Don't Miss Places In Morocco
Morocco’s fertile plains stretch along its Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts. Behind these coasts are the green valleys and dense forests of the snowcapped Atlas Mountains which drop south to the arid wastes of the Sahara Desert. The Moroccan desert and Western Sahara form a landscape that consists of sweltering sand dunes and rocks, dotted with the occasional oasis, where an abundance of date palms and fig trees grow. Morocco is an ancient Islamic kingdom and the recognized homeland of the Berber and Arab people. It belongs to the Maghreb, a term that is used to describe the countries located in the northwest part of Africa.
Here are the top ten of the not to be missed places and attractions in Morocco.
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The Kasbah des Oudaias is a sublime place that is built on a rock in front of the Medina of Rabat. The famous Kasbah dominates the entrance to the Bouregreg River and is enclosed in a maze of winding streets of the coastal capital city. The picturesque streets are characterized by homes in azure blue and white colors. There is no entrance fee to visit the Kasbah itself as well as the need to hire a guide. At the end of the main street there is a rooftop terrace with a beautiful view of the ocean and the river. The Andalusian Gardens are slightly decadent but still maintains its ancient charm.
The Hassan Tower Monument was supposed to be the largest mosque in the world, but has remained unfinished and only the minaret, the number of columns that had to support the roof in the prayer hall inside, and the Mausoleum of Mohammed V remains standing. It is highly recommended that tourists visit it while the Friday prayer time happens and during sunset because the color red makes the whole atmosphere even more impressive. It is an imposing monument built in the Moorish style, enriched with precious marble and travertine decorations. You can see interventions of Italian architects and craftsmen design ideas. Inside lay the tomb of Mohammed V and Hassan II of two sons (his successor) and Abdallah. At the outside, the tower is more sober and secured by the royal guards on foot or astride a horse.
The Ali Ben Youssef Madrasa is an excellent way to present the main characteristics of the Middle East architecture. It is a fine example of Moroccan/Arabic architecture built with finely crafted bronze doors, inlaid wood and decorated stone. The delicate stucco work, mosaics, wooden ceilings and portals, as well as the ornate fountain cleaning give a good impression of oriental architecture of the Middle Ages. The decorations are of high value and made even more beautiful by the restoration and maintenance works that was recently finished. The former Koranic school in the middle of the northern Medina is one of the really rewarding sights of Marrakech. At night, the nearby Medina of Marrakech the lights are switched on to illuminate a colorful street bazaar. Goods and handicrafts on sale include leather and brassware, as well as the rich hand woven carpets and rugs that have made these markets famous over the centuries.
The Jardin Majorelle is one of the interesting gardens in Morocco that is located in the outskirts of the city of Marrakech. It provides access to a haven of peace, surrounded by greenery, tropical plants and exotic African flowers. The gardens are extremely well kept and clean and it is best to visit them during the springtime when all the intense flowers are in bloom.
The Great Hassan II Mosque is one of the biggest mosques in the world and can hold 100.000 faithful worshippers. It towers over the sea and the surrounding buildings in the city of Casablanca. A laser beam on top of its 575 feet (176 – meter high) minaret can be seen 30 miles (50 km) away. The mosque opened in 1993 and it took 2,500 construction workers and 10,000 artists and craftspeople six years to build. It became the burial place of Hassan II, King of Morocco since 1961. It is a mosque of unique beauty that has plenty of space inside so that you can appreciate and well-shoot from different points of observation. The area of ablutions in the basement is wonderful.
Inside it has mechanisms of ventilation (open roof) and games / water fountains (operates only for certain ceremonies) that are technologically advanced and functional. The third largest mosque has a very nice interior that is further enriched with huge Murano chandeliers, Carrara marble and elegant looking woodcraft. The huge cedar roof can be opened and the gates of titanium disappear with an electronic device installed inside the walls. It has a vast expanse of carpets that are always clean and the light that comes in through the slits of the carvings.
The Essaouira Ramparts are a small fort that overlooks the Atlantic Ocean that is rich in history due to the wider cultural influence of the Portuguese occupation and influence on this city in the early centuries. The ramparts and the entire old town are worth a visit. You enter the old town and arrive in a few minutes to see the Portuguese ramparts with lots of antique guns and sea views. You can admire the view of the ocean from its various bastions on which anyone is allowed to climb for free. The walls are always full of people admiring the spectacle of the sea breaking on the rocks and the admirable sunset. There are always a time and spot for a photo opportunity despite so many tourists, a relaxed atmosphere with craft stalls, to walk and do some shopping by buying local, crafts, Argana products, etc.
If you like to walk along the edge of the beach, a visit to the Essaouira Beach is ideal. You can even walk several feet in the water and will cover only a few feet of fine sand. You have a choice to rent horses or camels to enjoy the windy walk along the edge of the sea. You can even watch falcons that nest on the island of Mogador.
The view of the tanneries, starting with the Terasse des Tanneurs is a must but the city of Fes has no plans to facilitate the visit in a sensible way. This authorizes all guides to accompany tourists in shops (leather goods) which have points of view on the tanneries and that turn a percentage of what you purchase. There are two tanneries that are worth a visit from the terraces of the neighboring shops (La Terrasse des Tanners), a visit is always accompanied by a bouquet of mint under the nose to dampen the acrid smell of leathers.
The tour begins at Tanneris du Guerniz to reach the largest and most picturesque Tannery Chouara. The tanneries are generally located near watercourses like the Wadi Fes, and spaced from homes because of the smells that emanate that is also perceptible from above. It is an extraordinary place because of the medieval character of not only the environment but also the technology used in the tanning process of the leather. Goat skins are dyed in deep vats at every tannery in this ancient city. They are made into fine leather which Morocco is most famous for.
The Medina of Fes is composed of mercantile trading shops, the ubiquitous donkeys, and a nearly 90 km maze of winding streets where you can get lost in a matter of seconds. Tourists are impressed with the work done by craftsmen tanners, potters, artisans forming of brass and silver, etc. that are still using the old method. The city is a whole open-air museum, with an incredible life and authenticity still preserved despite the obvious signs of modernization.
The Beach of Agadir is not just a typical beach, but a wonderful mile of fine sand from the modern Marina to the north with brand name stores and restaurants for tourists up to the wild dunes of the south near the royal palace. It is clean and well maintained, ideal for water sports and long walks. During the day you can rent jet skis, catamarans, windsurfing, playing football, etc. It is more than five kilometers of gentle sloped sandy beach that caresses and a long stretch of free beach hammocks.
The promenade along the beach of Agadir becomes a lively city at dusk where vendors of all kinds of trinkets and souvenirs enliven the beach with a display of their wares and products of business establishments of the coastal town. Restaurants, cafes and ice cream shops with terraces invite you to sit and watch the motley human fauna that meets there. The walk is spacious and well maintained.
Although much restored, the Taourirt Kasbah is truly authentic without so much artifice. It is large and you'll get the idea of the lifestyle of the sultans in deep Morocco during the old times. It is well worth making a guided tour of the Kasbah. Visitors can not only appreciate the Berber villages, traditions and structures; their presence, tradition and culture makes the Kasbah interesting. A Berber water seller is a familiar sight inside the Kasbah. He offers every tourist and locals a cool drink drawn from his goatskin bag.
A visit to the Atlas Film Studio is an entertaining experience. Enter into these film studios where they have filmed many of the great Moroccan made films. Nearby there is a museum where visitors can see photos of the best movie scenes and even the clothes they wear back then or check out the cars used in some cinematic battle scenes. You will discover many decors which have been used to great movies like Gladiator, Indiana Jones, Asterix, just to name a few. It is a nice place to bring the kids to show them behind the scenes or sets of the famous films. Do not forget the camera. The tour lasts about 30 minutes and is highly interesting.
The Hercules Caves (which are 13 km from the Southern part of Tangier) are a large line of rocky caves that lead to the sea. The best part of the cave is the one whose contours are standing towards the 'outside’ part which are against the sea and the sky and seems to represent the shape of Africa. The interesting portion of the cave system is the rocky terraces overlooking the sea that is equipped with a mini bar and tables.
It is a small cave that opens onto the cliff to the sea that is quite famous because it looks at the side towards the sea from a certain position where you can see the geographical shape of Morocco. Inside, there is a seller of pottery of Fez from where you can buy some bauble. Outside, the camels are available for tourist photo opportunity.
In the Merzouga Desert, you will get caught by the beauty of the Sahara desert and must not pass off the opportunity of experiencing a camel ride offered by one of the many Berbers present that patiently waits for interested tourists. Do not expect the usual round of camels and their owners aimed at taking a souvenir photo in the midst of all the other tourists. Instead, each camel will take different directions and in less than no time you will find yourself alone with a native Berber in silence directing the animal.
Only the wilderness around and the striking silence and you could not hear anything at all. There are no words to describe this wonderful place where relaxation and tranquility reign supreme. The color of the dunes at sunset provides a one of a kind experience along with finding a place to rest and sleep in the middle of the desert.
Every corner of the Paradise Beach offers small cafes with sun beds and umbrellas that faces the ocean. The secluded beach has clear waters with waves that are not particularly high. The water temperature is acceptable, although the open ocean is suitable for those seeking the sea without too many frills to see.
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