Morocco – Emirates Tourism Magazine :
Fez: an enchanting journey into the heart of Morocco
Fez is the enthusiastic guarding fort of Arabic-Spanish culture and civilization, dawning in all history-redolent beauty in Morocco. All its endlessly intersecting alleys reek with religious, cultural and artistic traditions that made this royal city the favorite residential spot and the administrative capital for several dynasties. It is a highly vibrant and hospitable city that welcomes its visitors and that however hardly unveils its secrets. Such secrets are embodied in hilltops where Merinide Cemeteries are located, and where a glowing sea of copper color roofs topping sun-bathed walls and encompassing a hidden treasure that quickly reveals itself to the visitors. For, architects successively carried out the building of the city, faithful craftsmen dedicated their lives to the adoration of it, and poets wrote their best poems about it. On the other hand, and since it was a coveted jewel for certain colonizers, historians worked hard to protect its history from harm. Therefore, the city shines today as a guarded gem of a glorious past that was handed down to us over a long history. Indeed, its bright and towering magnificence has always been there since times beyond history.
Meknes perches on top a hill like a queen sitting on a throne, in a manner that imposes royal awe in the hearts of its visitors. This flourishing city in the fertile Middle Atlas regions has risen to the status of an endeared capital during the reign of Sultan Moulay Ismail, the main without whose vaulting ambition, all such magnificent buildings in the city would have not seen the light.
For, thirty thousand laborers were subdued to transform a single man’s dream into an unbelievable reality, building dozens of palaces of peerless beauty, magnificent mosques, fancy squares, colossal gates, elegant homes, deep basins, fortresses, spacious gardens, and castles and walls stretching over miles. All these constructions were built synchronously within the making of the unique city. The city was also marked for steeping green minarets of polygonal shapes.
Though the project was not fully completed, the yards empty of buildings still gives the modern visitors an enjoyable sense of calmness and serenity. Meknes, the city born out of a sense of love and dreaming, narrates through every single stone in it the tale of its bustling and glorious past and extraordinary construction that is worth of being recorded in history.
Proceeding from Rabat Qasabah (Fortress/City), a small skiff crosses the calm Bouregreg Valley and anchors in Sala, the slumbering city for centuries on the large Atlantic bank. It overlooks the ocean reflecting the ancient images of the thousand pirate ships cruising towards the distant seas before they return brimmed with abundant spoils that had procured affluence and greatness for the city. The calcined walls of the city open into the milky alleys of the ancient city, where famous craft manufactures accumulate.
Besides, the muddy soil and neighboring stone quarries provide raw material necessary for several manufactures. In Sala, too, ceramics industry has become an established art, and as visitors tour across the winding paths among pots and flasks placed on the ground, they end up a few steps away from the heart of the city (downtown). There, visitors cannot but wonder at the large mosque and the school built ancient architects. From there, they can enjoy the view of a floor of white terraces submerged in the ocean.
Rabat, the white city, was built by a mirror-like river that reflects a history of long centuries that made the city of the Muwahideen a royal city, whose royal imprint is more palpable than that of any other similar city. Rabat is located by Bouregreg Estuary, and it is the administrativeand political capital of the kingdom, which contains the royal palace, the government headquarters and the ministries complex. This city that calmly perches within its walls is marked for its moderate weather and quiet atmosphere as if it were a rural town.
How magical are the Oudayas gardens, how magnificent are the historical monuments, and how splendid is the Chellah Cemetery! The golden beaches and the Dar As Salam Golf enjoys peerless beauty. Rabat is not just a real city for the residents, but is also a royal city for all its visitors.
Ad Dar Al Bayda’ (Casablanca)
Ad Dar Al Bayda’ or Casablanca is the economic capital and the internationally acknowledged city, which derived its name from the few aging white houses near the city walls. It was fully rebuilt starting from 1920, and today it is an example to successful colonial planning. The center of the city combines the ways of decorative art and the new Moroccan art, and it is an emblem of harmony and balance, which is reflected in the huge Hassan II mosque to Zevaco Dome overlooking the United Nation Square. This most modern Moroccan city combines tradition and modernity in a unique manner, with its architectural engineering that favors straight lines and simple shapes, which impart a halo around the advanced city that is open towards the world. There, new ways, ideas and inclinations endlessly generate.
The attractive Casablanca, which occupies a prominent position among the cities of the kingdom, will always urge you to call it by its nice short name, Casa.
Behind theArgan forests that are grooved with several valleys, the road leading to Essaouira furcates towards Safi Port. Safi is an old city that is worth visiting due to its ancient citadels and vibrant heart, encompassingDar Al Bahr fortress, which was employed in guarding the old port. It is also marked for the beautiful view of the mosque and the monuments of the Portuguese Cathedral, the choir of which is roofed by a dome on which veins of types of symbols and sculptures are carved.
At the foot of the hill lies the Potters’ District, which procured fame for the city, with its furnaces, trading avenues, and craftsmen preoccupied with the manufacture of pottery, ceramicists and ceramic ware of various types. It is a scenic view mostly featuring clay of all types. No wonder, the huge AlQashla Citadel has turned into a national ceramics museum, where you can come upon rare antiques with painted, fine architectural drawings. The blue, white and silver painting of the drawings, with its graded brightness, capture the admiration of visitors.
The originally Portuguese, and formerly Marjan, small port city of El Jadida is marked for its location that is situated at the feet of a vast coast. It coast extends between two soaring rocks overlooking the ocean and below an ancient citadel that stood firm against the ravages of time.
The city’s strong fortresses and monitoring centers facing the ocean remind of the ancient times, the times of spears, axes, rifles, and sailing vessels cruising over the horizon.
Its neighboring Azemmour is a galaxy of small cubic houses of white front, and its alleys are adorned with Bougainvillaea, pomegranates, and olive trees that provide the tourists with whatever they need for quiet picnics.