No, you’re not dreaming! I’ve finally had time to write another #FMTM post. Okay, I don’t really have time but I’m making it anyway because I miss these posts and I hope you do too. The last one was like 3 months ago (?!?) about the Blue City, this time it’s the Ocher city. I frankly don’t know what us Moroccans have with naming our cities after colors but it’s always for a reason. A reason you’ll find out a little farther down. Previous posts were all about The Capital, Beaches down South and the Blue City. Without further ado, let’s dive in.
Random Fact: The Cop22 –United Nation Conference on Climate Change– this year was in Marrakech, the ocher city.
If you know Morocco then Marrakech is most probably the only city you know, if not that, then the first one you ever knew because it’s the most famous place here and also the one that gets the most tourist traffic for some reason. Foreigners just love it there haha! And I bet you would too, it’s a beautiful place! It is called the ochre city simply because every single building of it is painted a different shade of red.
What inspired me to finally write this post is the fact that I was there a couple of weeks ago with my family and that reminded me of how much I love it. It is such a vibrant city, always buzzing with activity and people. It is also so very rich with places to visit, historical and more modern. And here are a few favorites of mine:
Jemaa El Fna
This is not a monument by any stretch of the world but it is historical and a staple piece of Morocco, one you can’t go without visiting. Jemaa El Fna is a public Square that was, back in the 12th century, dedicated to public executions. Morbid, I know! But do not fear, it couldn’t be farther away from that now, it is a magical place, animated by hundreds of dancers, traditional storytellers, actors, games, there are also dozens of Orange Juice sellers -which they make in front of you, Henna designing type women, but I wouldn’t recommend getting it from them because they’ll rob you off, you can get it for much cheaper elsewhere. Local type, you’re welcome!
Oh! You can also find snake charmers which can let you hold them snakes and take picture with them, there are monkeys as well.
Other than that, there are Souks which as I explained before are a traditional kind of market, where you can find localy crafted things. There is one that’s called Tle3 Hbet, which literally means Up and Down because it has lots of stairs going up and down. Obviously, haha! You can find there everything I talked about in the other posts, from wood and metal decorative pieces, to shoes and babouches including outfits, jewelery, food, spices, etc… There also a café-restaurant there with a dope view on the whole square and it is stunning,, especially at night !
Fun Fact: I got lost there when I was 5 years old which traumatized me and that’s an experience I’ll never forget. Not so fun, to be honest haha!
The Koutoubia Mosque
It is across the avenue from Jemaa El Fna so you can do both in a day. It is from around the same time as the square and was built by The AlMoravides Dynasty. It has a beautiful structures and one of the biggest interiors, it can hold up to 20 thousand people. It also has some pretty gardens next to it that I remember playing it all the time as a kid (my aunt lives there and I spent all my holidays with her).
You’re going to laugh at me but for all the times I’ve been to Marrakech, I never stepped foot in those gardens and I’M DYING TO. From what I know, it is such a gorgeous place to just walk and take a breath of fresh, maybe even to find inspiration. Also, taking killer pictures anyone? Yes, please!! It was created by French painter Jacque Majorelle. It is basically beautiful shady lanes, where you can walk surrounded by exotic plants and little pools and fountains. It is also VERY blue! (Can you tell that it is my favorite color?)
Well, this isn’t exactly IN Marrakech but if you love nature, physical activity and adrenaline this is the place for you. It is an estate located at the foothill of the Atlas mountains, 30 minutes away from the city where you can lodge, eat and do a gazillion activities like zip-lining, accro park, archery, rock climbing and many others. And even if you don’t like any of these, you can just lounge by the pool, reading a book (appealing, right?) with a breath-taking view.
What’s cool about this place is that it employes local families which means that they don’t have to leave their homes and go to the city looking for jobs. It is also eco-friendly. You can sleep in huts or rooms and the food is 100% traditional. They receive couples, families, groups of friends, as well as business team and they can do orientating and team building activities just for them.
Jabadours are a two piece traditional “suit” in the sense of it’s made of a top and pants. Originally, only men wore them but they came to make ones for women too, even though we still don’t wear them that often, only in the more “chill” special occasions do we wear them, in fact I don’t even own one, I haven’t in years haha! They’re typically worn on there own as well as under Jellabas for women, and as for men, they wear them with a Selham which is a kind of superhero cape, but not really. (I am amazing at explaining things) I really like them because you look dressed up while still being very comfy.
I’m drooling just thinking of this. Honestly! I’m inviting all of you and making it for lunch. It is a steamed semolina (Steamed 3 times, that number is key to a great couscous) served with all kinds of veggies and meat. The most common one is served with cow meat, potatoes, carrots, zucchini, pumkin, turnip and cabbage. But there are other kinds that berbers make, and being one I’ve had all kinds. There’s a kind with lentils, another with only carrots and broad beans, another with zucchini and eggplant. And they’re all so so yummy, though I must admit my favorite is the first and basic one!
We typically serve it for lunch Fridays after the prayer but for families that are busy that day and don’t get together after prayer, we have it on Sundays where we can all gather and spend some quality family time.
As in the last post, I had no asked questions that section is missing from today’s post BUT if you have ANY kinds of question you want to ask about the culture, the customs, the people, ANYTHING, feel free to ask them in the comments and I’ll make sure to answer them in the next post.
That’s it until next time.
Did you ever visit Morocco ? If so, what cities ? And If you have any questions, leave themm in the comments below!
Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.
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