A Travellerspoint blog

October 2017

Famous city of Fez has plenty to keep a tourist busy

By 1170, Fes was the largest city in the world with 200000 inhabitants

By 1170, Fes was the largest city in the world with 200000 inhabitants

Fes has the best preserved old city in the Arab world

Fes has the best preserved old city in the Arab world

A shot of the old medina from above; you get a sense of how tightly packed the buildings are

A shot of the old medina from above; you get a sense of how tightly packed the buildings are

Famous tanneries in Fes; gave us mint to put under our noses because smell was horrible

Famous tanneries in Fes; gave us mint to put under our noses because smell was horrible

A hanging camel head tells customers that camel meat is sold in the shop

A hanging camel head tells customers that camel meat is sold in the shop

Admired intricate process to make colorful ceramics; too bad I no longer own a house

Admired intricate process to make colorful ceramics; too bad I no longer own a house

Ceramics were hand-painted using natural dyes

Ceramics were hand-painted using natural dyes

Old medina is the largest car-free urban area in the world

Old medina is the largest car-free urban area in the world

Famous bronze doors to the Royal Palace

Famous bronze doors to the Royal Palace

Glaoui Palace was run by a scruffy artist in one of the oddest experiences of the trip

Glaoui Palace was run by a scruffy artist in one of the oddest experiences of the trip

Supposedly the first modern bathroom in Morocco; much bigger than any others I saw

Supposedly the first modern bathroom in Morocco; much bigger than any others I saw

Bab Boujeloud, the Blue Gate, is famous for its blue and green tiles; 1913

Bab Boujeloud, the Blue Gate, is famous for its blue and green tiles; 1913

Most fountains we saw were not working since Islam says water should be preserved

Most fountains we saw were not working since Islam says water should be preserved

Beautiful Islamic architecture at the world's oldest university, Qaraouiyine founded in 859

Beautiful Islamic architecture at the world's oldest university, Qaraouiyine founded in 859

Ornate 14th century architecture at Medersa Bouanania

Ornate 14th century architecture at Medersa Bouanania

Luckily I recognized the label! Even nicer that it was very inexpensive

Luckily I recognized the label! Even nicer that it was very inexpensive

Not at all unusual to see mules and donkeys on the city streets; even more common in rural areas

Not at all unusual to see mules and donkeys on the city streets; even more common in rural areas

Old medina is another UNESCO World Heritage Site

Old medina is another UNESCO World Heritage Site

I loved the ceilings throughout Morocco; designs are busy but very attractive

I loved the ceilings throughout Morocco; designs are busy but very attractive

The tour minivan was incredibly uncomfortable; the seats were narrow and cramped

The tour minivan was incredibly uncomfortable; the seats were narrow and cramped

Tannery had everything leather you could imagine made from goat, camel, lamb and cow

Tannery had everything leather you could imagine made from goat, camel, lamb and cow

Each area of the medina featured a different trade; here merchant is showing the colors he can dye (all naturally)

Each area of the medina featured a different trade; here merchant is showing the colors he can dye (all naturally)

Main ingredient in the vats is pigeon droppings which is high in ammonia and softens the hides

Main ingredient in the vats is pigeon droppings which is high in ammonia and softens the hides

Many alleys in medina were just wide enough to walk through; impossible not to get lost

Many alleys in medina were just wide enough to walk through; impossible not to get lost

Hand-painted tajine cookware; tajines are a Berber dish that is a type of stew with meat and vegetables

Hand-painted tajine cookware; tajines are a Berber dish that is a type of stew with meat and vegetables

Borj Sud Fortress provided great views of the city, Morocco's 2nd largest

Borj Sud Fortress provided great views of the city, Morocco's 2nd largest

Saw plenty of storks in Morocco; they liked staying at the Royal Palaces

Saw plenty of storks in Morocco; they liked staying at the Royal Palaces

Went to a ceramics factory where everything was hand-made and observed all steps in the production process

Went to a ceramics factory where everything was hand-made and observed all steps in the production process

Posted by VagabondCowboy 23:54 Comments (0)

UNESCO-listed Volubilis was key outpost of Roman Empire

Settlement was on southern edge of Roman Empire

Settlement was on southern edge of Roman Empire

Incredible that society had such talented artisans and wasn't focused on just surviving

Incredible that society had such talented artisans and wasn't focused on just surviving

Reminded that in many places not much has changed here in centuries

Reminded that in many places not much has changed here in centuries

Triumphal Arch built 217AD with lengthy dedication to Caesar

Triumphal Arch built 217AD with lengthy dedication to Caesar

Walls went 1.6 miles around city and averaged 5.2 feet thick; there were 34 towers and 6 main gates

Walls went 1.6 miles around city and averaged 5.2 feet thick; there were 34 towers and 6 main gates

Morocco was SW extreme of Roman Empire

Morocco was SW extreme of Roman Empire

The best mosaics are shown in a small museum on-site

The best mosaics are shown in a small museum on-site

Main street was lined with the grand houses for which Volubilis is famous

Main street was lined with the grand houses for which Volubilis is famous

Much of Volubilis remains to be excavated; mosaics were very impressive

Much of Volubilis remains to be excavated; mosaics were very impressive

Settlement only covered 30 acres but was compact to aid in defense; walls surrounded settlement

Settlement only covered 30 acres but was compact to aid in defense; walls surrounded settlement

Town thrived under Romans in 2nd century AD but fell to local tribes in 285 AD

Town thrived under Romans in 2nd century AD but fell to local tribes in 285 AD

The Capitoline Temple; many impressive bronze sculptures were found here

The Capitoline Temple; many impressive bronze sculptures were found here

Nearby holy town of Moulay Idriss Zerhoun was, until recently, off-limits to non-Muslims

Nearby holy town of Moulay Idriss Zerhoun was, until recently, off-limits to non-Muslims

Prosperous settlement based on olives with affluent homes having elaborate mosaics

Prosperous settlement based on olives with affluent homes having elaborate mosaics

Much of Volubilis remained intact until the Lisbon earthquake in 1755

Much of Volubilis remained intact until the Lisbon earthquake in 1755

Volubilis easy day trip from Meknes if you have a car or local guide

Volubilis easy day trip from Meknes if you have a car or local guide

Stork nest; settlement was completely abandoned around the 11th century

Stork nest; settlement was completely abandoned around the 11th century

In recent decades Morocco has built more hydroelectric plants; rain usually only in winter

In recent decades Morocco has built more hydroelectric plants; rain usually only in winter

Common to see roadside stalls selling everything imaginable

Common to see roadside stalls selling everything imaginable

Posted by VagabondCowboy 05:40 Comments (0)

UNESCO-listed Meknes is vibrant, Imperial city

Vendors throughout the country always had perfectly displayed products

Vendors throughout the country always had perfectly displayed products

Huge Bab Mansour gate features marble columns and ornate tile work 1732

Huge Bab Mansour gate features marble columns and ornate tile work 1732

Morocco mainly has sole proprietor businesses; cash only (currency is the dirham)

Morocco mainly has sole proprietor businesses; cash only (currency is the dirham)

Snuck a peek inside the golf course at the Royal Palace; storks love the high walls

Snuck a peek inside the golf course at the Royal Palace; storks love the high walls

Man was walking around selling roosters

Man was walking around selling roosters

Crowded streets with hardly any tourists in the medina

Crowded streets with hardly any tourists in the medina

Medinas typically very old and free of cars; use donkeys or mules for heavy loads

Medinas typically very old and free of cars; use donkeys or mules for heavy loads

Lots of colorful ceramics sold throughout country but bought no souvenirs

Lots of colorful ceramics sold throughout country but bought no souvenirs

Huge 17th century granary could store feed for sultan's 12000 horses for 20 years

Huge 17th century granary could store feed for sultan's 12000 horses for 20 years

The historic city of Meknes is a UNESCO World Heritage Site

The historic city of Meknes is a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Imperial cities of Morocco are Fes, Meknes, Rabat and Marrakesh

Imperial cities of Morocco are Fes, Meknes, Rabat and Marrakesh

Walls surrounding the Royal Palace just went on and on and on

Walls surrounding the Royal Palace just went on and on and on

Dima and Katia from Cologne and Katherine from Vietnam join Lee for lunch

Dima and Katia from Cologne and Katherine from Vietnam join Lee for lunch

Very few Moroccans spoke much English; really needed to know French

Very few Moroccans spoke much English; really needed to know French

Posted by VagabondCowboy 23:57 Comments (0)

Rabat-Modern City and UNESCO-listed Historical Center

The unfinished Hassan Tower, the symbol of the city, was built in 1199

The unfinished Hassan Tower, the symbol of the city, was built in 1199

Many of the Moroccan streets are beautifully lined with palms

Many of the Moroccan streets are beautifully lined with palms

River Bou Regreg separates Rabat from Sale

River Bou Regreg separates Rabat from Sale

Mausoleum of Mohommad V, father of current leader

Mausoleum of Mohommad V, father of current leader

Ostentatious interior of Mausoleum of Mohammed V completed in 1971

Ostentatious interior of Mausoleum of Mohammed V completed in 1971

The Citadel overlooks the river on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on another

The Citadel overlooks the river on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on another

The most crowded cemetery I've ever seen

The most crowded cemetery I've ever seen

Rabat is the capital of Morocco with 2.6 million people in the metro area

Rabat is the capital of Morocco with 2.6 million people in the metro area

Lee spent lots of time looking for the best local food

Lee spent lots of time looking for the best local food

Locals enjoying the beach with many playing soccer

Locals enjoying the beach with many playing soccer

Prices were very cheap throughout Morocco; even on Coke Zero!

Prices were very cheap throughout Morocco; even on Coke Zero!

Tour group-2 Germans, 1 Vietnamese, 1 Canadian and 8 Aussies plus Lee and me

Tour group-2 Germans, 1 Vietnamese, 1 Canadian and 8 Aussies plus Lee and me

Immaculate dome of Mausoleum of Mohammed V

Immaculate dome of Mausoleum of Mohammed V

Not too hot for us but well into the 100s in summer

Not too hot for us but well into the 100s in summer

City, only an hour from Casablanca by train, has an old medina on peninsula

City, only an hour from Casablanca by train, has an old medina on peninsula

Unfinished Hassan Tower is only half of its planned 86 meter height

Unfinished Hassan Tower is only half of its planned 86 meter height

Several cities had Royal Palaces but always off-limits to visitors

Several cities had Royal Palaces but always off-limits to visitors

Posted by VagabondCowboy 00:13 Comments (0)

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