Posts Tagged ‘Rabat’

Fatima Mernissi, Moroccan Feminist & Author Dies at Age 75

Tuesday, December 1st, 2015
Fatima Mernissi, Feminist Moroccan Author

Fatima Mernissi, Feminist Moroccan Author

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fatima Mernessi, Muslim Feminist Author and native of Morocco passed away in Rabat on November 30th, 2015. Mernissi was born in Fes, Morocco in 1940 and became known as one of the Arab world’s leading literary authors who challenged the Islamic establishment by focusing on feminist issues along with human rights and democracy. A graduate of the Sorbonne University in Paris, her education was grounded in political science. Later she obtained her doctorate at Brandeis University. Mernissi was a pioneer of her time. She researched and analyzed Islamic thought and the relation of succession to the Prophet Mohammed. As an Islamic feminist her goal was to facilitate ideas and an open discussion about women challenging their traditional roles along with its relation to the West.

Mernissi returned to her native country of Morocco after receiving her doctorate and taught at the Faculté des Lettres on the subjects of sociology and psycosociology. She also worked on sociological research for UNESCO and the ILO. Deep comparisons between the East and West was the topic Fatima Mernissi focused on most. Various interpretations of Islam, the Koran and the deconstruction of Islamic ideology on women permeated her written works.

By questioning Islamic thought she attracted a following of young Muslim women and also Westerners. In 2003 she was awarded the Prince of Asturias Award which was established by Felipe Prince of Asturias to encourage and promote scientific, cultural and humanistic values that form part of mankind’s universal heritage.

Mernissi’s best known works are Beyond the Veil, The Veil and the Male Elite, A Feminist Interpretation of Islam and Dreams of Tresspass.

“Feminists, women and men alike: we stand on the shoulders of giants like Fatema Mernissi.” – Laila Lalami, Moroccan American Author

Recommended Reading  – Books by Fatima Mernissi:

Beyond the Veil
The Veil and the Male Elite
Dreams of Tresspass
Tales of a Harem Girlhood
Women & Islam
Democracy & IslamSheherazade Goes West
The Forgotten Queens of Islam
Women’s Rebellion & Islamic Memory

 

For more information about Moroccan Books to Read, Authors and Fatima Mernissi 

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 offer Private 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 Opening of Mohammed VI, First Contemporary Art Museum in Morocco

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Mohammed VI Musée National d’Art Moderne et Contemporaine Art

King Mohammed VI of Morocco inaugurated the first Moroccan National Museum of art on October 14th, 2014 in Rabat. Mohammed VI Musée National d’Art Moderne et Contemporaine is the first major museum to be built in Morocco since it gained independence from France over 50 years ago. A visit to this new museum in Rabat is a must when visiting the Imperial Cities of Morocco and is essential as part of a Rabat historical and cultural tour.

The Mohammed VI Musée National d’Art Moderne et Contemporaine is located in Morocco’s Imperial City of Rabat. This new national museum in Morocco will offer a complete overview of the country’s art history from the beginning of the 20th century to the present.

The Mohammed VI Musée National d’Art Moderne et Contemporaine consists of three-levels and covers a total of 22,350 square meters. It will house a combination of a vast permanent collection, temporary exhibits, a multimedia library, an auditorium, an education center, and a multimedia library along with a café. The museum was under construction for ten years.

Mohamed Rachdi was named the curator of The Mohammed VI Musée National d’Art Moderne et Contemporaine in 2011 and responsible for developing the museum’s mission. The museums conceptional architect is Karim Chakor.

For more information about the National Museum of Art in Rabat or a Rabat Historical 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. 

Rabat and Salé, Your Morocco Tour Guide

Saturday, October 12th, 2013

Avenue Hassan II, Rabat

Rabat, the capital of Morocco retains a charming  relaxed atmosphere  in the center despite its 1.2 million population. Magnificent tall palm trees stretch down the main Avenue Hassan II passing the main station and the red Parliament building opposite the well known and classically Art Deco  Balima Hotel. Balima Hotel in Rabat was used to be the premier hotel year ago  with locals and tourists sitting in the open air café area. Cafes and patisseries are abound in Rabat like most other Moroccan cities. International five star hotels  now include the Sofitel Jardin De Roses, Golden Tulip, La Tour Hassan and the Dawliz. Rabat is also home to several charming Riads with private gardens and courtyards such as Villa Mandarine, Riad Kalaa and Riad Art.

Rabat is also a university city with the famous Mohammed V University, as well as being the centre of government with ministries in the ministers’ quarter and the modern suburb of Rabat Agdal. The Ville Nouvelle has a 1930’s feel with its shops lining the streets. The towering spires of the Saint Peter’s  functioning Roman Catholic Cathedral also adorn the city center.

Rabat is still an important center for textiles and shirts are good value. However change has come to the Moroccan capital. The tram system is now fully functional and It has become an important offshore center and it is the headquarters of Maroc Telecom the main telecommunications company.

It was recently awarded second place in “Top Travel Destinations of 2013” by CNN. It has also recently been named as a UNESCO world Heritage site. A new world class yachting marina catering for 248 yachts has been created on the banks of the Bouregreg river near neighboring  Salé.  A new bridge spans the river between the two cities. A major new tourism development program backed with substantial Gulf investment is boosting Rabat and Salé’s tourism appeal. Rabat is a noted green city with extensive forests. The Royal Dar Es Salam golf club is a world class course and there are good opportunities for riding.

There are a number of historic sites which have always drawn tourists to Rabat. The medina is smaller and less complicated than Fez or Marrakech but is still a place for good deals especially carpets and leather goods. There are picturesque views of the old harbor and battlements.

The city walls and gates surround the centre and the Royal Palace grounds called Mechaour which you can sometimes enter, though you have to keep to the main pathway. It reminds you that this is a Royal capital too.

The Chellah  Necropolis  is an historical ruin outside the main gates . It is a national treasure which was in existence in Phoenician, Carthaginian and Roman times as the port of Sala Colonia but it was ruined in the tenth century and thereafter used by the Merinid dynasty as a necropolis. The Roman ruins of Sala Colonia have been excavated. It is one of the most striking ruins in Morocco with its Merenid  built walls and towers. From the Chellah there is an amazing view across The Bouregreg  river with Salé  and the rolling countryside beyond.

Bab Ouadia, Rabat

The Kasbah of the Oudaias  is the original site of the rabat or fort which gave the capital its name where the Sultan’s forces were stationed to keep rebellious Berber tribes under control. It was built by the Almohads and its walls are 10 ft thick and 30ft high. The Oudaias were an Arabic tribe that entered Morocco in the 13th century and served  the Sultan. The grand Bab Oudaia  gate with its decorative arches leading  in to the Kasbah was built by Sultan Yacoub el Mansour. Rabat became home to Arab and Jewish refugees from Spain and the white washed Andalusian houses  bear witness to this. The La Jamaa el Atiq mosque was founded by The Almohad leader Abdl Moumen in 1150 and is the oldest mosque in the city. There is also the Oudaia Palace museum dating from 1694 and the Andalusian garden. The museum displays traditional ceramic designs and has period furnishings in the apartments. There is also an impressive collection of Moroccan handicrafts including costumes, jewelry, pottery and tribal musical instruments and a replica of a Berber nomad tent.

Written by Colin Kilkelly

For More Information about a Rabat 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.

Kasbah Walking Tour, Marrakech’s Hip Neighborhood of the Medina

Friday, October 11th, 2013

Marrakech Kasbah, Bab Agnaou

A Walking Tour through Kasbah, one of the Marrakech Medina’s Best Neighborhoods offers exploration inside its historic walls. Kasbah’s is a local Moroccan neighborhood that boasts Moroccan street fare, an authentic shopping experience, ancient sites and is the perfect pit stop for teat at sunset. Once a neighborhood that was on the edge of ruins, Kasbah, in the Marrakech medina is now the place to be.

You can start a walking tour at the Marrakech medina’s Kasbah mosque walls which are freshly painted white flanked by a towering minaret pink with turquoise decoration and green tiles. The Kasbah Square is entered though the great Bab Agnaou gate built by the Almohad dynasty in the 12th Century. The street leading to the mosque, the Passage Agnaou, is full of Berber jewelry shops, with large beaded necklaces, silver rings, handicraft stalls, spices and herbal remedies mixed with small stores, called hanouts. There are also antique shops selling carved wooden African artifacts found in this Marrakech hip neighborhood.

Saadian Tombs, Marrakech

A visit to the Saadian Tombs is a must. The Saadian tombs lie through a gateway at the end of the mosque founded by Sultan Ahmed El Mansour (1578-1603) and his successors. The exquisite cedar wood and stuccowork and high white columns are one of the glories of Marrakech. The tombs were rediscovered and restored during the French Protectorate in 1917. For lunch an ideal stop is The Kasbah Café, which offers local Moroccan fare that can be eaten on its terrace with views of the medina and the Kasbah mosque.

Moroccan Local Artisan Naive Paintings

As you walk down to the Place Moulay Yazid, you can see a more local view of handicraft shops, herbalists mixed with small hanouts that serve the local community.

For the ultimate shopping experience and fixed prices stop at the The Ensemble Artisanal. The Ensemble Artisanal is a store crammed with handicrafts, caftans, Moroccan baboosh and other typical tourist items. There is an elevator to the second floor where you can find carved and decorated wooden furniture, more handicrafts and a whole room filled with bronze horses, lions, elephants and tigers and ornate metal lamps. The third floor has an impressive collection of furniture.
The shops peter out as you move down the long street, but before they do, a small gem reveals itself. It is a calligraphy shop that displays colorful and delightful traditional naive paintings of figures on wooden tablets. Islamic art generally prohibits the painting of the human form but naïve painting, which is not Islamic in inspiration, escapes this ban. These charming naïve figures depicting Moroccan family life make good presents for the children.

Kasbah Cafe, Marrakech

A great way to end the afternoon is at La Sultana, one of Marrakech’s most exotic and luxurious Riads that is on the boutique hotel of the world hot list. This stylish yet elegant Riad filled with European and African antiques is epic Moroccan style with a European twist La Sultana’s rooftop terrace is a coveted place to sip tea or have a glass of wine to unwind at sunset.

For More Information about a Walking to in Marrakech’s Kasbah

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.

Carey Duncan, Morocco’s Leading Landscape Architect & Garden Designer, Your Morocco Travel Guide

Sunday, March 18th, 2012

Carey Duncan, Landscape Architect & Garden Designer

Jeanette Lowdon, Garden Enthusiast covers Carey Duncan’s work across Morocco’s private and public green spaces. Lowdon recently had the opportunity to interview the well known Landscape Architect, Carey Duncan, at Cafe La Poste in Marrakech. Sitting on the colonial style porch savoring a gourmet lunch, Duncan chatted about her life in Morocco and her honorable achievements within the development, restoration and garden design field in Morocco.

Carey Duncan, a South African native, was first struck by Landscape Architecture while attending school in Johannesburg with its beautiful gardens bordered by a wild urban nature reserve. Her father also fueled her passion as she watched him create a paradise out of an old rubbish dump in the garden of the house he built and lived in for 45 years.

This inspiration led her to receive her bachelors degree in Town and Regional Planning in South Africa before attending Cornell University in the United States to get a double masters in City and Regional Planning and Landscape Architecture.

While in University Duncan met her future husband, a Moroccan studying on a grant from USAID and the government of Morocco. After graduation she went back to South Africa for two years and worked as a private consultant in the fields of Urban Planning and Landscape Architecture. She later married and joined her new husband in Morocco.

Tresco Abbey Gardens Scilly, England

In 1992, after arriving in Morocco Duncan discovered that locals were not familiar with the field of Landscape Architecture. Concerned about the possibility of Carey being able to work in her chosen field, her sister came to Morocco with a British Homes and Gardens magazine in hand. Inside the magazine was an announcement for an international competition to design a Mediterranean garden in the Tresco Abbey Botanic Gardens on the Isles of Scilly, England. It was the first major intervention in the garden in 100 years. Duncan came up with a design which she remembers thinking, “it’s not earth shattering, but it works.” Following her instinct, she created it and won first prize. Her confidence was strengthened which encouraged her to continue her work which resulted in her winning contracts for  projects in Morocco.

Carey has had a few selective favorite projects that she considers key to her career. Most notably is the rehabilitation of the mineral spring esplanade in Sidi Harazem, which was her first major public project. Renovating the gardens of Palais Marshan and designing the Esplanade of the Presidential Palace in Nouakchott and later the gardens of the Residence, were also challenges that she enjoyed. This set her up to work on the Jardins Exotiques in Bouknadel, a project that took several years of intensive on site work. Since then, she has worked on a variety of restoration projects, in Fes, Rabat and Oujda, often with the collaboration of architect, Fadel Guerraoui. Carey’s top project on her list is an open space network in the small town of Oued Zem near Khouribga.

Andalusian Garden, Sidi Bouknadel Rabat

One of the larger and more well known projects Duncan worked on was the Rehabilitation Project of the Exotic Gardens, Sidi Bouknadel for the Foundation Mohamed VI set up for Environmental Protection of Morocco’s heritage sites.

The Exotic Gardens Sidi Bouknadal in Sale, is set on a 18 acre plot of land originally bought by Marcel Francois in the 1940s. For over 4 years Duncan worked to restore the garden to its former glory as in the days of its creator, Marcel François. The gardens were completely run down, bridges disappeared, eroding paths and the incredible plants and trees had received no maintenance for decades. The bridges, paths, walls, monticules had to be entirely redone”, says Duncan. With very little information or photos, Duncan and her colleagues relied on descriptions from the old gardeners who were still on the site and on interpretation of some of the ruins that were left. Most of the plants were original and were restored with care. Adapting to modern technology and contemporary requirements, the project began.

Duncan recalls, Marcel François used to design decorations for aquariums. You can sense this as you walk through the garden, where he takes you down into a subsurface cave, gliding past monticules that look like termite mounds, and then up into the tree tops on swinging bridges – the visitor experiences several strata just as fish does in an aquarium.”

Another restoration project Duncan worked on was the The Jardin D’essais in Rabat originally laid out by JN Forestier in 1924. The ancient garden of Colonial Rabat is one of the green spaces that structure the city of Rabat as laid out by Prost. “It was initially a garden to test new varieties of fruit trees and how imported ones could be acclimatised” says Duncan. Organized along a central perspective with a series of rectangular gardens grafted onto either side of the central path, a series of themes are presented, based on the original trials that were conducted by INRA at the time.

Batha Garden, Fes

The famous Dar Batha in Fez was restored by Duncan in 2005 as part of a tourist trail in the heart of the Fez old Medina. Duncan worked with Cotecno and Architect Raffael Gorjux from Italy recreating the Andalusian Garden while keeping existing large trees, but replanting the undergrowth which was either bare or overtaken by weeds, and revitalizing the existing planting. “It was particularly difficult as the current legislation for preserving historic monuments does not take into account the changing nature of gardens over time and the requirement to prune, shape and weed. So a committee had to convene almost every time we needed to pull out a weed!” says Duncan.

Duncan has collaborated with a number of Landscape Architects from several different countries on various projects, in order to bring local knowledge and expertise to hand. After 20 years here she claims, “I am considered a local!”  Duncan says, “The most interesting of these partnerships was with Hart Howerton from San Francisco. It was a very exciting and difficult project given the complicated topography and the difficulties surrounding the preservation of the mythic argan trees on the site.”

When asked about how has she educated the nurserymen in plant choices Duncan says “The nursery industry in Morocco has developed a lot in the last 20 years, but there is still a long way to go. It is ironic that a lot of indigenous plant species are not available in cultivation for landscape use. After slowly hammering away at growers, and with the growth of demand, we are starting to see local species being cultivated for sale as landscape plants.”

When asked what does she see as the future for Landscape Architects in Morocco hold, Cary’s face lit  up with excitement. Duncan stated “About a year ago, the few Landscape Architects that there are in Morocco formed a professional association: “L’Association des Architectes-paysagistes du Maroc” (AAPM).

As the Secretary General for the AAPM Duncan states “We would ideally like to have our profession given recognition and a scale of fees agreed upon and made known to the general public.  We need to promote our profession which is not officially recognized in Morocco”. Presently, they have made great strides in their goal by gaining membership in the IFLA – the International Federation of Landscape Architects. Duncan spoke with passion saying “We do want to strive for the separation of client – designer – and contractor to ensure quality landscapes for our clients, but for the country in general as well.”

The “local” as she is now known in Morocco has given so much of herself in the 20 years that she has been working in Morocco as a Landscape Architect. She is now fully booked each week as she travels to a different city nearly every day.

Morocco is very lucky to have this talented woman at the helm of this business. She is a role model for all students of Landscape Architecture and City and Regional Planning. Anyone would be lucky to be graced by her wealth of knowledge and expertise in this field.

For more information about Garden Designers in Morocco or Gardens of Morocco Tour 

For more information about Travel and Tours to Morocco plus highlights on Moroccan culture visit Morocco’s Imperial Cities,Seaside Resorts,Sahara DesertBerber villagesA Taste of Morocco,Magical Kasbahs, Ruins & WaterfallsAbsolute Morocco, The Best ofMarrakechFes, 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.

Tourist Attractions in Rabat Morocco, What to see and do in Rabat, Your Morocco Travel Guide

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

View of Rabat's Hassan Tower & Seaside

Rabat is located on the Atlantic Ocean at the mouth of the Bou Regreg River. On the facing shore of the river lies Sale, Rabat’s bedroom comunity. Tourism and the presence of all foreign embassies in Morocco serve to make Rabat the second most important city in the country after the larger and more economically significant Casablanca. There are a variety of historic tourist attractions in Rabat such as kasbahs, beautiful domes, minarets, wide avenues and green spaces which make for a fascinating half-day or full day Rabat tour.

Tourist Attractions in Rabat Morocco, What to See & Do:

Bab Oudia
Bab Oudia is the principal gateway to the Kasbah and one of the most striking sites in Rabat. Bab Oudia is considered one of the most beautiful Moorish monuments. The gate was built by the Almohad Sultan, Yacoub al Mansour, in 1195. Its purpose was more ceremonial than defensive, designed for a grand entrance into the Kasbah and its souks and the nearby Sultan palace. It is striking for its harmony and the sheer simplicity and beauty of its decoration. The basic feature is the arch, composed of three different designs: the basic horseshoe, a check-and-shoulder design and finally a band of geometric ornamentation.

Kasbah Des Oudaias
Kasbah Des Oudaias has been the citadel of the Alhmohads, Merinids and Andalusians in Rabat.  You can visit the Kasbah Mosque, the oldest mosque in the city, built in 1050 and subsequently rebuilt in the 18th century. Below is a seventeenth-century semaphore station called the platforme. Several forts are built below and around the platforme to protect the town from corsair fleets.

The Palace Museum & Andalusian Gardens
The Palace Museum is a seventeenth-century Almohad Palace, now housing the museum of Moroccan Art & Culture.  The Palace was built in the seventeenth-century by Moulay Ismail, the first Almohad sultan to unify the country. Today, it showcases interesting exhibits of Moroccan art and culture. A vast central patio gives access to private quarters and reception rooms containing the exhibits. There is a hall containing oriental rugs made in Rabat, an exhibition hall for musical instruments and a salon reserved for customs and rituals.

The Andalusian Gardens in Rabat is a beautiful French- constructed garden occupying the old Palace grounds in Kasbah Ouadia. True to Andalusian traditions with its flowering annuals and beds of shrubs these gardens make for a lovely afternoon walk in any Morocco travel season. The gardens were constructed by the French in the twentieth-century and are a delightful shady retreat, with a profusion of daturas, oleanders, orange, lemon and banana trees.

Hassan Tower, Rabat

The Hassan Mosque & Hassan Tower
The Hassan Mosque is Rabat’s most famous landmark and of of the most ambitious of all the Alhmoad architectural sites. Sultan Yacoub al Mansour begun construction of this enormous minaret in 1195, with the intention of reaching 60 meters marking the highest in the Muslim World. This ambitious mosque was abandoned when al Mansour died with the minaret, still standing today, at 40 meters. The adjacent mosque was destroyed by an earthquake and only a few re-erected pillars stand today. Some of the pillars that are the most magnificent are Roman ruins that were moved from the area of Volubilis to the exterior of the mosque. The minaret is a majestic sight that dominates every view of the capital.

Mohammed V Mausoleum
Mohammed V Mausolem: A modern monument built in traditional Moroccan style where both father and grandfather of the present King of Morocco are buried. Built after Moroccan independence, this is one of the most prestigious modern monuments in Morocco that was created in traditional Moroccan style. The mausoleum is richly decorated with elaborate zellij mosaics and spiralling designs. Non-Muslim visitors are allowed to visit the mausoleum and see the tomb of Mohammed V, carved in white onyx, from a gallery above.

Almohad Walls
Bab Rouah is an Almohad wall that runs all the way from the Kasbah Oudia to the Royal Palace in Rabat. Monumental in size and harmonious in both its design and or facing the Hassan Tower. Inside, the gate has three domed chambers used as a defensive structure. Exhibitions are held there and are open to the public.

Roman Ruins of Chellah, Rabat

Kasbah Chellah
Kasbah Chellah is a large walled and towered enclosure, the site of an ancient Roman city and a Merinid necropolis. Chellah is one of the most beautiful and peaceful Moroccan ruins, the site of an ancient Roman city and a Merenid necropolis. A large walled and towered enclosure, the site seems like a Medina. The site served first as a thriving Roman port and city, known as Sala Colonia. From the main gate, making you way through a path diagonally is a viewing platform which overlooks the main Roman ruins. The ruins are from 200BC onwards and include a forum, a temple and a craftsmen’s quarter.  

Archaeological Museum
The most important in Morocco, tracing back to the history of the country from the bronze age. Here a portrait head of Juba II, Berber King of Numidia is displayed. The Archaeological Museum in Rabat is the most important archaeological museum in Morocco. The museum gives a fascinating account of the rich Moroccan history dating back 35,000 years to the Stone Age. The highlight of the collections is a Roman-era bronzers called the Salle des Bronzes. It displays ceramics and artefacts mainly from Volubilis (near Meknes) and a few pieces from Chellah and Lixus. Do not miss the portrait heads of Cato the Younger and Juba II – Berber king of Numidia.

For more information about an Rabat 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 ofMarrakechFes, 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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Moroccan Food & A Menu for Moroccan Appetite, Your Morocco Tour Guide

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

Moroccan couscous with raisins

Moroccan food is considered some of the best in the world. The easiest way to discover the true flavors of Moroccan cuisine are to take a Moroccan cooking class or explore various restaurants in Morocco’s Imperial Cities such as Marrakech, Fes, Rabat or Essaouira on a Morocco tour. Another way to discover authentic Moroccan cuisine is to dine with a local family in a Berber Village. Berber villages are known for their unique fare as result that their main staples in making Moroccan traditional cuisine such as couscous are grown locally in their fields alongside special herbs which allows for amazingly tasteful food. Moroccan recipes such as baking bread by fire and a tajine on starlit night can be learning on a Sahara desert tour to the Erg Chebbi Dunes of Merzouga whereby your camel trekking guide takes you off on a journey into the vast dunes to a Sahara camp at sunset to learn the secrets of the Sahara. To fully enjoy a Moroccan meal one must arrive with an empty stomach and then fully prepare themselves for a three or four-course Moroccan feast. As the French proverb says, “Appetite comes with eating; the more one has, the more one would have” so make sure to visit Morocco with an open palate and a big appetite!

Moroccan carrot salad

This menu and choice will give you a real taste of Moroccan food. Many variations are available.

  • Lamb Chops/Lamb burgers/Steak, Pork Chops/ Chicken Thighs
  • Carrot Salad
  • Couscous with raisins
  • Macerated Oranges

Lamb Chops/Lamb burgers/Steak, Pork Chops/ Chicken Thighs

Season the meat with salt, pepper, cumin and a touch of cinnamon (or salt pepper and ras al hanout, if you have it). If you can let is sit in the refrigerator for an hour or so, do so. Bring the meat to room temp (20 min) before cooking as desired.

Carrot Salad

Cook cleaned and sliced carrots as usual (in small amount of cold water, bring to the boil, simmer until tender, appr. 6-8 minutes). Drain. In bowl add carrots, cumin, paprika, cinnamon, lemon juice or vinegar, salt, pepper, olive oil and chopped parsley. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve warm or at room temp.

Couscous with Raisins

Cook couscous with small handful raisins according to package. Fluff with fork. Add lemon juice, cooked chickpeas (from the can), chopped herbs such as cilantro, parsley or mint, salt & pepper to taste. Serve hot or room temp.

Macerated Oranges

Peel oranges. Either slice or segment (supreme) oranges in a bowl. Add cinnamon, sugar or honey and ½ teaspoon rose or orange flower water. Let stand in refrigerator one hour. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Happy Cooking!

By Freya Ellinwood, Morocco Travel Writer

For more information about Moroccan Food and Recipes or a Morocco 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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Pasha Glaoui’s Legacy & Kasbahs in Morocco, Your Morocco Travel Guide

Friday, July 23rd, 2010
Pacha Glaoui

Pasha T’hami Glaoui was the most powerful man in Morocco between 1953 and 1956, in addition to being one of the richest men in the world at that time.  The title Pasha means Governor.  Glaoui was the Pasha of Marrakesh (since 1912), Ouarzazate, and most of the Moroccan south during the time Morocco was under French rule. The most important Kasbahs’ in Morocco that were occupied by the Pacha Glaoui during his reign and are frequented by Moroccan travelers today are Kasbah Taouirt, located in the center of Ouarzazate, Ait Benhaddou, located 15 kilometers outside Ouarzazate and Kasbah Telouet which sits in the village of Telouet nestled outside the Onilla Valley.

Glaoui Palace in Marrakesh during the days of Pacha Thami El Glaoui

As a result of the Pasha Glaoui siding with the French since the beginning of the 20th Century, Moroccans view Glaoui as a traitor.  However it was the Glaoui’s siding with the French which propelled him toward such enormous wealth and power.

Thami El Glaoui in center front row watching Paris dancers in Marrakech in 1952

So, how did Glaoui become so powerful?  Glaoui was born to Si Mohammed ben Hammou, who was a baron (also called a “caid” in Morocco) and his Ethiopian concubine Zora, in 1879.  Si Mohamed died in 1888.  T’hami became the teenage assistant of his eldest brother Si Madani, who took over after their father’s death.

Kasbah Taouirt Ouarzazate

In 1893, while Sultan Moulay Hassan was on a tax-gathering expedition, the two Glaoui brothers and their mother had the good fortune to save the sultan from a blizzard and starvation while he was on a tax-gathering expedition through the mountains.  To show his gratitude, the sultan gave the Glaouis a gift of the 77-mm Krupp cannon, which can now be viewed in the Kasbah de Taourirt in Ouarzazate.  At that time, this was the only such weapon outside of the imperial army.  The Glaouis used it to subdue rival warlords in the surrounding then-feudalistic society, which continued through the 1950’s.

77-mm Krupp Cannon given to the Glaouis

In 1907, Si Madani was appointed as the Grand Vizier to Sultan Moulay Hafid, and Thami was appointed as Pasha ofMarrakesh.

The Glaoui’s actual family name is El Mezouari, a name given to their ancestor in 1700 by Sultan Moulay Ismail.  El Glaoui refers to their belonging to the Glaoui tribe, which is mostly located around the 4 x 4 mountain pass of Telouet.  Many natives of Telouet now have the name Glaoui, but are not actually part of the El Mezouari family.

Glaoui Kasbah in Telouet

The Glaouis were already rich, and their early wealth was based on salt.   Their wealth continued to grow though what was brought by the camel caravans crossing the Sahara from as far away as Mauretania and Sudan.  Once Glaoui sided with the French, they gave him free reign in “pacifying” the South, as well as giving him both the olive and saffron trades, and Moroccan salt and mineral mines.  Glaoui also earned a substantial income from the red light district in Marrakesh known as the “Quartier Reservé.”

T’Hami El Glaoui (center) in LIFE Magazine

In 1953, Pasha Glaoui conspired with the French in the exile of Moroccan Sultan Mohamed V.  However, Mohamed V returned to Morocco in 1955 after the French decided Morocco was falling into chaos, and left, abandoning their support of Glaoui.  All of Glaoui’s property was siezed by the state, and his kasbahs fell into disrepair.  In 1956, Morocco gained independence, and Glaoui died.

Thami L’Glaoui

In recent years, much restoration has been done on the various Glaoui kasbahs, which are considered a very important part of Morocco’s heritage.

For more information about a Morocco Travel visit to the Pachi Glaoui’s Kasbahs in Morocco

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

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration

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

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How to Prepare Moroccan Terjla, Your Morocco Travel Guide

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

Moroccan Terjla Prepared for the Table, as a Side Dish

Moroccan terjla (the Moroccan Arabic name) is frequently prepared as a side dish, and can be served either hot or cold.  Terjla, a succulent plant, known as purslane in English and verdolaga in Spanish, is not only one of the most delicious Moroccan plants, but it is simple to prepare.  Being a dark green plant, it is loaded with iron, vitamins, and minerals.  It also has a mild lemony flavor. When traveling to Morocco make sure to ask your Moroccan Travel Agency to recommend restaurants or local places where you can taste Moroccan terjla in a traditional restaurant.

Close-up View of the Moroccan Terjla Plant

Close-up View of the Moroccan Terjla Plant

Terjla is not often available in the major supermarkets because it is considered a traditional Moroccan dish, and the supermarkets often cater to products they feel will appeal to a broader audience of foreigners and less traditional Moroccans.  However, terjla can easily be found from late spring to late autumn in all the local vegetable markets.  The best place to find it in Marrakech is the small vegetable sellers just inside Bab Dukkala; however, it is found in many other places.  It’s a traditional staple in the cuisines of Fes, Casablanca, Tangier, Agadir, Ouarzazate, and Marrakech.

If you are traveling in Morocco, you are most likely to eat terjla in a private home.  If you are staying in a smaller hotel or riad and would like to try it, request it a day in advance, and they can look for it in the local market.  Most places would probably be delighted to prepare it for you.

How to Prepare Terjla

Traditional Moroccan Method:

Chopped terjla with whole garlic cloves

Discard any bruised leaves, and chop terjla (stems and leaves together) into 1/4″ (1/2 cm) pieces.  Put into a deep bowl.  Fill with water, and swish well; pour through a large strainer to drain out wash water.

Put terjla into water with some salt (it’s not a bitter plant, so take care not to oversalt it) and boil about 20 minutes until tender, but not limp). Drain water.

Season and toss gently with a clove or two (depending upon quantity) of freshly minced garlic, a little cumin, a little paprika, salt to taste (carefully) OR a very small piece of preserved lemon (but not if you added salt–use only one or the other), and a little olive oil.  Red olives can also be added.

Adapted Method which Yields Excellent Results:

Washed and trimmed terjla, ready to chop

Wash and trim the terjla of any bruised leaves (if it is just fresh from the market, it will only need to be washed).  I suggest swishing it two or three times in a deep mixing bowl of water.  Sometimes some very tiny black seeds will fall out if the terjla is in bloom.

Tiny terjla seed pods

But if there, these seeds are so tiny you don’t need to worry about them.  I trimmed off the tiny seed pods before chopping the terjla.

Chop terjla (stems and leaves together) into 1/4″ (1/2 cm) pieces.  Have ready one large unpeeled garlic clove for each cup of chopped terjla.

Two cups of chopped terjla placed in a steamer basket with two large garlic cloves

Choose one of the following cooking methods, both of which work:  boil chopped terjla with whole garlic cloves in plain water, or lightly salted water OR steam chopped terjla with whole garlic cloves in the basket for about 20 minutes.  (A Moroccan suggested the steam method to me, and I prefer it, since the vitamins don’t go down the drain with the boiling water.)

When the terjla is done, the garlic will be cooked inside.  Remove the garlic cloves, and carefully slice off the end.  The cooked garlic can be easily squeezed out into a small bowl from the opposite end.  Mash it into a paste with the back of a large spoon.  Add a small amount of black pepper and paprika to taste (1/8 tsp. of each for each cup of terjla).

slicing off the end of a cooked garlic clove squeezing a cooked garlic clove out of its skin garlic paste with black pepper and paprika in a bowl

Choose ONE of the following two : salt (lightly, to taste) OR a small piece of Moroccan preserved lemon (no more than 1/2 tsp. per cup of terjla, and take care not to use ANY salt).

Mix well, and add 1/2 Tbsp. of virgin olive oil for each  cup of cooked terjla (or more to taste).  Mix again well.  Add cooked terjla, and toss gently with a spoon until mixed well.  Optional, for olive lovers:  add two or three whole red olives for each cup of terjla.

Serve in side dishes at room temperature, warm on a cold day, or chilled on a hot day.  Terjla is delicious at any temperature.  Moroccans usually eat it with bread, as they do tagine; however, it may also be eaten with a spoon as a salad.

How to Find Terjla (Purslane) Outside of Morocco

Purslane grows in sunny areas from Canada to the Carribean, but is considered a weed in North America.  However, since it is a green vegetable used in Mexico and many Latin countries, you might be able to find it at Latin green grocers in North America.  (If collecting wild, take care that it is not in an area that has been deliberately poisoned as a weed.)

Wild summer purslane

According to experts, purslane contains more omega-3 fatty acids than any other green leafy vegetable plant.  It also contains vitamins A, C, and B, as well as iron, magnesium, calcium, and potassium.

Upright purslane species grown as a vegetable

Wild species often grow along the ground, while cultivated species often stand more upright.  It has been used both as a salad and medicinal plant with many uses for hundreds of years.  Purslane is commonly used in salads in France.  The plant is believed to be native to the area of India and Iran.

For more information about a Moroccan Terjla or a Taste of Morocco Private 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 Exploration

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

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Beat the Heat in Morocco, Top Ten Morocco Travel Tips For Summer, Your Morocco Travel Guide

Monday, June 7th, 2010

Men at Sunrise Wearing Djellabas

1. Adopt a Moroccan schedule To Beat the Heat in Morocco During Summer & Other Seasons. Take advantage of the cool early morning hours in Morocco in Summer by taking a mid-moring snack and a late lunch about 1:00 PM. Take a nap in your air-conditioned hotel room or traditional Moroccan Riad, or a dip in the pool. Around 4 PM, have a snack, and head out again around 4:30-5:00 PM. You won’t miss much, because Moroccans tend to lie low during this same time. Enjoy yourself until dark, then head off for dinner around 8-9:00 PM. Take advantage of the Moroccan night life during the cool evening hours if you’re staying in Imperial cities such as Marrakech, Essaouira or Casablanca, all which boast varied restaurants with Moroccan and International cuisine along with entertainment.

2. When going out in the morning during your Morocco Travel experience, make sure to apply sunscreen and consider wearing a hat (or hat alternative) and sunglasses (protects your eyes against cataracts).

3. If you find yourself out and about, getting overheated and exhausted, use your water bottle to wet down your face, neck, hairline, and even the top of your t-shirt or dress in the upper back, shoulder, and neck areas. You can even splash some water on your arms if necessary.

Don’t worry about looking silly–it’s far better to take care of your health when traveling in Summer in Morocco. Even though you might not see them, plenty of Moroccans (especially men, or women when in their own homes) wet down their entire head and neck under a faucet if they feel severely overheated.

Under these circumstances, try also to get to a shaded area and sit down for a little while, even if you have to ask someone in a shop or elsewhere if you may use their stool to sit on. Most are more than happy to oblige if they see you need help.

4. Drink PLENTY of water. Doctors on the Moroccan radio have advised that this is the best way to avoid serious problems. (The objective is to keep your blood thin through drinking, because dehydration is what actually leads to strokes or heart attacks in the heat.)

5. If you are not on a salt-restricted diet, enjoy the Moroccan olives! Ask your guide to take you on a visit to the olive souk, where you can purchase several varieties of olives (which don’t need to be refrigerated in your hotel room). Enjoy these at your leisure. While a bit of salt is quite helpful in preventing heat stroke in extremely hot weather, salt tablets are quite unnecesary if you like olives!

Olive souk in Morocco

6. If possible, doctors suggest spending at least a couple of hours per day in an air-conditioned location. Even short periods will give your body a break. If you are unable to do so, don’t feel shy about wetting yourself down. Your clothes will easily dry in 20-30 minutes.

In addition to your Riad or hotel in Morocco, air-conditioning is becoming more available now in some larger stores (supermarkets and malls). These make a cooler place you can go for a break.

Fresh produce displayed inside an air-conditioned Acima Supermarket in Marrakesh

7. When stopping at small shops or cafés, they often DO have cold drinks. But sometimes you have to especially ASK for them. If they hand you an unopened bottle or can which is not cold, it never hurts to aks for one that is cold. Sometimes they only give them to the people who ASK. Moroccans nearly ALWAYS ask!

8. If you should ever find yourself in an out-of-the-way place that is just unbearable at night, one trick to help with this situation is to travel with a cheap (thin) bath towel. (Even a large hand towel will do.) These can be easily purchased at any local souk. Wet it down, wring it out, and lay it on top of your body in the bed. If you have a fan to lie in front of, it will offer instant relief. If you don’t have a fan, wave it back and forth in the air a few times; when you lay it on your body, it will feel cold. This can give you some much-needed relief.

9. Remember the locals are better acclimated to the heat of summer and cold of winter, because their bodies have a chance to adjust gradually throughout the year. If you spend a long time in Morocco, especially without air conditioning (or heat in winter), your body will adjust, too. But most tourists are not here long enough for that to happen. Most fly right in to the summer heat, are only here a short time, and need to be careful by following the above suggestions.

If you should ever need a doctor, generally your hotel desk or tour guide can help find you one quickly, who even speaks some English.

10. Low-lying and coastal regions (northern and western coasts) of Morocco, such as Agadir, Casablanca, Rabat, and Tangier often have moderate temperatures with humidity, but less of both than is found in the American South, or American East Coast. Marrakesh, Fes, Ouarzazate, and other inland cities or southern areas tend to have dry, to very dry, heat, which is far easier to tolerate than humid heat.

So, to sum up, in very hot weather, avoid going out between 1 PM and 4 PM. Rest in air-conditioning, if possible. Drink plenty of water, and don’t hesitate to ask someone for a stool or chair to rest on if you become exhausted. If you become overheated together with exhaustion, soak your head and shoulders in water —put your health before appearances.

For more information about a Morocco Travel Tips

For more information about Travel and Tours to Morocco plus highlights on Moroccan culture visit 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 (917)703-2078 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

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