Adventure in Marrakech, the Exotic Red-Rose City of Morocco

Teasellers Djamaa el Fna

  Marrakech is known as ‘the red rose city’ because of its pink-tinged buildings and the rose hue that envelopes the city. The city nestles like a rose-quartz gemstone near the foothills of the snow-capped High Atlas Mountain. Outside the city walls, the rock-strewn fields turn into a desert with little vegetation except for patches of irrigated farmland where there are orchards and old ... Read Full Article

Trekking in Morocco

Crossing the Ourika River

  My Moroccan trekking adventure began from the beautiful city of Marrakech near the foothills of the snow-capped High Atlas Mountains. I was with a group of trekkers from England: Ramblers Holidays.  The Ourika Valley Our first trekking destination was the Ourika Valley in the foothills of the High Atlas Mountains. It was November, and the rainy season had begun in Morocco. The ... Read Full Article

The Decadent Charm of Essaouira, Morocco

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“Essa…what?” my travel companion, Mary, asked. “Where do you want to go?” Essaouira “Essa—ouuu…rja,” I repeated, savoring every sound. I admit, I had secretly practiced. Everybody can say 'Casablanca’ or ‘Marrakesh’, but to get your tongue around the name of this particular pearl in the necklace of Moroccan beauties needs some doing. Never mind, once you tell  your hotel receptionist in ... Read Full Article

Morocco Tourist Information

Souk carpet seller

Morocco is located on the far western edge of Europe and for hundreds of years has been a bridge between the Muslim and Christian worlds of North Africa and Europe. More recently, Morocco gained fame as the last stop for refugees escaping the ravages of WWII. In the last 100 years, Morocco has become the favorite haven for authors and adventurers seeking a world of twisting yellow alleys, mint tea ... Read Full Article

The Color and Life of Marrakech

Rooftop terrace at Riad Diana with Koutoubia Mosque in the distance

  “To visit Morocco is still like turning the pages of some illuminated Persian manuscript all embroidered with bright shapes and subtle lines,” Edith Wharton wrote in 1927, and it holds true today.  That rich embroidery of life and color is most intense, if not overwhelming, in Marrakech, just north of the High Atlas Mountains. The symbol of Morocco’s third-largest city is the ... Read Full Article

Shopping the Ancient Souks of Fes, Morocco

  Fès (or Fèz, another spelling), is an endlessly fascinating, ancient city in northern Morocco, a blend of old and new. Walking through the high, arched gate into the medina of Fés el-Bali is a step into the Islamic Middle Ages. Yes, there are bicycles and satellite dishes and endless cell phones, but they don’t detract from the sense of another era, exotic at every turn. Here we learned ... Read Full Article

Casablanca and Its Amazing Hassan II Mosque

Hassan II Mosque Tiles

In 1980, King Hassan II commissioned a fabulous new mosque for Casablanca, intended to be a modern wonder and a statement of both his power and his commitment to Islam. He wanted it finished by his 60th birthday in 1989, and he wanted the design to be done by French architect Michel Pinseau, who had done a number of buildings in Morocco. The king  got everything he wanted except the completion ... Read Full Article

Meknès: Morocco’s Imperial City and World Heritage Site

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  Back in the 17th century, Meknès was the largest fortified city in North Africa. Its powerful ruler, Moulay Ismail, had plenty of slave labor to build his vast palaces and gardens, as well as 25 miles of thick walls and monumental gates. History declares the sultan a ruthless tyrant, but he did guarantee peace and order. (There’s apparently no record of just how peaceful it was in his ... Read Full Article

Volubilis, a Roman City in Morocco

Volubilis ruins

The only residents of Volubilis now are the storks, nesting on ruined columns, and they leave in the summer. But two thousand years ago, this hillside city in north Morocco was an important outpost of the Roman Empire, home to rich patricians. Volubilis, with 20,000 people, was an administrative city that produced grain and olive oil. Even after the Romans left, in the 3rd century C.E., it was ... Read Full Article

Camel Trekking Into the Sahara

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On our Gap Adventures journey through the highlights of Morocco, we stopped one afternoon in Merzouga, a village of clay homes and inns by the Erg Chebbi dunes. It’s a date palm oasis at the edge of the Sahara Desert, not far from the Algerian border. In the old days the Berbers, the indigenous people of North Africa, spent months traversing the desert, trading crops for salt. Only one of those ... Read Full Article