Wednesday, 18 October 2017
Our guide gave us an early morning briefing.
A special look out to view the FES Medina. FES has one and half million residents. 200,00 live in the Medina, the oldest and largest in the world built in 9th century.
First stop the royal palace in Fes. The oldest city in Morocco. New gates built in 1963.
Georgia and Emerald show off the gates.
Nearby is the Jewish quarter. The Jews arrived from Spain after they were expelled with the onset of the Inquisition in the 15th century. Only a few hundred remain, emigrating to Israel and other centres in the 1940s and 50s.
A visit to a local ceramic factory. We saw the whole process.
Colours used for hand painted dishes
Constructing the mosaics
Then we drove through the main gates into the Medina. The gates used to be closed overnight but now you can access the Medina at all times. It is only open for business during the day and at night it becomes purely residential.
Tiny alleyways - no bikes - only mule transport
Residential doors - very plain, which don’t give any indication to the highly decorated and stylish decors of the interiors.
Alleyways weave in and out - very easy to get lost
The only butcher selling camel meat.
The copper souk
Our tour guide bought some shoes at the leather outlet where we viewed the tanneries.
Leather being carried to be processed.
The oldest madrasa in the world. Imams trained for 12 years in this exquisite building.
Lunch at a restaurant in the Medina
We particularly liked the hot Moroccan salads which was part of the set menu.
The fabric souk.
Georgia is shown how to tie a turban
Lots of fascinating artefacts
Tuesday, 17 October 2017
Efficient breakfast in the hotel cafe.
9am start. First port of call a vantage point photo of the Meknes Medina - our destination today. 200,000 residents live within the walls.
The Thursday Gate, originally the entry to the Jewish Quarter, particularly for the Thursday market day. In the 15th century many Spanish Jews escaped to Morocco to avoid the Inquisition. They were welcomed because of their skills. Only a few hundred still remain in Morocco as many relocated to Israel and other parts of Europe after 1947.
The reservoir, water brought from Mountain areas to service Meknes needs.
A local guide took us to the granary storage established 400 years ago.
Our eloquent guide
Adjoining the grain storage were the royal stables, inspired by the Andalucia horse stables, loved by the Sultan - as much as his royal harem! The horses roamed free in this area and slaves cared and cleaned up after them - from 400 years ago.
Through another Medina gate into the crafts area.
Metallic thread work, introduced from craftsmen in Toledo.
Beautiful stitch work from local women
Mint tea at a rooftop cafe nearby
Another important gate, with intricate decoration, boardering the main market.
We ventured through one of the many gateways
The fabulous markets
Especially the olive displays
Outside targines of every description
The Meknes markets
Picnic lunch purchases at Carrefour supermarket..even spices on sale in bulk
Picnic at a cafe in Volubilis - with an extra tip on drinks for use of facilities before our tour.
Volubilis, a Roman Town, established about the same time as Baelo Claudia near TARIFA. It’s heyday was around 200AD in Caligula’s reign. It was established in this fertile area. It was abandoned in the 3rd century. Excavations began in 1917.
Another hour and half drive east to Fes.
A major dam. A priority of Moroccan government to construct many more to guarantee water for farming areas.
A roadside cafe at the dam lookout. Gourds, pomegranates and mars made from cactus fibre.
Our hotel, Fes Inn
The whole Moroccan experience
Dinner in the hotel tonight - first time wine was on the menu. We chose a MEKNES red.
Action-packed program with lovely people. We are both enjoying it immensely.