Friday, December 20, 2019

Pearl Of The South.

This past week, in my travels to Morocco I shared my experiences and activities in Casablanca and Merzouga. This time around, we were in Fes, Marrakesh and Taroudant.


Marrakesh's population is about 1.5 million people and the city is among the most popular tourist destinations. Like most cities and towns in North Africa, Marrakesh has two main sections: Old Medina and modern city.

Marrakesh, located at the foot of the Atlas Mountains, has the nickname of the Pearl of the South, the Red Wall and the Stone Town as well as the fourth largest city after Casablanca, Fez and Tangier. The word Marrakesh is derived from the Berber language which means the state of God and this ancient city has the largest Berber market or souk in Morocco, Jemaa el-Fnaa.


Jemaa el-Fnaa is a souvenir (souk) bazaar in Old Medina that sells a variety of everyday necessities for locals and foreign tourists such as leather goods, spices, home décor, kitchen appliances (especially Tajine containers), copperware, rugs, personal care items and many other items.

At Jemaa el-Fnaa you can start your adventure by trying a variety of fresh fruit juices that are not mixed with sugar, including strawberries, oranges, watermelons, avocado, pineapple, grapefruit and grapefruit. Cheap (around RM5 a glass), tasty and refreshing. After enjoying the freshness of the pomegranate juice, I explored the various shops available at the location. It seems like given the time to stop by each of the hundreds of shops in Old Medina, you need at least two days to complete the visit.


In Marrakesh too, you can visit the Koutoubia Mosque, the largest mosque in the city. This mosque, inspired by the architecture of the Giralda of Seville in Spain, is unique in that it is made of red brick.

Its construction is said to have taken place during the administration of the Almohad Caliph Yaqub al-Mansur (1184-1199). The uniqueness of the mosque capable of accommodating 25,000 pilgrims at one time stands at its tower of 77 meters. In ancient times, bilal would ride a horse over a mosque tower to shout the azan.


The architectural grandeur of the Ben Youssef Mosque and Medrasa is undoubtedly the green and white tile-dominated building of the pearl that became the oldest mosque in Marrakesh. Built in the 12th century during the Almoravid administration of Sultan Ali ibn Yusuf. Due to various factors especially the weather until some of the buildings collapsed, the size of the mosque is now only half of its original size.

In 1560, Saadian Sultan Abdallah al-Ghalib made improvements to the mosque including building a library inside the mosque as well as a special room for various Islamic worship activities. In addition to Ben Youseff Mosque, you can also visit Kasbah Mosque, Mouassine Mosque, El Badi Palace, Bahia Palace, Royal Palace, Marrakesh Museum and many other destinations or tourist destinations in Marrakesh.

A variety of patterns are a main attraction for tourists visiting Old Medina di Marrakech.


For travelers who love exploring the secrets of local beauty, you will definitely want to see for yourself the farm and the process of making argan oil. After almost five days in Marrakesh, my travel companion and I rushed to another tourist spot to see for ourselves the Argan plant and the Argan oil plant in Essouira and Taroudant. Argan trees can only be found and grown commercially in Morocco.

Argan oil can also be consumed simply with bread or as a ingredient in Moroccan delicious dishes.


Among the privileges of traveling to Morocco is definitely the town of Fes. It's another must-visit for the traveler. In Fes you can see for yourself the process of colorful tile or ceramic decoration called Zellij.

Zellij is of Moroccan identity and is widely used as decoration on floors, walls, columns (living rooms, dining rooms, places of worship and bathrooms) and home appliances such as dining tables and sinks and decorative appliances. According to Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah (Fes) University student Ahmad Irfan Mohd Yusob who was my tour guide in the city, Zellij's work was very complicated.


While in Fes, I had the opportunity to see for myself a leather company known as Tannery. The methods of processing the skins of goats, cows, camels and horses still use the conventional method of fully utilizing manpower. The process of soaking the raw skin of animals using pigeons can be seen in many places in Fes. Soaking animal skins in small ponds can take months.

After the process of soaking the skin perfectly, it will be colored using natural ingredients such as powders, bark, leaves and flowers. The skin is then dried and goes through several refining processes and cuts to various sizes before being made into handbags, purses, belts, jackets and so on. The price of a high quality leather bag is RM40 only. Don't forget to offer a variety of skin-based products in Fes as it is well worth it to give to your relatives and friends.


Al-Karaouine University or Al-Qarawiyyin (various versions of the university's names are Qarawiyin, Kairouyine, Kairaouine, Qairawiyin, Qaraouyine, Quaraouiyine, Quarawin and Qaraouiyn) are the oldest universities in the world. It was built in 859 and has been the center of education and spirituality in the Islamic world to this day. According to Al-Karaouine Mosque Imam Abdul Majid, the university not only serves as a center of higher education, but also as a center of Muslim worship.

AFTER the camel, Moroccan people also use horses for transport


This madrasah (madrasa) was built in the 14th century during the Marinid dynasty which ruled Morocco from the 13th to 15th centuries. It was the best religious (Islamic) learning center in Fes for a long time. Its construction was directed by Sultan Abu Sa'id Uthman II from 1323-1325.

The meaning of the name of this madrasah is the fragrant madrasah, this is due to its popular location for the perfume and spice sales center.

The uniqueness of this madrasah architecture lies in Zellij's ornamentation and wood engraving as well as assimilation of ancient architecture. This madrasah was once popular to produce great Islamic scholars as it functioned as a center for Islamic learning and development which included prayer rooms, lecture halls and student dormitories. At present Madrasa Attarine is just a legacy of Islamic greatness that is a tourist attraction.

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