|Posted by Alecia Cohen on March 26, 2021 at 1:05 AM||comments (115)|
Travel Exploration Morocco Private Tours has been awarded the Trip Advisor 2020 Traveler's Choice Award. The Trip Advisor Traveler's Choice is a coveted award program that celebrates travelers’ favorite travel agencies, hotels, restaurants, and airlines around the world, honoring over 4,000 unique businesses each year. Traveler's Choice Winners are calculated based on the quality and quantity of the millions of reviews, opinions, and ratings collected on Tripadvisor in 2019, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. With over 8.7 million businesses listed on Tripadvisor, these awards are a testament to the service and quality that winners consistently provide to their guests. Travelers’ Choice (formerly Certificate of Excellence) recognizes businesses that earn consistently great user reviews. Travelers’ Choice winners are among the top 1% of listings on Tripadvisor.
Travel Exploration Morocco Private Tours achievement is a direct result of consistently receiving positive reviews from Morocco travelers who have shared their experiences on Trip Advisor’s website. The Trip a 2020 Traveler's Choice Award Award is a testament to Travel Exploration’s High Standards and Service provided for couples, family, and small group tours who have visited Morocco with Travel Exploration. TripAdvisor places a spotlight on businesses that are focused on delivering great service to customers. As a winner of the 2020 Travelers Choice Award, Travel Exploration Morocco guarantees to continue offering a wide array of services ranging and private tours: Adventure Tours to Morocco, Imperial City Tours, Honeymoon Tours, Jewish Heritage Tours, and Sahara Desert Tours. Our agency is also committed to providing the best quality accommodations from Luxury Boutique Hotels to Luxury Riads including Relais & Châteaux and Boutique Hotel of the World 5 Star properties.
|Posted by Alecia Cohen on March 26, 2021 at 12:50 AM||comments (111)|
The world changed dramatically in 2020 as the result of Covid 19 with travel coming to a full halt. After a year of being cooped up, resigned to limited travel domestically and internationally; now is the time to hit the ground running and choose one of the 6 Best Private Tours in Morocco. Boldly situated on the far northwestern corner of Africa and one of the ancient intersections of civilization, Morocco is the ideal place to vacation given the possibilities it offers to combine city and rural adventure. Morocco boasts some of the world's foremost Moorish, Art Deco and Andalusian architecture, Roman ruins, majestic gardens, glorious houses of worship and exotic food markets. The country's expansive shoreline stretch from the Atlantic Ocean through the Strait of Gibraltar to the Mediterranean Sea. Morocco's dramatic landscapes include lush plains, high mountains, and the Sahara Desert.
The 6 Best Private Tours in Morocco guarantee a unique experience with Expert Guides and a Tailor-Made Tour Itinerary. Morocco Private Tours are fully escorted and customized. Each trip achieves a fine balance of discovering Imperial Cities, visiting Medieval Medinas along with the diverse landscapes throughout the Atlas regions, and participating in a wide range of activities such as a cooking class, food tour or sidecar ride. Insider experiences are a must. Some of the highlights Morocco offers that combine culture and adventure are, trekking the High Atlas Mountains, sipping tea and dining on couscous with a Berber family, breaking bread with Nomads who live in caves and indulging in a traditional Moroccan spa experience; while staying at a palatial boutique riad. For those with deep pockets a trip to the Moroccan desert is a must. A private flight to the South can speed up the long drive in preparation for a Sahara Desert Safari. Whether you are looking for a One-Week Private Tours in Morocco or a Signature Tour that is long, choosing one of the 6 Best Private Tours in Morocco will enable you to begin a lifetime memorable travel journey for the years to come.
6 Best Private Tours in Morocco 1001 Arabian Nights Tour - Become apart of a One thousand and one Arabian Nights Tale as you trek by camel across Sahara Desert’s Saffron colored sand dunes. Explore the unique flora and fauna with your Berber guide and overnight by a luxury desert camp within an Oasis, under the Moroccan stars. Visit ancient, crenulated Kasbahs and Moroccan palaces. Learn about the hidden secrets of the Bedouin tribes and the Moors. Visit the Draa Valley region’s palm groves in a 4x4 where ancient caravan’s once passed. Sip Tea and eat couscous in the Saghro Mountains with a Berber family and meet Nomads who have lived in a caves for centuries.
Splendors of Morocco Tour - Tour Morocco's Imperial Cities and the Great Sahara Desert region and Berber Villages. This is the perfect private tour for first time travelers to Morocco. Offered on a Mid-range or Morocco Luxury Tour basis, Splendors of Morocco offers a blend of site seeing and an in-depth Moroccan Cultural experience. Explore Moorish Architecture, Andalusian Gardens, Jewish Heritage Sites, Ancient, Kasbahs and Valleys. Discover UNESCO Heritage Sites and Lost Morocco's lost Medieval cities.
Sahara Desert Safarai - Visit Morocco's Sahara Desert on a 5 Day Private Tour from Marrakech. This Sahara Desert Private Tour includes stays at stylish and Boutique Riads and Guest Houses, an overnight in a Luxury Desert Camp, time in the Skoura Palm Groves, Berber Villages, visits of Morocco's Historic Kasbahs, Camel Trekking in the Erg Chebbi Dunes and the option to Hike in the Dades Valley Region. Perfect for couples, families and independent travelers seeking adventure from Marrakech.
Morocco Discovery Tour - This 9-Day Morocco Discovery Tour is ideal for first time travelers to Morocco or for those with a limited timeframe. Our Morocco Discovery Tour offers a private, guided exploration of the Imperial Cities, Sahara Desert region, Skoura Palm Groves, Berber Villages and the High Atlas Mountains. Travelers will discover UNESCO Heritage Sites, venture to the back streets of Fes on a Food Tasting Tour, Camel Trek in the Sahara Desert, Sip Tea with a Berber Family and Trek the High Atlas. You will experience an insider's view of the country on this Moroccan Odyssey.
Imperial Morocco Tour - Visit the Imperial Cities of Morocco, the Blue washed Rif town of Chefchaouen and the High Atlas. Travel to Morocco's Imperial Cities and the High Atlas, a fascinating and adventurous tour for first time travelers to Morocco.
Gardens of Morocco Tour - Discover the tradition and history of Moroccan Gardens on this special guided tour written by horticultural and garden enthusiasts. Journey through the Maghreb’s most private and public green spaces and places. Great pleasure of the senses will be experienced on this exotic 10-Day tour that includes Morocco’s Imperial Cities and rural regions. The Gardens of Morocco Tour is an ideal way to connect with fellow garden enthusiasts. Discover ancient cities led by licensed historical guides, gardens with expert Gardeners, Botanists, Nurserymen and Herbalists Morocco’s ancient culture is steeped in rich traditions not to be missed.
|Posted by Alecia Cohen on March 26, 2021 at 12:20 AM||comments (102)|
Discover a Secret Marrakech on a Vintage Sidecar excursion. Explore an insiders view of Marrakech and the surrounding region. A private side car excursion options include going off the beaten path to the High Atlas, the Agafay Desert's Stone Camp along or city adventure through the back alleys of the Marrakech medina.
Morocco's sidecar ride experience is tailor-made and designed according to each travelers level of interests, respectful of the local culture and all inclusive to offer a memorable experience. A Sidecar excursion is one of the many things to do in Morocco that is perfect for couples, honeymooners or the entire family.
4 Vintage Sidecar Adventures are: #1: Essential Ride: On this one hour and a half open-air Moroccan sidecar adventure, you can either choose to immerse yourself in the quaint Marrakech of the 1920s, discover the most authentic neighborhoods of the Medina or enjoy a shot of greenery in the mythical palm grove. With its ancient Art Deco buildings, its former open-air cinema, the very first hotel built in 1918, its dusty clock shop and its former Mines Counter, the 1920s Gueliz district testifies of the daily life during the former French Protectorate. A ride in History. Another page of history opens up in front of your eyes if you decide to discover the stunning Medina of Marrakech. Ride through the most remote and authentic neighborhoods to witness the local life in the Kasbah district, a former fortress reserved for the employees of the Royal Palace, the Mellah, the former Jewish neighborhood or the flea market in Bab El Khemiss taking place every Thursday and Sunday. Further away, you can choose to discover the palm grove, once a very fertile oasis, this piece of land only known nowadays for its luxurious villas, gave birth to the entire Tensift region almost a thousand years ago thanks to its ingenious underground irrigation systems. After this last stop, your insider will take you back to your hotel or any other place in downtown Marrakech.
#2: The Secret Ride On this one hour and a half open-air Moroccan sidecar adventure, you can either choose to immerse yourself in the quaint Marrakech of the 1920s, discover the most authentic neighborhoods of the Medina or enjoy a shot of greenery in the mythical palm grove. In the Medina’s beautiful maze, through the ancient French neighborhood or in the mythical palm grove, Marrakech is full of surprises. A vivid flea market, secret gardens behind closed doors, old art deco buildings or khettaras in the palm grove are just a few of the many hidden treasures we will introduce you to on this unusual open-air ride.
3: The Atlas Ride Head out for a full day of Insider Moroccan sidecar expedition in the high altitude regions of the Atlas mountains. Have lunch in a preserved berber village and learn about its traditional daily life, hunt for ancestral rock paintings on a brisk cliff and explore an impressive canyon or a berber traditional market before coming back via the scenic roads of the Agafay stone desert.
#4: The Agafay Desert Ride This special Moroccan sidecar excursion is like no other pairing the dry tolerant scenery of the desert with unique landscapes with a magnificent Altas backdrop. Cruise through the unreal landscape of the Agafay stone desert outside Marrakech with its berber villages and gorgeous oases. Discover the 16th century koranic school still inhabited by the descendants of its holly founder and wrap things up with a delicious lunch in a luxurious camp in the middle of the stone desert facing the Atlas mountains.
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|Posted by Alecia Cohen on September 13, 2020 at 5:20 AM||comments (104)|
The city of Marrakech ranks as one of the World's Top 10 Travel destinations. It has been coveted for decades by family's and independent travelers who seek exotic adventure along with modern-day jet setters who come for luxury and limelight. Ideal for R&R, Marrakech's Riads, and chic boutique hotels have become a key highlight for those who visit. Travelers can revel in Marrakech's Riad interiors, lush Moorish gardens blooming with cacti and bougainvillea, and sunbathe on rooftop terraces accompanied by views of the High Atlas. Surrounded by courtyard gardens with trickling fountains, Riads also offers the perfect atmosphere to sip on a signature cocktail poolside. Marrakech's Riads and Boutique Hotels serve as the perfect escape while taking in the sites and sounds of the "red city." Travelers can indulge in a lavish Moroccan meal, discover the bustling souks, and majestic mosques or simply decompress, with a traditional hammam and infused argan oil massage treatment. “This is a wonderful place and it is the most lovely spot in the whole world.” So said Winston S. Churchill to Franklin D. Roosevelt about Marrakech in 1943. Marrakech's Top 10 Riads are charming, well-appointed properties located in the heart of the historic medina. They are sought after by travelers alike yet still remain hidden jewels of the city. Marrakech’s Top 10 Boutique Riads & Hotels
|Posted by Alecia Cohen on July 3, 2020 at 8:45 AM||comments (141)|
Morocco stepped up during the COVID19 pandemic making it a success story and a top destination for travelers seeking a long-needed escape. The country offers fascinating Imperial cities with historic architecture, magnificent gardens, glorious houses of worship, scenic valleys and gorges along with a vast coastline that stretches across both the Atlantic and Mediterranean sea. Shopping in the souks and bustling markets of Marrakech, trekking across the Erg Chebbi Dunes in the Sahara Desert and windsurfing on the coast of Essaouira are some of the activities you can indulge in on vacation in Morocco post COVID19.
Where to Vacation in Morocco Post COVID19. Imperial Cities - Tour Morocco's Imperial Capitols led by a Moroccan guide. Explore majestic mosques, heritage sites, glorious markets, Andalusian gardens, and Romain ruins. Discover the backstreets of Fes on a Souk Tasting Tour. Stroll through ancient medinas. Experience the famous Djemaa el Fna Square at sunset. Take a Kalech ride on the cobblestoned paths of Marrakech. An Imperial City tour is ideal for couples and families who want to delve into Morocco's history, architecture and hear the ancient stories of the Jewish mellah
Valley’s & Gorges - Morocco's valleys and vast gorges make up the country's sprawling landscapes in the south. The Dades Valley is one of Morocco's natural wonders and covers 125 km between the Todra Gorge and Ouarzazate. The Dades Valley boasts limestone cliffs with uniquely shaped erosions and superb scenery along the valley’s piste. Touring the Dades Valley you will pass flower-filled fields, fertile agricultural fields, riverbanks, and several fortified ksours. At the bottom of the Gorge of Boulmane Dades, there are ruined hilltop kasbahs and valley floor gardens. One of the valleys most sought after views is it's rock formations often referred to as "monkey's fingers." This region is perfect for an arduous hike if you are an adventure traveler whereby you will witness stunning views and trek through Berber villages. All hikes are guided by a licensed and trained Morocco guide and include picnic lunch.
The Todra Gorge is Morocco's grand canyon located in the eastern part of the High Atlas Mountains in southern Morocco near the town of Tinghir. Both the Todra River and Dades River have carved out the cliff-sided canyons. Touring the Todra Gorge region guarantees a scenic drive along newly built roads. You will pass the mouth of the gorge and with extended time reach the villages of Ait Hani and Tamtattouchte. The Todra Gorge extends from the village of Tamtattouchte to Tinghir. With cliffs rising dramatically up to 300m on each side of a narrow corridor, the Todra Gorge a spectacle with its gigantic rock walls changing color to create magical effects with the sunlight. A day at the Todra Gorge offers the option of extreme climbing, hiking, and sightseeing. A fun and strenuous hike involve a three-hour loop used by donkeys and mules heading north of the main gorge to Tizgui, home of palmeries and ancient kasbahs. For a lighter hike, try the Petit Gorge entering at the mouth of the gorge. The mouth is an enclosed section with overhanging cliffs and is the most dramatic scenery in the gorge. Climbing in the Todra Gorge is an unforgettable experience.
Morocco's Great Desert Regions - Morocco's great desert regions of Zagora, M'hamid, and Merzouga are vast and wonderous. The desert's fresh air and open spaces allow for a wide variety of adventure activities ideal for a vacation post COVID19. Zagora Desert, known for its sunsets and breathtaking valleys, is a commonplace to begin a camel trek. Zagora is also famous for being a base to travel to Timbuktu; on one of Zagora’s streets, is a famous sign stating “52 days to Timbuktu”. In the 9th century, traders went back and forth on this Saharan Caravan Route, which went from Zagora to Timbuktu in fifty-two days. Traders carried salt, gold, slaves, and spices. Its main destination point was Sijiilmassa, present-day Rissani (Merzouga).
M’hamid Desert was once an important market place for nomadic and trans-Saharan trade. M’hamid has one of the two sand seas in Morocco where you can camel trek. The most easily accessible dunes are those at Erg Lehoudi (Dunes of the Jews) which can be reached by camel or piste with a 4x4. There are also the Erg Chegaga sand dunes which are remote and more difficult to reach than the Erg Chebbi dunes of Merzouga. While the journey to the dunes takes about two days, it is a true reward to arrive and see this protected area inhabited by the traditional semi-nomadic Aït Atta Berbers. For an authentic Sahara experience, Erg Chegaga’s dunes are worth the visit. The Erg Chebbi Dunes at Merzouga are indisputably one of the greatest sights of Morocco. These giant hills of smooth sand line the Algerian border and are a must-see for everyone. Camel trekking at sunrise or an overnight adventure to an oasis in Merzouga is one of the most enchanting and memorable experiences one can have in the Sahara. An overnight trip to sleep in a bivouac (Berber tent) by an oasis will give you the true feeling as to how the Berbers have lived and still live today nomadically.
Beaches & Coastal Towns - Morocco is sandwiched between the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts, you won’t have trouble finding a beautiful beach for your Morocco vacation while taking in the local seafood fare. If you choose to relax by the tranquil Mediterranean shores, you are in store for unspoiled Moroccan beaches with dramatic scenery of rocky inlets and headlands. In comparison, the beaches by the 2000 mile turquoise lit Moroccan Atlantic shore are more popular as they are lined with pristine stretches of sand. You will surely be astounded by the sand dunes, mythical cliffs, and bluffs when traveling to the seaside of Morocco. The most popular Atlantic beach resorts for a Moroccan vacation are Essaouira, Sidi Kaouki, Mirleft & Legzira Baech, and Agadir. All have stunning sandy beaches with a plethora of exciting things to see and do.
Essaouira affectionately referred to as “swera” by locals, is a windy city on Morocco’s Northern Atlantic Coast. Essaouira is a top-rated destination for families for its multitude of things to do with kids. Ideal for families honeymooners and Morocco travelers Essaouira’s white and blue washed medina is revered for its charming ramparts, vibrant art galleries, shopping, and seafood gastronomy. Just three hours from the hustle and bustle of Marrakech this coastal town is the perfect weekend getaway with an abundance of unique accommodation options ranging from quaint, countryside villas, to luxury riads and hotels with sea views. Families who have an interest in vacationing at an artistic seaside community and with a penchant for adventure should add Essaouira to their bucket list.
Sidi Kaouki is a Berber coastal town 30 minutes south of Essaouira. The beach in this remote region is unspoiled and strikes a perfect balance with offering an ideal place for kite and windsurfers while staying true to its African roots. Sidi Kaouki is known for its great waves, reefs, and breakpoints. Camels saunter across the sand dunes while locals sell hand made items with local guides offering camel treks and horseback riding to those who are in search for a coastal adventure. The town is quiet and desolate therefore being the perfect destination for relaxation, contemplation, and enjoying the scenery.
Legzira Beach is well-appointed 20 minutes north of Sidi Ifni and lauded as one of the best beaches in the world for sunbathing and surfing. Legzira has been also described by travelers as a real-life painting. The geological rocky beach artfully connects the Anti Atlas Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean. Legzira’s organic cave formations are fascinating and well appreciated by nature enthusiasts. Sunset in Legzira offers stunning views of rock formations surrounded by cliffs in multiple hues of burnt orange. Legzira during high tide when the ocean veil is pulled back and revealed is an ideal time to capture a photograph.
|Posted by Alecia Cohen on May 6, 2020 at 12:00 AM||comments (81)|
Fez el Bali was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1981. Built during the Idrisid dynasty (789 - 808 AD), the ancient walled city of Fez is one of the oldest in the world. Fez was designed on a slope using historic traditions of Islamic architecture to prevent rainwater from flooding it. The sprawling medina boasts over eight kilometers of city walls and is one of the planet's largest, urban contiguous free zones. Fez has an estimated population of 200,000. Each living area of Fez affords its inhabitants with a mosque, Koranic school, a fountain, hammam, and a traditional bread oven.
Fez el Bali is referred to as the intellectual and spiritual capital of Fez and Morocco. The city has a rich history which includes being twice the capital of Morocco. When Idris ibn Abdallah acquired Fes in 789, he made it Morocco’s most important city. Refugees from Cordoba, Spain, and later Kairouan (Tunisia) shaped the look of present-day Fez El Bali. A Tunisian refugee is even credited with building the University of Al Quaraouiyine. Dating back to 859 CE, it is recognized as the world’s oldest university and one of the finest examples of Islamic design. Fez el Bali is known for its extraordinary Islamic design and architecture. Andalusian gardens and museums, lively souks and markets, two leather tanneries, madrasas, and other spiritual centers.
Part of exploring Fez el Bali is getting lost in its 10,000 unnamed alleys which lead to new discoveries of the city's gates, citadels, and landmarks; to relive the history of the city. Under the rule of the Almoravids, Fez was divided into two cities. Abdallah’s son used the Fes River as a city border, destroyed many buildings in Fes el Bali, eventually moving Morocco’s capital to Marrakech. It stayed this way until 1276 when Fes’ second district, Fes Jdid, was created, reunited Fez, and returned it to its former capital status. There are 13 gates divided between the two medinas. Hammad Berrada is the author of a book published in Morocco in 2004, Fez From Bab to Bab: Walks in the Medina which lays out paths for travelers to discover all 13 gates. The Blue Gate (Bab Bou Jeloud) is located inside the old part of the Fez Medina and the main entrance to the city. Built in 1913, during the beginning of the French protectorate, it is the first entrance after the Fez El Jdid and served as an extension of the ancient UNESCO certified walls. Bab Bou Jeloud can be recognized from afar with its mesmerizing, blue mosaic zellige tiles and hidden underneath its arch, are green mosaics, a famous Fassie green color of which is revealed upon entering the city of Fez. Bab Bou Jelad’s triple-arched gates lead onto the popular Talaa Kebira, from which many cafes, shops, and prominent architectural buildings can be accessed.
From Bab Bou Jeloud, the Blue Gate, the perimeter of Fez El Bali runs west towards Bab Chorba. The ancient Kasbah wall moves along route 501 - from where the Marinid tombs can be accessed - snakes around Bab Guissa and El Jamai Place, where it turns onto Tour de Fes N road and wraps the Jnane Bou Taa area, past Bab Khouka where it turns southwest into the Quartier des Potiers. Fes el Bali continues along N6, passing the Bab Ftouah region, crossing the Oued El Mehraz then maneuvering into the prestigious Palais Faraj Hotel, then the Batha area, until reaching the Blue Gate again.
Zaouia Moulay Idriss - wedged between Souk Attarine and the Nejjarine Square, the 10th-century Zaouia houses the tomb of Fes’ founding father, Moulay Idriss II (793 – 828). The mausoleum is part of a religious Islamic school that spreads over 2,548 m2. Although the entrance is forbidden to non-muslim visitors, travelers can stop to admire the exquisitely carved cedar wood ceiling. There are seven doors, and the one with women entering into the mosque courtyard houses the tomb of Moulay Idriss. Marinid Tombs - these tombs date back to the 14th century during the reign of the Marinid dynasty. The hill they sit on is known as al-Qula, or the “Hill of the Marinids” and offers some of the best panoramic views of Fez el Bali. University Al Qarawiyyin Mosque & University - many Muslim students from Morocco, West Africa, Muslim Central Asia, and even parts of Andalucia Spain attend this University. Founded in 859 by Fatima al-Fihri , the daughter of a Tunisian refugee, the University was introduced into Morocco's university system in 1963. Quaraouiyine University focuses its studies on Islam, legal sciences, and classical Arabic. The school attracts visitors from around the world for its extraordinary Islamic architecture. University Al Qarawiyyin is one of the leading spiritual and educational centers of the Muslim world and is considered the oldest continuously operating institution of higher learning. Mosque and Zaoui Sheikh Ahmad al-Tijani - an 18th-century mosque and religious school dedicated to Sheikh Ahmad al-Tijani. It sits in the Al Blida neighborhood and is distinguished by its ornamental facades and turquoise colored minaret. Located close to the Al Qarawiyyin Mosque & University, this sacred space contains the tomb of an 18th century Sufi Shaykh, founder of the Tijaniyya order. The Zaouia presents a street facade highly ornamented with carved wood, stucco, and glazed tile. Madrasa El Bouanania Fes - renovated in the 18th century by Sultan Moulay Slimane who is known for ending piracy on Morocco’s coasts, the madrasa gained the status of a Grand Mosque and educational center. It became one of Morocco’s most important religious centers. In the 20th century, a major restoration combining wood and tile decoration has made it one of the most extraordinary places to see examples of Islamic architecture. It is the only madrasa in Fes with a minaret and one of the few religious places that allow entrance to non-Muslims. Opposite the Madrasa is Dar al Magana, a wall with a hydraulic water clock.
Dar al-Magana - the clock house was built by Marinid Sultan Abu Inan Faris in 1357 to communicate the correct times of prayers to the Muezzin. It has 12 doors behind which are 12 brass bowls. Historically, a door would open on the hour and a metal ball would drop into the brass bowl. Since 2004, the bowls have been removed and the clock has been put under reconstruction by ADER, part of the major Fes Medina renovation initiated by King Mohammed VI. Al-Attarine Madrasa - The 14th-century al-Attarine Madrasa “ of the perfume makers” is the setting for a historic perfume and spice market. The interior of the madrasa is composed of a courtyard surrounded by the finest examples of traditional Marinid craftsmanship. Visitors are advised to pay attention to the exquisite details on the floors and walls.
The Jewish Mellah is the name of the Jewish quarters in Fes. They are surrounded by a wall and fortified gateway. Located near the royal residences, this enabled its inhabitants to be protected from the wrath of the Muslim populace. The Fes Mellah was once solely inhabited by Jews. This was the first Mellah in Morocco and originated in 1438. In the early 14th century, it was founded by the Merinids. In contrast with the young Mellah of Casablanca, the Mellah of Fes is over 650 years old. This picturesque neighborhood adjoins the royal palace, noted for its recently constructed bright brass doors. The Ibn Danan Synagogue is one of the oldest and most intact synagogues in Morocco. This synagogue, located in the heart of the Mellah (Jewish quarter), is a rare survivor of a pivotal time in Moroccan Jewish history.
Embroidery Cooperative - watch Fassie women utilize mathematical calculations and geometric shapes to create beautiful patterns on fabric. In this area, seventy-nine-year-old Abdelkader Ouazzani is the last brocade master in Fes, Morocco. Brocading is a 13th-century art learned from the Merinid Sultans era. On a private tour, you can watch Ouazzani puppeteer the orchestra of thread. Pottery Cooperative - Fes is famous for it’s enameled polychrome blue-green ceramics decorated with geometric motifs and floral patterns. This style of pottery was developed in the eleventh century under the Almohad dynasty. The Potter’s Quarter (Ain Nkobi) is located on Sidi Harazem road, near the clay quarries in Ain Nokbi; the area is just outside the medina due to the smoke from the kilns. Tanneries - Fes has two tanneries where you can witness the historic tradition of leather dying. Chouara Tannery is the larger more popular tannery and located by the far north end of the Oued Bou Khrareb River. Of the two tanneries, Sidi Moussa is lesser-known, however as it is less visited, offering a more intimate experience. It is advisable to visit either location in the morning to experience the leather process.
The Ruined Garden - Robert Johnstone, has created a beautiful garden in the ruin at Riad Idrissy which was once a merchant's house. Johnstone describes it as “half garden, half allotment.” In it, he grows gardenias, a jacaranda, papyrus, and a mix of edibles that are used in the riad’s kitchen, such as verbena, mint, chilies, sorrel, rosemary, parsley and tomatoes. The Ruined Garden Garden is also a cafe and restaurant that serves local Moroccan cuisine with a modern flair. Specialties include couscous appetizer (seffa), harira soup, lamb tajine, and chicken bastilla. Address:5 Derb Idrissy Sidi Ahmed Chaoui Medina 30110، Siaj, Fes Phone: +212-649-191410 Cafe Clock - established in 2006 by Mike Richardson with the aim of promoting cross-cultural exchanges and giving back to the local community. Cafe Clock is known for its camel burgers whose purchase yields a 1% donation to select Moroccan charities along with its reasonably priced menu of Moroccan and vegetarian fare. Cafe Clock offers cooking classes and weekly storytelling along with traditional live music. Cafe Clock as three locations, Fez el Bali, the Marrakech Medina and the Blue Pearl, Chefcahouen. Address: 7 Derb el Magana Phone: +212-5356-37855
Nur - named the World's Best Moroccan Restaurant in 2017, this gastronomic restaurant is located in a small refurbished riad. Nur is Chef Najat Kaanache's tribute to the proud cultural and agricultural diversity of Morocco. She affectionately refers to her country as "the mouth of Europe", forged through its unique confluence of colonial cultures. Najat offers innovative flavors of the Middle Atlas through a creative lens. The tasting menu at Nur draws from the rich and flavorful cuisine of the Middle East. The dining room at Nur has a chic contemporary feel, but the design elements actually date back to Byzantine times, simultaneously offering a sanctuary and time capsule. For approximately 2 1/2 hours, and through about 10 creations, Chef Najat invites you to experience a brave new Morocco. Each morning the team sources the best available produce from within the Medina and constructs a largely improvisational menu around the seasonal seafood and offerings from our local, specialty purveyors. Address: 7 Zkak Rouah, Medina, Fes Phone: +212-694-277849
Restaurant Riad Nejjarine - Dating back to the 1800s, the Riad serves authentic Moroccan fare where diners eat surrounded by majestic Arab-Andalucian architecture. Their dishes feature the famous Fassie pigeon pastilla, tagines, and prunes with meat. The cuisine is refined offering gastronomic Moroccan tables which have become original Fez benchmarks all over Morocco. Address: 20 Lablida Sagha, Fès Phone: +212 =212-5356-34106
Dar Roumana- Dine in a traditional Moroccan riad framed by lush olive groves and the ancient medina walls. Head Chef Younes Idrissi's dishes are made using local produce to reflect the seasons of the Fes Medina. Sunset cocktails on the roof terrace are recommended. Address: Rue Roumana Phone: +212-553741737
Riad Fes - is a Relais & Châteaux property owned by Moroccan architect and one of the most sought after places to stay in Fes. It is decorated in the traditional style of Fes with the keen combination of Baroque and Moorish design in its four courtyards. The terrace at Riad Fes is lined with Atlas Mountain views. There are a wine bar and an onsite on-site gastronomic restaurant famous for fusing Mediterranean and local flavors. It is conveniently located near the Palais Royal and the Batha Museum and gardens. A stay at Riad Fes will allow you to travel back in time and enjoy the splendor of the lifestyle of Fassi nobility. The garden offers moments of freshness under the shade of orange, lemon and bay trees. Address: 5 Derb Zerbtana, Fès Phone: +212-5357-41206
Dar Roumana - “ house of the pomegranate," dates back to the late 1800s when it was built by the Arfaouis, a family of olive merchants. Until it was renovated in 2002 and became Dar Roumana, it was home to livestock. The owner Jen, was the first American to open a riad in Fes. The traditional Fassie home has a terrace with views of the medina and notable architecture with stained. Framed by lush olive groves and the ancient ruins of the medina walls, Dar Roumana invites you to experience the richness and comfort of a traditional Fassi guesthouse. Relax with a book and a glass of Moroccan mint tea on the spacious sun-drenched roof terrace with a spectacular view of the entire medina and Atlas Mountains. After dinner prepared by their Cordon Bleu chef, retire to the library for a fire-side game of chess or choose a movie from our video and DVD collection. Each of Dar Romana's suites contains the work of local artisans: original mosaic tile floors, intricately carved plaster, rich cedar ceilings and doors, and hand-crafted furnishings. Address: Rue Roumana Phone: +212-553741737
Le Jardin des Biehn - formerly the house of a Pacha, this luxurious riad was restored by a French family ten years ago. It is set in a peaceful garden with aromatic herbs and surrounded by palm and olive trees. The riad has a cafe and restaurant that overlooks the garden along with a boutique filled with textiles and exotic items from India and the Far East. Address:13 Akbat Sbaa Douh, Fes Phone: +212-535741036
Palais Amani - Palais Amani is a fourteen bedroomed opulent Riad in Fes provides refined dining and spacious accommodation. With a salon and library, a rooftop bar, extensive terraces, a traditional hammam and spa, impeccable service, and all of this close to the Golden Triangle in the ancient medina in Fez. Traditional Moroccan breakfast is served to guests in the dining room or on the dining terrace overlooking the Riad’s central garden. At lunch and dinner time Palais Amani offer a cosmopolitan a la Carte menu for light or more elaborate meal. Address: 12 Derb El Miter، Fes Phone +212-5356-33209
Mohamed Saili - Sadly, the art of comb making is a dying trade and Mr. Saili is one of only few craftsmen still alive. Once seated on the ground, Mr. Saili uses his feet to chisel the tines of the fine combs made from horns to perfection. It’s an absolutely fascinating process to watch and a unique souvenir to take home from your travels to Fes! Address: 39 Rue Mechatine Serghini Poterie - Master artisan Moulay Ahmed Serghini is of a big deal on the Moroccan pottery scene – his work has been displayed at the British Museum and he has three workshops throughout the Kingdom. Tajines, vases, tableware, and even decorative pieces are all hand-made and using traditional Fasis methods from start to finish. It’s best to stop by the workshop to see the artisans at work before visiting the showroom. The entire process from raw clay to the finished product can be viewed on the property. Ready to ship at a moment's notice, Serghini makes Fassis creations available worldwide. Address: 32 Ain Nokbi Phone: +212-661-63-07-58 or +212-535-76-16-29
|Posted by Alecia Cohen on May 5, 2020 at 11:25 AM||comments (1)|
Morocco is steeped in Jewish Heritage and Culture. The country has a remarkable history of Jewish life that sets it apart from other Muslim nations. If you are Jewish and interested in touring Morocco you are guaranteed to discover ancient traditions and old-world customs that have permeated Moroccan Jewish society for centuries. Morocco's key Jewish Heritage sites are located throughout the country's Imperial Cities and rural regions. The sheer number of Jewish sites is staggering.
As a Jewish traveler, you can explore synagogues, cemeteries, holy zaouias, monuments, and historic homes. Morocco's most remarkable places and historical sites are centered around the Jewish Mellah in Casablanca, Tangier, Fes, Marrakech, and Essaouira. The countryside offers additional fascinating Jewish sites of pilgrimage that are frequented by Israeli's in particular and Moroccan Jews living abroad. They come to visit holy zaouias of celebrated former Rabbi's (Saints) who were once honored by their local communities.
Morocco also has an intimate Jewish community with strong ties, connecting with them is part of enriching the travel experience. The largest Jewish community that is thriving today is in Casablanca. Over 3,000 Casablanca Jews live outside the Mellah in the European city, where they worship in over 30 synagogues, eat in kosher restaurants, entertain themselves in community centers, and attend Jewish schools and social service centers. They worship at Temple Beth El, the largest synagogue and an important community center. There is a smaller, yet lively, Jewish community in Fes and Marrakech. Sharing a traditional Sephardic meal on Shabbat at the Kosher Club in Casablanca, or a Kosher restaurant in Fes or Marrakech will offer a glimpse into Jewish life today.
Each of Morocco's Jewish quarters (Mellah) is comprised of historic Jewish architecture and monuments. The Mellah is home to synagogues and cemeteries surrounded by local markets and city life. Today the Moroccan Mellah is inhabited primarily by Muslim families who relocated there when Jews migrated to Israel in 1948. The Jews who left Morocco did so in hope of a more prosperous life and to be surrounded by their brethren after World War II. Jewish sites in Morocco are protected by the Moroccan Kingdom and open daily for visitors.
• Temple Beth- El, Casablanca
• Museum of Moroccan Judaism, Casablanca
• Ibn Danan Synagogue & Jewish Mellah, Fes
• Jewish Cemetery & Tomb of Solica, Fes
• Maimonides Home, Fes
• Jewish Mellah, Cemetery & Lazama Synagogue, Marrakech
• New Jewish Synagogue, Ville Nouvelle Marrakech
• Jewish Mellah, Cemetery & Miaara Cemetery, Marrakech
• Chaim Pinto Synagogue, Essaouira
• Jewish Mellah, Cemetery & Zaouia's Sahara Desert Region
Jewish culture has been interwoven throughout Morocco for centuries. It is believed that Jews settled in Morocco prior to the destruction of the First Temple Mount. A Morocco Jewish Heritage Tour provides an in-depth exploration of Jewish culture and its vast history from the time of the Philistines to the 21st Century.
Touring Morocco and its historic Jewish Heritage Sites is something every Jew should consider. Morocco’s unique history of Jewry and the co-mingling of Jews with Berbers and Arabs is what makes the country safe to visit and an icon of peace for the entire Muslim world. The climate and culture of Morocco with its keen mix of Jewish, Berber, and Arab traditions, UNESCO Heritage sites and cities, a magnificent coast, Moorish architecture, glorious markets, and food tourism make it an ideal vacation destination.
Should you embark on a private, guided Morocco Jewish Heritage Tour, you can anticipate hearing Stories of the Mellah, learning about Morocco's Sephardic Jewish traditions, and discovering the hidden jewels of Morocco's Jewish past. With the only Jewish Museum in the Islamic world and history of religious tolerance, visiting Morocco offers a rare glimpse into peaceful Jewish-Muslim coexistence.
|Posted by Alecia Cohen on December 22, 2019 at 12:10 PM||comments (11)|
Long before Michale Curtiz’s iconic 1942 film, Casablanca became a box office smash, Casablanca, the city served as an important business and commercial center. The Portuguese used the ruins of Anfa to build a military fortress in 1515. The town that grew up around it was called Casa Branca, meaning "white house" in Portuguese. Today locals refer to the bustling and cosmopolitan port city as Casa.
When the Tangier Med port became crowned the Mediterranean’s largest, Casablanca was even recognized as North Africa’s top entrepot. Beyond its importance as the leading financial capital, Casablanca is also known for its strength in the arts. France and Morocco's artistic and intellectual circles were primarily privy to this burgeoning community. Renown artists such as Moroccan modern painter Mohamed Melehi- recognized who linked Bauhauism to Islamic art- have long made an impact on the city. Melehi, alongside his innovative “Casablanca School” peers like Farid Belkahia, Mohammed Chabâa, Bert Flint and Toni Maraini influenced post-colonial art during the 1960s in both Casablanca and beyond. The city's artistic and cultural history created a foundation that continues to attract innovative designers, filmmakers, artists, photographers, and musicians.
Casablanca's trendsetting and liberating ambiance is woven into the fabric of everyday life. Gradually the city has had a ripple effect and eyes around the world are tuning into Casablanca's art and culture scene. This shift was particularly evident in 2019 when several airports in key cities like Boston, Philadelphia, Beijing, and Miami added direct routes to Casablanca. Now that traveling to Casablanca can be done with ease, the city’s top restaurants, nightlife, shopping venues, artisanal craft markets, the medina and music festivals are in high demand.
Casablanca offers a wide range of dining experiences coupled with live music. Nightlife can be found in elegant restaurants, jazz bars, clubs and upscale hotel settings located around the United Nations Square and on the Corniche. The Corniche is well-appointed near Casablanca’s business district and frequented by the fashionable Ain Diab neighborhood crowd. It is also considered one of the city’s green areas. Casablanca’s most popular French restaurants, nightclubs, cocktail lounges, and bars that boast wrap-around terraces and stunning ocean views are woven into the streets on the corniche.
8 Places to Go for Casablanca Nightlife are Le Petit Rocher, Bodega, Rick's Cafe, Sky 28, Cabestan, Le Kimmyz, Les Jardin del Opera, and Le Casablanca Bar and Lounge.
Le Petit Rocha, Casablanca[/caption]
1. Le Petit Rocher- founded in 1932, the Little Rock House is a renovated waterside bistro cottage that once served as a lighthouse. Its history includes hosting performances of talented musicians during the 80s and 90s. Today the restaurant stands as a cultural institution that has endured several, stylistic makeovers. In spite of this, it has stayed true to its musical roots. Over the past decade, Le Petit Rocher has been reimagined into an elegant and contemporary space with coastal views. In keeping with the past, it is also one of Casablanca's top choices for an evening of tasty food and lively music. In 2000, Little Rock focused on recreating a menu for the senses. Today it serves fresh seafood, inclusive of seafood platters, paella, and other fresh catch of the day. Le Petit Rocher is an ideal spot where locals and travelers can enjoy cocktails, music and ocean views.
Address: Small Rock Complex, Boulevard de la Corniche, Casablanca
2. Bodega- located near Boulevard Mohammed V Art Deco, in the heart of Casablanca's Art Deco district, La Bodega is a hybrid tapas bar-restaurant. It is the perfect destination for those interested in listening to everything from salsa to Arabic pop. The restaurant offers a fusion of both French and Spanish cuisine. La Bodega’s innovative tapa style menu is curated by Chef Jilali and serves up Andalusian and Catalan inspired charcuterie, seafood, and mixed grill. Beyond its savory delights, La Bodega's wine list is extensive and is especially enjoyed when the restaurant transforms from a rustic and cozy space into a saucy Jazz Club. Every Tuesday night, the club hosts a jazz and blues band with musicians who play music inspired by Paris’ top Jazz venues.
Address: 129 Boulevard Ben Abdellah, Casablanca 20250
3. Rick’s Cafe- this romantic restaurant and piano bar was inspired by the 1942 film Casablanca made famous by Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. Since it’s 2004 opening, the restaurant has set a high bar for dinner and jazzy evenings in Casablanca. From Tuesday to Sunday, Issam Chabaa plays classic French, Spanish and Brazilian songs on the piano and American favorites like Summertime, The Lady is a Tramp, and Blue Moon. Sundays, in particular, are programmed to host jazz sessions for local and amateur jazz musicians living in Casablanca or passing through. In addition to its superior entertainment, the two-floor romantic eatery is distinguished by its decor. Curved arches, a sculpted rooftop bar, balconies, balustrades, stenciled brass lighting, and an authentic 1930’s piano have thoughtfully been added to transport clients into the ’40s and ’50s. Among the menu items are fresh fish entrees like sole meuniere or richer selections like steak or foie gras and goat cheese salad. Rick’s Cafe was established by the former Kathy Kriger, who was an American diplomat in Morocco. Once a traditional Moroccan home in the 1930s, Rick's Cafe is located on the edge of the medina, near the port, facing the Hassan II Mosque.
Address: 248 Boulevard Sour Jdid, Casablanca 20250
4. Skybar 28- is well-appointed at the top of the five-star 28 stories B-Twin Center, Kenzi Tower Hotel It is considered the top destination for visitors to Casablanca who is in search of cocktails and dinner with a view. The luxurious hotel tower was designed by the internationally renowned architect Ricardo Bofill who thoughtfully opened up the restaurant to profit from the Atlantic Ocean views. The Art deco themed penthouse bar has an intimate lounge setting and subdued lighting. Skybar 28 is the perfect setting for an evening of classy tapas, wine, and live music after a day of exploring Casablanca. For travelers who want to indulge in some light pre-cocktail activities, the Kenzi Tower location is also home to Casablanca’s trendiest shopping district.
Address: Kenzi Tower Hotel، Boulevard Mohamed Zerktouni, Casablanca 20100
5. Cabestan- created in 1927, this trendy, upscale seafood restaurant offers some of the most spectacular views of the Casablanca rocky coast. A favorite of artists, designers, politicians, and businessmen Cabestan is the place to be post-sunset. Designers Sophia Sebti and Yachar Bouhaya created three elegant spaces that have become the choice destination for those who desire an evening of fine bistro cuisine accompanied by music and an exceptional ambiance. In addition to the stunning sea views, Cabestan’s menu, created by Chef Fabien Caboy, is the reason it continues to buzz. Menu favorites include Mediterranean tapa dishes, fresh oysters from Dakhla, and herb-infused linguini and clams pasta. On some nights, top names from Morocco’s electronic music scene can be spotted here.
Address: Phare d'El hank، 90 Boulevard de la Corniche, Casablanca 20000
Phone: : +212 05223-91190
6. Le Kimmyz - is a lively French bistro with a high-quality gastronomy menu and extraordinary wine selection. Depending on the day of the week, the restaurant’s funky decor transforms from being a Parisian style musical brasserie into an upscale sports bar. Regardless of the day you choose to dine, the food and wine always hit the mark and the atmosphere never ceases to entertain.
Address: Rue Najib Mahfoud, Casablanca 20000
Phone: +212 5222-77297
Le Jardin de Opera, Casablanca[/caption]
7. Le Jardin del Opera- is a chic brasserie situated across from the Grand Casablanca Theatre. It is defined by Casablancans and travelers to Morocco by its French heritage, culinary menu and inspired “garden opera setting”. Le Jardin’s concepts are executed by restaurant head Farid Al Achbili and director Joël Boivert. The menu has been set to meet a high standard with its offer of exotic yet simple cuisine. Dining choices are comprised of original recipes that respect fresh ingredients of the season. Le Jardin del Opera's foie gras with Moroccan white wine pairing is not to be missed. Evenings at this boutique venue are festive with music and ideal for close friends, and romantic tête-à-têtes.
Address: 37, Rue El Houcine Ben Ali, City Park Center
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8. Le Casablanca Lounge Bar - is situated inside Le Casablanca Hotel, a luxurious property in the exclusive Anfa neighborhood. This trendy lounge, Art Deco bar immerses visitors in a world of glamour. It offers a warm and relaxed atmosphere to appreciate a wide range of signature cocktails, aperitifs, wines, and champagnes.
The cocktail bar is staged in a harmonious space of high ceilings, chandeliers, luxurious red and black velvet sofas, marquetry furniture, haute couture beveled mirrors, and accented handmade stucco lace. This timeless and classy ambiance is woven into every detail and space of the hotel. Taste of refinement and elegance can be found at Le Casablanca's terrace while sipping a glass of champagne. Live music and piano performance are offered, accompanied by a professional singer.
Address: Le Casablanca Hôtel 19, Moulay Rachid
Telephone: +212 522 649 797
|Posted by Alecia Cohen on April 16, 2017 at 1:35 PM||comments (744)|
With its grand boulevards and famed historic Art Deco Architecture, Casablanca is a popular city with a cornacopia of things to see and do. Whether you are a Morocco traveler, an expat living abroad or a local looking for discovery and adventure, Casablanca's breath of musuems, restaurants, hotels, nightclubs, boutiques, pop-up shops and art galleries gurantee fun and fullfillment for people of all ages. Casablanca is the largest spraweling city in the Maghreb and in Africa with a majestic palm lined corniche and a Coastal Port that rivals others in Africa. Casablanca is also one of the most liberal and progressive cities in Morocco. Travelers seeking a Casablanca One-Day Tour for site seeing can start out with our recommended Five Places to go in Casablanca.
Five Places to Go in Casablanca Museum of Moroccan Judaism
The Museum of Moroccan Judaism of Casablanca is a museum of history and ethnography, created by the Jewish Community of Casablanca in 1997 with the support of the Foundation of Jewish-Moroccan Cultural Heritage. The Jewish Museum in Casablanca is tucked into a residential neighborhood and holds a treasure trove with it being the Arab region’s only Jewish Museum. It uses world-class standards of conservation for its national and international collections. The Museum of Moroccan Judaism presents religious, ethnographic and artistic objects that demonstrate the history, religion, traditions and daily life of Jews in the context of Moroccan civilization.
Anfa & La Corniche Founded by Berber fisherman in the 10th Century Anfa is the former name of Casablanca which underwent a change when the Portugese destroyed and rebuilt it, later calling the city Casa Branca. Today Anfa and the Cornice is a neighborood located on the Atlantic Ocean, West of the Hassan II Mosque. The palm lined corniche is perfect for travelers who want to have a coffee at a local cafe, people watch or stroll along the beachfront. In summer the Corniche is packed with local Moroccan family's who are there for a fresh water swim or want to picnic with friends.
Habous Quarter The Habous Quarter is often referred to as the "new medina and was built in 1930's by the French. For travelers looking to shop for handicrafts made in Morocco or to experience a local Olive Souk this is the place to do it on a one-day tour in Casablanca.
Villa Des Arts Built in 1934, Villa Des Arts in Casablanca is part of the ONA Foundation created to promote the contemporary arts. It's also one of the cities leading Art Deco historic buildings. Located near Parc De La Ligue Arabe this non profit museum features a wide array of contemporary Moroccan Artists.
Cocktails at Sky 28, The Kenzi Hotel Sky Bar The Kenzi Tower Hotel is home to one of Casablanca's best views at sunset. Their Sky 28 Bar boasts panoramic views of the Hassan II Mosque, the Corniche, Ana and the city center. Coctaials, Wine, Beer and horderves are available along with a gastronomic, French menu for those who are interested in dinner with a magnficent view of Casa at night.
Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel. We offer Private Tours to Morocco for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Imperial Cities, the Great North to the Sahara Desert Region Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806 or + 1 (212) 618882681 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.
|Posted by Alecia Cohen on December 26, 2016 at 9:45 AM||comments (19)|
Marrakech is home to several magnificent, must see Palaces located in the historic district, also referred to as the medina. When visiting Marrakech on a Private Tour to Morocco these Top Rated Palaces are historically significant and offer a window into the former lives of royalty who built and managed these century old lavish homes. The palaces of Marrakech are essentially riads (courtyard homes) based upon the concept of Roman villas with lush interior courtyards, ornate architecture, hand crafted cedar wood and painted ceilings and succulent gardens. Marrakech's palaces are typically surrounded by walls given this was a tradition of protection and to prevent those passing by from seeing inside. Many of the Marrakech palaces and riads have been been transformed into boutique hotels and guest houses. Several of the palaces such as the Bahia Palace, El Badi Palace, Dar Si Said Palace, are historic landmarks, that have remained open to the public as to visit on a Guided tour of Marrakech. These palaces are also used by art organizations such as the Marrakech Bienalle and the Marrakech International Film Festival for both public and private events.
The Bahia Palace was built at the end of 19th century by Si Moussa, grand vizier to the sultan Sidi Mohammed ben Abderahmane 1859 -1873, as his personal residence. The work on the palace was continued by his son Ba Ahmed who was grand vizier to Sultan Moulay Hassan and the powerful regent to the young sultan, Abdel Aziz. They brought craftsmen from Fes who created carved and painted and guided wooden ceilings and reception rooms and numerous courtyards. The haphazard warren of rooms is partly due the growing number of official wives and concubines with their children. The most imposing feature is the vast courtyard used for official occasions and decorated with a central basin. It leads onto to gardens and palm trees. When Ba Ahmed died all his possessions were seized by the sultan and the palace is completely empty of fixtures and fittings. The Bahia has an imposing entrance through the main gate, which is just up from the Jewish Mellah. It was the headquarters of the French military during the French Protectorate and the American novelist Edith Wharton stayed there as a guest of Marshal Lyautey in 1917. The Royal family still uses the Bahia palace for official occasions.
Ben Youssef Medersa
Visit the Ben Youssef Madrasa, an Islamic college in Marrakech, Morocco, named after the Almoravid sultan Ali ibn Yusuf (reigned 1106–1142), who expanded the city and its influence considerably. It is the largest Medrasa in all of Morocco.The college was founded during the period of the Marinid (14th century) by the Marinid sultan Abu al-Hassan and allied to the neighbouring Ben Youssef Mosque. The building of the madrasa was re-constructed by the Saadian Sultan Abdallah al-Ghalib (1557–1574). In 1565 the works ordered by Abdallah al-Ghalib were finished, as confirmed by the inscription in the prayer room. Closed down in 1960, the building was refurbished and reopened to the public as a historical site in 1982.
El Badi Palace The El Badi Palace was built in the 16th century by the Saadian Sultan Ahmad al-Mansour following his victory over the Portuguese at the battle of the three Kings in 1578. This epoch making event changed the course of history as King Sebastian of Portugal and his allies were defeated and Portugal never again held sway in Morocco apart from a few costal outlets like El Jadida, Essaouira and Azemmour. The Sultanate of Morocco was at the pinnacle of its power. Portuguese ransoms and captured booty as well as Sub Saharan African gold and the sugar trade paid for the construction of the palace. Sultan Ahmad al-Mansour died shortly after the El Badi’s completion in 1603. He had asked his court jester what he thought of his palace and the jester replied that it would make a fine ruin. By 1690 this came to pass, as Sultan Moulay Ismail stripped the El Badi completely to adorn his palace in Meknes. What you see today is a mere shell but it does give a sense of the massive proportions involved along with sunken gardens and dungeons. As so often in Moroccan history buildings were destroyed by conquerors or successors building their own stately palaces. There are fine views from the towers of the Medina and the Atlas mountains. Storks nest on the ramparts as they do along the high walls of the Royal Palace adjoining it. The Marrakech Folklore Festival Son et Lumiere with Berber dances and music takes place in July in the grounds of the El Badi and its huge ramparts and walls provide an imposing historical venue. The El Badi Palace has a museum and exhibits of which includes and a 12th-century minbar that once stood inside the Marrakech Koutoubia Mosque. The Royal Palace, whose high walls and gates follow on from the El Badi, is also known as Dar el-Makhzen, is part of the imperial grandeur of Marrakech. It was built on the site of the Almohad Kasbah, by the Almohads in the 12th century and underwent changes by the Saadians in the 16th century and the Alaouites in the 17th century. It was one of the palaces owned by the Moroccan king, and the palace employed the most accomplished craftsmen in the city. The rooms are large, with unusually high ceilings for Marrakech, with zellij and cedar painted ceilings. At the entrance is an ancient pulley fastened to the ceiling.
Dar Si Said Palace & Museum of Moroccan Arts
Dar Si Said, also known as the Museum of Moroccan Arts, is located to the north of the Bahia Palace, right from the Rue Riad Ziroun el-Jedid. It was formerly the house of the brother of Bou-Ahmed, Sisi Said. The collection of the museum is considered to be one of the finest in Morocco, with jewelry from the High Atlas, the Anti Atlas and the extreme south; carpets from the Haouz and the High Atlas; oil lamps from Taroudant; blue pottery from Safi and green pottery from Tamgroute and leatherwork from Marrakesh. There is also a fine small garden laid out in classic Moroccan style but the glory of Dar Said is the carved and painted ceilings on the top floor which are the finest example of painted ceilings in Marrakech. Some of the wooden screens and frames were recovered from the El Badi palace. Today in the Middle East, Moroccan craftsmen are sought after as creators of Moroccan carved and painted ceilings in palaces and corporate headquarters. Their craftsmanship was displayed in the New York Metropolitan Museum exhibition “The Moroccan Court” in New York in 2011 and in the following year at the Shangri-La residence in Honolulu as part of a promotion for Moroccan business and cultural exchange between Morocco and Honolulu.
Dar Menebhi Palace The Dar Menebhi Palace close to the Medersa Ben Youssef was built at the end of the 19th century by Mehdi Menebhi. The palace was carefully restored by the Omar Benjelloun Foundation and converted into a museum in 1997. The house itself represents an example of classical Andalusian architecture, with fountains in the central courtyard, traditional seating areas, a hammam and intricate zellij tile work and carvings. The museum’s large atrium (originally a courtyard, now covered in glass and fabric) contains a very large centrally hung chandelier consisting of metal plates decorated with fine geometric and epigraphic cuttings. Several features of the original courtyard, including the floor-set basins and mosaics have been retained. The museum holds exhibits of both modern and traditional Moroccan art together with fine examples of pottery and ceramics from Fes and Moroccan Jewish, Berber and Arab cultures. Dar El Bacha The Dar El Bacha on the Rue Bab Doukala was the palace of the Pacha of Marrakech, Thami El Glaoui, who was Pacha from 1912-1956. He entertained the cream of western high society with parties at Dar El Bacha with Winston Churchill, Colette, Maurice Ravel, Charlie Chaplin and many others. As he collaborated with the French protectorate and contrived to remove Sultan Mohamed V into exile in Madagascar, he was and remains, unpopular to this day. Although Sultan and later King Mohamed V forgave him on his return from exile, all Thami’s properties were confiscated after his death in 1956. The Dar El Bacha is now a Royal Palace and a trade union federation occupies part of its imposing edifice. It was rumored that a museum was to open there but nothing has transpired. Many would like to visit this palace but it remains closed.
For more information about Marrakech's Palaces on a Guided Tour Morocco’s Imperial Cities, Seaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villages, A Taste of Morocco, Magical Kasbahs, Ruins & Waterfalls, Absolute Morocco, The Best of Marrakech, Fes, and Ouarzazate