Morocco is a magical and exotic country with a rich culture and lots of places to explore. But there are some beautiful places that are often neglected by many people who visit here. Below are some of the places worth exploring.
Mystical and magical Essaouira, history breathes hauntingly through the streets of this town. Dark, small alleys and the many arches whisper tales of times long gone by and it only needs a little imagination to visualise the caravan trade from sub-Saharan Africa that once arrived in this eighteenth century port. Essaouira has inherited a wonderful blend of cultural influences from the diverse ethnical groups that have inhabited the town. The Arabs, Berbers, Jews, Africans and Europeans have all contributed to the rich heritage of old traditions and the artistic spirit of this town.Essaouira is one of the most photogenic towns of Morocco, colourful, dramatic, enchanting and always ready for the perfect pose!
Diversity of Morocco
Did you know that you can ski in Morocco? It takes about an hour and a half to drive from the heart of Marrakech to the ski resort of Oukaimeden. From Dar Zohra it is just forty minutes but you may want to make a few stops to marvel at the fantastic scenery along the way! For those not so much into skiing it is still a very worthwhile day trip to this beautiful winter wonderland. On a clear day the horizons of the High Atlas Mountains are spectacular.
Imilchil Wedding Festival, Myth and Truth
It is said that the history of the Imilchil wedding festival begins with the tragic love story between a young man from the Ait Ibrahim tribe and a young girl from the Ait Azza tribe. The two rivalling tribes did not allow the young couple to be married and they cried endlessly until their bitter tears turned into two lakes, ‘Isli’ (bridegroom) and ‘Tislit’ (bride). In their despair they drowned themselves into the two lakes.Some believe that the Imilchil wedding moussem was established to commemorate the unfortunate lovers by allowing young men and women to marry the partner of their choice. I really love a romantic story but the version of several local people just sounds a little more likely! A long time ago (nobody seems to know when), a village chief realised that many families could hardly afford the cost of a wedding ceremony for their sons and daughters. He decided that a communal ceremony would reduce the costs substantially and that the annual moussem would be the ideal time for the festivities.
The annual moussem is held after the harvests when people have earned their profits from the harvest sales. It is the time of year to celebrate and to purchase new tools, new animal stock and sufficient supplies for the long and harsh winter. It is the occasion for young women to dress up in their beautiful handiras and exchange glances with potential suitors.The festival or more correctly the year market lasts three days. It is held at an open space twenty three kilometres down the road from the village of Imilchil. People from the surrounding villages near and far come to this market. Trucks stuffed with people, supplies and animal stock drive to and from the market. It is a lively event, hectic, noisy and incredibly colourful.
Once you understand the remoteness of these villages and the limited access to this area due to the extreme poor condition of the roads (it is not a journey for the faint hearted!), the social importance of the annual moussem of Imilchil becomes obvious.
The Beautiful South, Skoura And A Thousand Kasbah's
Far beyond Marrakech and across the High Atlas Mountains lies a world of a thousand Kasbah’s, green palm oases and yellow desert sand. Once upon a time, oh so many years ago, the younger version of me fell in love with the beautiful south. I hadn’t been to the south for a while and until last week I had forgotten what I know. A short visit to Skoura reminded me of the magic of the valley of a thousand Kasbah’s, the picturesque scenery of the landscape and the sweetness of the friendly locals. It reminded me that I am still so in love with the beautiful south.