music styles. If you are in Morocco this May, don’t miss it!

ESSAOUIRA 18TH ANNUAL GNAOUA FESTIVAL PROGRAM

THURSDAY, MAY 14TH:
PLACE MOULAY HASSAN
OPENING CONCERT RÉSIDENCE HUMAYUN KHAN AND MAÂLEM HAMID EL KASRI
CONCERT MAÂLEM MOKHTAR GUINEA
CONCERT MIKKEL NORDSØ BAND AND MAÂLEM MUSTAPHA BAQBOU
CONCERT MAÂLEM ABDELKEBIR MERCHANE

DAR SOUIRI
INTIMATE CONCERTS HMADCHA D’ESSAOUIRA
TE CONCERTS MAÂLEM ABDENBI EL GUEDARI

ZAOUIA ISSAOUA
INTIMATE CONCERTS MAÂLEM ABDELLAH AKHARAZ AND MAÂLEM SAID EL BOURKI

FRIDAY, MAY 15TH

PLACE EL MINZEH
CONCERT GANGA D’AGADIR AND ISSAOUA D’ESSAOUIRA

ARBRE À PALABRE
ARBRE À PALABRE

PLACE MOULAY HASSAN
CONCERT SONNY TROUPÉ
CONCERT MAÂLEM OMAR HAYAT

FUSION SONNY TROUPÉ AND MAÂLEM OMAR HAYAT

CONCERT TONY ALLEN

FUSION TONY ALLEN AND MAÂLEM MOHAMED KOUYOU
CONCERT HINDI ZAHRA

 

LA SCÈNE DE LA PLAGE

JAUK, LE GNAOUI BLANC ET MAÂLEM AZIZ BAQBOU JAUK, LE GNAOUI BLANC AND MAÂLEM AZIZ BAQBOU

CONCERT MAÂLEM FATHALLAH CHAOUKI

CONCERT DARGA
FUSION MIKKEL NORDSØ BAND AND MAÂLEM MUSTAPHA BAQBOU

BORJ BAB MARRAKECH

INTIMATE CONCERTS TIMBUKTU

INTIMATE CONCERTS MAÂLEM ABDELKEBIR MERCHANE

ZAOUIA ISSAOUA

INTIMATE CONCERTS MAÂLEM ALLAL SOUDANI AND MAÂLEM RACHID BENTAIR

SATURDAY, MAY 16TH

PLACE EL MINZEH
FORUM “L’AFRIQUE À VENIR
CONCERT HMADCHA D’ESSAOUIRA AND ISSAOUA D’ESSAOUIRA

ARBRE À PALABRE

PLACE MOULAY HASSAN
CONCERT MAÂLEM HASSAN BOUSSOU
CONCERT KENNY GARRETT
FUSION KENNY GARRETT AND MAÂLEM HASSAN BOUSSOU
CONCERT LES AMBASSADEURS

CONCERT AZIZ SAHMAOUI

LA SCÈNE DE LA PLAGE
CONCERT DIAPA ZONE
CONCERT BARRY
CONCERT MEHDI NASSOULI
CONCERT HUMAYUN KHAN AND MÂALEM HAMID EL KASRI

BORJ BAB MARRAKECH
INTIMATE CONCERTS ISSAOUA DE FÈS
INTIMATE CONCERTS MARIFAT SUFI BAND

DAR SOUIRI

INTIMATE CONCERTS ISSAOUA D’ESSAOUIRA

INTIMATE CONCERTS MAALEM LOTFI BENALI

ZAOUIA ISSAOUA

NTIMATE CONCERTS MAÂLEM ABDELLATIF EL MAKHZOUMI AND MAÂLEM MOHAMED QAQA

INTIMATE CONCERTS MAÂLEM ABDELLATIF EL MAKHZOUMI AND MAÂLEM MOHAMED QAQA

SUNDAY, MAY 17TH:

PLACE MOULAY HASSAN
CONCERT DE CLÔTURE KARIM ZIAD AND MAÂLEM MAHMOUD GUINEA

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 Essaouira’s 18th Annual Gnaoua Festival or an Essaouira Tour

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.

 

The 6 Best Views of Morocco, Morocco Tour Guide

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

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.

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 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.

Morocco Jewish Heritage Tours, Your Morocco Tour Guide

Thursday, December 26th, 2013

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.

 

 

 

Essaouira has it all, Your Morocco Tour Guide

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

Essaouira, Medina Entrance

Essaouira has it all! Ramparts and cannons looking out to sea, a maze of alley ways and souks selling artifacts, carpets and jewellry , the best handicrafts that  Morocco has to offer, art galleries and museums ,excellent restaurants, riads and hotels to suit every budget a mysterious island with a deserted mosque and abandoned settlement, a thriving fishing port, a long beach with a collapsed fort. Essaouira is the perfect seaside destination for single travelers or family holidays.

Essaouira Port

In the 18th century Sultan Mohammed III directed a French engineer, Théodore Cornut, and several other European architects and technicians to build the fortress and city blending Moorish and European designs of the period. There is a martello tower which was a revolutionay design at the time. Originally called “Souira” (“the small fortress”), the name became “Es-Saouira” (“the beautifully designed”) which is especially apt. The  imposing gate to the harbour was built by an English renegade “Ahmed the English.” Thus the town has its own special magic and attracted the famous film director and actor Orson Welles who filmed his renowned version of  Shakespeare’s Othello here in the early 1950’s using the ramparts and medina streets to great effect. Essaouira also had a hippy period when Jimi Hendrix and many others gathered  here.

Art in Essaouira

The development of Essaouira into Morocco’s premier seaside destination owes a great deal to André Azoulay a native of the town and the Adviser to King Mohammed VI .Essaouira is now a cultural centre for the arts with  a number of galleries featuring contemporary Moroccan  artists and it is a great opportunity to view and buy  their work which is becoming internationally famous. The  Frederic Damgaard gallery is the best and oldest in town and features the work of local artists.

Essaouira’s beautifully refurbished  Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdallah Museum is in an old riad and has a small but interesting collection of jewellry, costumes, weapons, musical instruments and carpets fom the region. There’s a section explaining the signs and symbols used by local craftsmen and photographs of Essaouira at the turn of the century.

Essaouira is famous for its wooden artifacts,bowls,intricately designed boxes and cabinets in workshops in the Skalla de Ville just under the ramparts. Other finds  in the souks are carpets and kelims and jewellry  shops near Avenue Istiqlal  where you can find berber jewellry and items in gold.

Down by the harbour, the Skala du Port has cannons and picturesque views over the fishing port and the Île de Mogador. The small fishing boats are painted a deep blue and the larger fishing vessels are sometimes raised on to the harbour for repairs. Fish are landed and it is possible to buy them fresh from the sea or eat  them  grilled  at tables on the dockside. Sam’s the wooden  restaurant in the  harbour is famous for its fish dishes as is the Restaurant de la Plage with views out to sea and Essaouira’s  long beach.The terrace of Restaurant de la Plage is still one of the the best places for lunch in Essaouira. Other highly recommended restaurants include ; Les Alizés ,Ferdaous, El Minzah, Riad Al-Baraka and Les Chandeliers

The magnificent square at the entrance to the souks has numerous cafés for breakfast and coffee during the day and patisseries bake excellent cakes and pastries which can be consumed in the cafés.

Fishing with a fishing boat from the harbour can be arranged  as can trips to the Ile de Mogador ( with a permit from the Port office) except during the mating season of the famous colony of the rare Eleanora’s falcons, between April and October.

Essaouira is a windy town and thus a paradise for surfers, wind surfing is particularly popular and the bay is often filled with the colourful sails of windsurfers gliding back and forth with speed. Care should be taken by swimmers as there are strong undercurrents. If riding camels along the beach is not enough for you, you can ride horses and trek in the surrounding countryside and discover the ancient viaduct brought down by an earth quake.

Outside the town you can witness the amusing sight of goat’s climbing argan trees to eat the berries and you can visit argan oil presses and women’s cooperatives producing argan oil which is now a highly sought after product for culinary and cosmetic purposes.

Essaouira now has extremely good connections,with its own airport and a motorway linking it to Marrakech.The Supra tours bus company provides s regular service between Marrakech and Essaouira.

There are three world class festivals held in Essaouira each year ; the Gnaoua Festival of World Music is held in Essaouira, normally in the last week of June. It is a great event and it is important to book hotel accommodation well in advance if you decide to visit at this time. The spring musical festival of Alizés   in May features classical music and opera and the festival of Atlantic Andalusian music,art and dance in late September.

For More Information on a 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.

Feng Shui Your Way to Morocco, Your Morocco Travel Guide

Monday, December 12th, 2011

Jayme Barrett, Feng Shui Expert

Feng Shui Your Way to Morocco for an eight-day retreat with best selling author Jayme Barrett. Experience how the laws of energy can be utilized to enhance your life.  A Feng Shui travel retreat is an ideal way to discover Morocco’s great spaces within the “red hamra” city of Marrakech, the Ourika Valley and seaside Essaouira.

Feng shui is a Chinese system of geomancy believed to use the laws of both Heaven and Earth to help one improve life by receiving positive energy. The term feng shui literally translates as “wind-water” in English. Historically, feng shui was widely used to orient buildings—often spiritually significant structures such as tombs, but also dwellings and other structures—in an auspicious manner.

Feng Shui Workshop Morocco, Jayme Barrett

This Morocco retreat with Feng Shui expert Jayme Barrett pays homage to the practice of Feng Shui in culminating the wind-water intention through private group teachings and activities. Participants can anticipate enjoying two Feng Shui workshops, two energy/life-enhancement classes and one manifestation & meditatation class taught exclusively by Jayme.

Cooking Workshop, Feng Shui Retreat Marrakech

The retreat will take place in an 18th century Moroccan Riad courtyard in the heart of the Marrakech medina. Amenities and unique experiences include a daily yoga practice, walks in the Ourika Valley, shopping in the souks for Moroccan decor, a visit to the North African coastal town of Essaoauira, endless opportunities to dine on Moroccan delicacies plus a Moroccan cooking workshop and Spa treatments.

Yoga Workshop, Feng Shui Retreat Marrakech

The Feng Shui Morocco retreat also offers free time to explore on your own in Marrakech and its surrounding areas. A visit to the Marrakech Majorelle Gardens designed by Jacque Majorelle and its newly reopened Museum that showcases Berber jewelry and clothing traditions should be top on the list. Relish at sunset with Cocktails at La Mamounia Hotel & Gardens or take an extension trip to the Great South. An extension trip to the Great South includes an overnight camel trek in the Sahara Desert’s Erg Chebbi Dunes, bread baking, henna time and lunch with a Berber family plus a full day visit to Ait Benhaddou Kasbah and the regions old Ksars.

Feng Shui Your Life, By Jayme Barrett

Top 5 Feng Shui Morocco Travel Keepsakes Compliments of Jayme Barrett:

1.  Create an intention for your voyage. This means not only earmarking a guidebook for the best museums or restaurants, but also envisioning what you want to experience and explore and bring home, spiritually, from the trip.

2.  Buy from local craftsman and artisans. Supporting their creativity and offering a fare price is good karma. Also, it’s better to own hand-made objects such as woven baskets and rugs. They contain life force energy, as opposed to machine-made objects.

3.  Remember what you want to manifest in your life, and find mementos that represent your passions and desires. For example, to boost romance, buy in pairs, such as two candlesticks, pictures or figurines. To encourage fertility and pregnancy, find a hand-made doll crafted by a loving mother. To increase spirituality, bring home a religious relic or statue. To boost wealth, buy a special gold box to house your written intentions. Before you can apply good feng shui you must know what you want to manifest in your life.

4.  Look for stones and shells that contain nature’s healing energy.

5.  Choose items you absolutely love. Don’t buy something because you think you “should.”

Jayme Barrett

About Author, Jayme Barrett:

As seen on “The Today Show, best-selling author Jayme Barrett is a leading authority on Feng Shui living and personal fulfillment.  Jayme empowers individuals to design their lives for increased balance, energy and motivation. Jayme’s book, “Feng Shui Your Life” is the #1 most popular feng shui book. Barett’s clients include Hollywood actors, TV directors, successful fashion designers and movie executives, attorneys, hotels and spa owners. Barrett has been featured in magazines including Body + Soul, Self Magazine, Health, ELLE, Woman’s World, Redbook, First for Women, Parents, Healing Lifestyles and Spas, Delicious Living, The Nest, Every Day with Rachael Ray, American Spa and Healthy Living Magazine.  Jayme Barrett resides with her husband in Los Angeles, California.

Feng Shui Your Way to Marrakech, Morocco Retreat Information can be found at http://jaymebarrett.com/blog

For more information on how to Feng shui Your Way to Morocco
Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel ExplorationTravel 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)618-8861 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today. 

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Mustapha El Harchi, Essaouira’s Painter by Mouth, Your Morocco Travel Guide

Sunday, October 2nd, 2011

Mustapha El Harchi, Essaouira's Painter by Mouth

Once in a while we come across a person in our lives that allows us to understand the meaning of dignity. It is Mustapha El Harchi, a disabled painter by mouth from Morocco’s seaside artist colony of Essaouira that serves as a reminder how self-dignity and self-preservation of the soul are free.

I first met Mustapha El Harchi five years ago. I was strolling just past the wide entrance to Essaouira’s old medina and walked right past him. I did a double take, then circled back. It only took a glimpse of Mustapha painting by mouth for an immediate recollection of Jim Sheridan’s film “My Left Foot” staring Daniel Day-Lewis. Thus began a story of acknowledgement and friendship.

Musapha El Harchi paints daily at his outdoor stall which consists of his wheel chair, a make shift easel, his paints and a carry bag of his things.  He parks himself across from Taros restaurant and just around the corner from the Casa Villa, a famous Essaouira café known for the best espresso in town.

Mustapha El Harchi, Painter

Each time the opportunity arose and I would return to Essaouira my first visit in the old medina would begin with visiting Mustapaha. I secretly admired his sense of dignity, calm and organization as he painted by mouth. I always make a point of telling Mustapha that a view of the Atlantic Ocean along with a daily routine of painting in the serene town is the truly a good life. Mustapha typically smiles agreeably with a laugh, while gesturing to the tourists and locals who pass by his creative make-shift art stall. Mustpaha and his paintings qualify top rate under a list of “what to see and do in Essaouira.” A visit with him is equally as rewarding if not more then a visit to other local galleries or even Orsen Wells Square.

Mustapha El Harchi Art stall Essaouira

Mustapha’s out door stall is meticulously filled with new, small works of naïve paintings ranging from seascapes to floral designs, and agricultural landscapes all available for a modest 20 Moroccan Dirhams. Over the years, I have collected many and often give them away sharing the story of the artist. I began collecting his pieces because I enjoyed the idea of contributing to Mustapha’s form of artistic expression.  For years I wanted to photograph Mustapha El Harchi and I also thought about making a short film. On my last trip to Essaouira in September 2011 we agreed that it would be a nice idea if I photographed him with the goal to share his story.

Mustapha and I also decided that allowing foreigners have a small piece of his work would be a nice way to remember both him and Essaouira. Our solution was to give everyone who embarks on a tour with Travel Exploration a gift – a hand painted post card by Mustapha El Harachi, painter by mouth.

Mustapha El Harchi can be reached at the address listed below. If you’re visiting Essaouira, make sure to stop by and see him. He is fond of art books and collects them as inspiration for his works. To make a donation you can send him an art book of flowers, rural landscapes and still paintings. He would be very grateful indeed.

Mustapha El Harchi
B.P. 1370
CP: 44100 Essaouira, Maroc
Telephone: +212-669787367

For more information about Essaouira and Mustapha Harchi painter by mouth

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel ExplorationTravel 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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Moroccan Door Knockers & The Hand of Fatima, Your Morocco Travel Guide

Friday, June 24th, 2011

Chamsa door knocker, Essaouira

Moroccan door knockers can be found throughout Morocco and are palm-shaped. Door knockers in Morocco are  a symbol of protection for the home as they are typically designed in the shape of the “hand of fatima” (Khamsa, Chamsa or Hamsa) and made of solid brass, cast iron or wood by a skilled artisan. Each door knocker that I’ve seen during my travels in the Magreb’s old cities of Marrakech, Essaouira or Fes have either been oxidized by the artist or they have developed a fabulous, aged green patina. The patinas are typically in various shades of green and are similar to those found on the statue of liberty in the New York harbor and on on ancient buildings in Europe. The green patina that forms on the chamsa Moroccan door knockers is natural and they resist corrosion which accounts for why they have remained on some of Morocco’s most extraordinary doors for centuries.

The Islamic alternate name of the hand of fatima commemorating Fatima Zahra who was the Prophet Muhammed’s daughter.  The Jews renamed the Hamsa “Miriam’s hand,” referring to Miriam, the sister of Aaron and Moses so as not to name it after the daughter of the prophet of Islam. It is a sort of “protection of the hand” or “The hand of God“.

Brass door knocker, Essaouira

The five fingers that appear on a Moroccan door knocker or a Khamsa refer to the  five books of the Torah to Jews, the Five Pillars of Islam for Sunni Muslims, five or any person who, by the mantle for the Shiites. five fingers on the five books of the Torah to Jews, the Five Pillars of Islam for Sunni Muslims, five or any person who, by the mantle for the Shiites. The symbolism of May, (fifth month in the year) at a later stage, bearing in mind that the results of archaeological excavations recalls the Khamsa there are two religions. The fingers of a Khamsa may point up or down. Many Jews believe that the five fingers of the hamsa hand remind its wearer to use their five senses to praise God. In Islamic tradition the Hand of Fatima while used for represents God, divine power, providence and generosity.

Hamsa Brass Door Knocker Marrakech, Morocco

For more information about Moroccan Door Knockers or a Marrakech Tour

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 ExplorationTravel 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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