Hello guys !
I don’t know if many of you saw it, but a few weeks back, more exactly in my April Wrap-up, I run this idea by you, to start making posts about Morocco because a lot of people don’t know much about it. I got all positive responses. And I AM SO EXCITED – AND ALSO FREAKING OUT. Introducing : Follow me through Morocco. This will also be my humble participation to my twinnie aka Marie‘s Souvenirs From Across the World Project #SFATW.
But first and foremost, what’s Morocco ? Well, my friends,
Morocco is a country. Okay, just kidding, I’m back at it again with my lame humour. Sorry. Won’t happen again. (It most definitely will happen again) Morocco is a North-African Muslim Kingdom, bordering in the north the Mediterranean Sea, in the west the Atlantic Ocean, east is Algeria and south Mauritania. The population is a blend of Arabs and Berbers (I’m a mix of both, YAY!) which makes Moroccan Arabic also called Darija (Da-ree-ja) and Berber (Amazigh) our official languages.Now that you know the basics, let’s get on with the post.
Random Fact: Morocco was under French and Spanish protectorate from 1912 to 1956. That’s the reason for French being so widely spoken here. Spanish is only spoken in northern regions.
You guessed it from the title. Rabat is our Capital but also the city I’ve been living in for 6 years now. It is separated from our neighbor-city Salé only by the Bouregreg river. I won’t bore you with facts about it hehe. Uncle Google can help with that, instead I’ll give you a little tour. There are so many beautiful places here.
The Old Medina
It’s the “Original” Rabat, the rest is just an extension of it. Like every Old Medina in Morocco, it is a maze, you most definitely want to go there with someone who knows their way around. It has a souk (Moroccan Market) in its depths, you can find every kind of shop their. Clothes shops – traditional and normal, leather shops, selling traditional shoes and bags, you can even watch the craftsmen making some if you’re lucky, jewelry shops, mostly selling gold and silver, others selling little pearl trinquets, food shops/food carts, spice shops, the infamous carpet shops and so on and so forth. It really has everything, oh, even some bookstalls, the books are usually beat up but you can find some little treasures.
This last one is a very dear to my heart, because people like that don’t exist anymore. It is a man who has had his little bookshop for over 50 years and each time you’d pass by you’ll find him reading a book, undisturbed by the rest of the world.
Mohamed V mausoleum / Hassan Tower
Why did I combine them ? Because they’re on the same esplanade. The Mohamed V mausoleum contains the tombs of King Mohamed V – Our current King Mohamed VI ‘s grandfather – and his two sons, King Hassan II and Prince Moulay Abdellah but that’s not the reason I want you to visit it. I want you to come along with me to admire its magnificent architecture, it is done in the Arabo-andalou style that’s common to a lot of monuments in Morocco, it has the typical green tile roof that we call Qoba and its carving is so detailed and all done by hand, it is really impressive.
The Hassan tour is peculiar and unique in its own way, because it is the unfinished Minaret of what was supposed to be the largest and tallest mosque in the world in 1196. The construction stopped when it’s founder Yacoub Al Mansour died. There are a LOT of columns around it that were destined to the mosque that make for really cool picture props now.
Kasbah of Oudayas
It is very probably my favorite place in the city. It is a true little fortress on the bank of the Bouregreg river. And guess what? People actually live between its blue narrow streets, and the people are SO welcoming there. Aside from roaming the streets you can wander around the gardens and visit the museum of Moroccan Arts.
OH, and if you don’t sit to sip on some Moroccan Tea and eat our traditional sweets in the Café des Maures then all of this was for nothing, its view is beautiful and so relaxing and ideal for you fellow writers. But don’t go on the weekend if you’re looking for calmness, it gets super crowded, the upside to it is that you can even encounter Gnaoua who are traditional musicians and singers that you can see in a picture below.
The Museum of Modern Art
This is a fairly new addition to the city. The Museum was ushered in 2014 by our King and is near the Old Medina (Note: Everything I just talked about isn’t far away from the Old Medina). Displayed inside of it are pieces of modern art from Moroccan as well as International artists. If you ask me, the monument itself is a piece of art, it has the Moroccan traditional signature to it while still being modern. If you’re an art lover, this is a must visit, plus the entry fees are very cheap, between 20 and 40 dirhams which is like 2 to 4 dollars more or less.
There are plenty other places to visit in Rabat and this post would be never ending if I talk about them all.
So, for us Muslims, it is now Ramadan. I thought what better time than to talk to you guys about Jellabas.
Jellabas are both men and women’s wear. Some of us wear them on a daily basis, generally older people, while others -including me- wear them only in some occasions, like religious holidays, or in this instance Ramadan to go to the mosque or see family. They are these long hooded dresses that can be really simple or very fancy that are handmade, usually tailored to the wearer’s style and wants, in all and any colors. Pictures speak better than words in situations like this one :
Here’s one last picture for the road, of me forever ago -2 years- in one of my Jellabas in the classiest way of picture taking, a mirror selfie :
The word stands for both the meal and the utensil, it is a staple in every Moroccan home, proof: These are only the ones we have at home.
Tajines are deliciousness that we eat with bread (homemade preferably) and WITH OUR HANDS, don’t you dare use a fork to eat it. You actually can if you’re not comfortable the other way around, but as we say “Half the taste is in the hand” and it is true, trust me, I know what I’m talking about. It is usually cooked with beef, sheep or chicken but sometimes other kinds of meat can be used. And any veggies you have at home can do the trick because the magic is in the spices (and the utensil). Dried fruits as well as nuts can be cooked in a Tagine too and that makes for more of a sweet-salty mix that you’d fall head over heels for if that’s your thing, and let’s face it, everyone loves it.
Well, this is a rubric that I yet have to implement and I hope you guys want to be a part of it. I want you to ask all kinds of questions about the country, the culture, anything and everything that crosses your mind and I’ll be more than happy to answer them in the next post.
We’ve reached the end of today’s post and I really really hope you liked it and that this made you want to buy a ticket ASAP and come over for a visit.
And I wanted to ask, if any of my Moroccan readers want me to showcase their city and would like to help with the post just send me an email and I would be happy to do it.
That’s it until next time.
Did you ever visit Morocco ? If so, what cities ? And what was your favorite part of your holiday here ?
Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.
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