Saturday, June 27, 2009

12000 horses

Disclaimer: I am still trying to figure out how to post pics to this blog, so sorry if the page seems out of sorts!

Finally! A short trip to someplace less isolated and less Western feeling than the university... as an aside Ifrane (location of the uni) is called Little Switzerland... so that should give you some idea of what it is like... built by the French as a resort town in the 1920s.

Anyhow, we arrived in Meknes yesterday and after dropping bags at the hotel, we got back on the bus for a quick tour of Meknes and the Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail. Meknes is a large city (1 mil people I think)... the old medina (city) has the longest emcompassing wall of any city in the world at 25 mi total!

The gate we saw (there are 3) is called the Bab el-Khemis (Thursday Gate) pic above, called so because of the Thursday market that drew people to the medina. A lovely gate, with same aeration holes all throughout where swallows and chickadees have made their homes. Lucky birds!

We then drove to see the stables and graineries of Moulay Ismail. Moulay Ismail was a great sultan, who ruled for 55 years (1672-1727)... to put that in perspective, he was a contemporary of French King Louis XIV (14th). We couldn't go inside the structure, but was told that Moulay Ismail stabled 12,000 horses! My kind of guy! :-)

The Mausoleum of the Moulay Ismail was next (above). A beautiful structure, containing 3 rooms with wonderful zellij (geometric tilework), fountains and carved cedar wood ceilings. Although we could go inside, we weren't able to go into the actual room where the tombs are located.

We walked through the medina, which I loved. I love markets. Here is a shot of a man stoking the hammam fires by throwing sawdust in the fire...

We took a group photo in front of one the medina gates, and one of our guides was taking our pic with my camera, when a little old lady comes toddling by slowly in between him and us... we wait for her to cross, but she stops in front of Youness and tells him in Arabic "take my picture!" So he did... funny because she was very adamant and didn't ask for money!

The Fulbright GPA Morocco gang! 
L to R front row: Maceo, Jen, Manny, Jenny, Angela, Azeb. L to R back row: Beate, David, Sherry, Laura, Sylvia, our Meknes guide Abdellah, Casey, Carol, Jelani, Shondale.

~ Angela (texang)

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