Tuesday, July 20, 2010

RABAT - Chellah

While we were in Rabat (Morocco) we also visited Chellah, a site which dates from Roman occupation circa 40 AD. It is one of the earliest clearly identifiable settlements of man in Morocco.

Between 1300 and 1600 AD, Rabat and Chellah were resettled by the Merinid Dynasty. Circa 1350 the Merinid sultan, founded a mosque at Chellah, and the magnificent extant principal gate. The sultan Abu I-Hasan was entombed within the Moorish part of the Chellah complex. Many of the structures in Chellah were damaged by the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. The site has been converted now to a garden and also a place for concerts.

If you want to know the whole history go here and here

The very impressive entrance

where we were greated by this drummer, pictures to be taken against payment of course.

From outside

Chellah today is also a place where concernts take place and films are shot

This is the very old part which remained from the Romans

and the rests of the mosque

with its tombs. Some of them are very well preserved as you can see from the mosaic

The guardian lady fed fishes which looked like very fat snakes, I forgot the name. The bassin was the ancient watering system of the Romans

The garden was real beautiful, with lots of plants, flowers and trees. But what amazed me the most were the birds living here. I have never ever seen so many storks together. It looks as if they were meeting here coming from all over the world. There were hundreds and hundreds. There were lots of Ibises too, of all kind and colors and other birds. It was very noisy, especially the storks who were rattling in concerts !

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

MEKNES & The Granaries of Moulay Ismail

more participants here

My roundtrip through Morocco

Just down the road from Fez lies the Imperial City of Meknes. Meknes was the capital of Morocco under the reign of Moulay Ismail (1672–1727) He is said to be the father of a total of 867 children including 525 sons and 342 daughters. I couldn't find out with how many women. He really was fruitful and multiplied. I wonder how long it took him to give them all a good night kiss.

This rather unsympathetic person (at least to me) spent his time with building walls and remparts to keep out all ennemies. From what I understood he must have been a very paranoid person, because to arrive into the city you had to drive through four thick remparts with huge doors. Our guide said that the walls were 4 m thick so that it was impossible to get through.

Moulay Ismaïl is also known as a fearsome ruler and used at least 25,000 slaves for the construction of his capital. He personally supervised the building of over 25 km of protective walls for his city within a city. He scavenged materials from monuments all over Morocco, including Roman marble from the ruins at Volubilis. Nobody knows how many slaves died during this period.

The Moulay Ismail's granaries were ingeniously designed. Tiny windows, massive walls and a system of underfloow water channels kept the temperatures cool and air circulating. He didn't store food for humans, but grain and hay to feed his 12.000 horses. The first few vaults have ben restored, but those behond stand in partial ruin, row upon row.

Amongst international filmmakers, Martin Scorsese shot part of the "Last Temptation of Christ"here.

The city wall of Meknes

Old Meknes inside the remparts

Gate to the Imperial stables and granaries

The sign at the entrance

beautiful carved designs in the wooden doors, although they had been abandonned for a very long time.

now in renovation

The ceiling of a storage room

one of the storage rooms

the walls for the storage of hey and food were very thick

in a few years this will have another look

Our guide explained us the use of this wheel

the stables

And this street leads through all the walls to the entrance.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

RABAT - Morocco

On my roundtrip trough Morocco, we also visited Rabat, the capital of Morocco. From the city itself I noticed that it is a very busy and modern town. All embassies are located here in Rabat, the seat of the Morrocan government

Entering the city, beautiful houses and less beautiful buildings

The old town of Rabat with its souqs is behind this city wall

Modern Rabat is also a mixture of old and new

the city is very animated. Everywhere you can see the French influence in the architecture

In the middle of a large boulevard is this beautiful street to walk along. They call it the Champs Elysee of Rabat.

Little trains for a roundtrip, and chats in late afternoon and evening when it cooled down

We also had a look on the Royal Palace in Rabat.

It is very beautiful with lots of artwork but still looking simple an not overloaded like our Royal Palaces

Lots of tourists of course

The guards

the park

I loved this door, but it was locked so I couldn't say "hello" to the King

We then visted an unfinished Mosque the Hassan Tower

Begun in 1195 AD, the tower was intended to be the largest minaret in the world along with the mosque, also intended to be the world's largest. In 1199 the construction on the mosque stopped. The tower only reached 44 m (140 ft), about half of its intended 86 m (260 ft) height. The rest of the mosque was also left incomplete, with only the beginnings of several walls and 200 columns being constructed.

These unfinished columns were very strange to see.

On the opposite side of the Hassan Tower is the Mausoleum of Mohamed V where you can see the tombs of the Moroccan king and his two sons.

there is not much to say, the artwork inside and outside was just breathtaking

In reality it's even more beautiful

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About Me

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I love painting, writing, travelling and photography. My favorit models are my four cats which I observe with fun and humor. I am German, married to an Italian and we live in Waterloo (15 km from Brussels) / Belgium since many years. Waterloo is a famous place to many tourists, because Napoleon lost his battle here against Wellington and other European countries.

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