Wednesday, March 4, 2015

++Morocco | Day8 | Meknes & volubilis & Chefchaouen

fuhh, finally find some extra time to continue my morocco entry.
i was away late january till early february, and february, february was too short.
kekononnye khen.
day 8 at morocco we went to meknes & volubilis & chefchaouen (2hours drive from Fes)
as mentioned in earlier entries, we didnot pre-planned the chefchaouen trip.
the day was only meant for meknes & volubilis, but the driver for yesterday's drive insisted us to visit chefchaouen because meknes is too small and we can finish half a day. so, ok, fine. challenge accepted.
but we have to pay 400MAD for the trip (worth it).

Around meknes:
- car 400 MAD
- x sempat breakfast
- meknes tour
- sahrij swani
- bab mansour
- place el-hedim
- Mausoleum Moulay Ismail (built by Ahmed Eddahbi, open to non-Muslims, it shelters the grave of Mouley Ismail)
- habs qara (underground prison)(10 MAD)
- Volubilis (a partly excavated Roman city. a ruins that remained substantially intact until they were devastated by an earthquake in the mid-18th century and subsequently looted by Moroccan rulers seeking stone for building Meknes)(10 MAD)
- around chefchaouen (sightseeing n shopping at the souk)
- lunch merangkap dinner kefta tagine (85 MAD)
- go back to Fes
- overnight at hotel bab al madina (Fes)
- sahrij swani
The masterpiece of the complex known as Hri Swani, the Basin of the Norias, Sahrij Swani, is an artificial lake notable for its size (148.75 m by 319 m with a depth of 3.20 m). Three tall crenellated walls that stood around the lake have today been reduced to an isolated section of rampart located on the southwest side towards the Bani Ahmad district and the remains of the base of an enclosure wall more than 2 m thick.
The size of the lake is reminiscent of the lakes of the Middle Atlas mountains located to the south of the town. The lake was filled from two sources:
- Water from the ten wells dug near the Sahrij, below the silo, brought up using ten norias and ceramic channels. Water from the wells was used at times of trouble (war, etc.) and drought.
- Water from the Wadi Bufekrane which descends from the Middle Atlas mountains, crosses the southern part of Meknès and feeds the lake and part of the town of Meknès.
Today the lake attracts tourists visiting the town and also its inhabitants, who come at weekends to cool down during the summer.

- Bab Mansour
Bab Mansour gate, named after the architect, El-Mansour. It was completed 5 years after Moulay Ismail's death, in 1732. The design of the gate plays with Almohad patterns. It has zellij mosaics of excellent quality. The marble columns were taken from the Roman ruins of Volubilis. When the structure was completed, Moulay Ismail inspected the gate, asking El-Mansur if he could do better. El-Mansur felt complied to answer yes, making the sultan so furious he had him executed. Still, according to historical records, the gate was finished after Moulay Ismail's death. The gate itself is now used as an arts and crafts gallery; entry is by a side gate.
Widely considered North Africa's most beautiful gate, this huge horseshoe-shape triumphal arch was completed in 1732 by a Christian convert to Islam named Mansour Laalej (whose name means "victorious renegade") and looms over the medina square. The marble Ionic columns supporting the two bastions on either side of the main entry were taken from the Roman ruins at Volubilis, while the taller Corinthian columns came from Marrakesh's El Badi Palace, part of Moulay Ismail's campaign to erase any vestige of the Saadian dynasty that preceded the Alaouites. Ismail's last important construction project, the gate was conceived as an elaborate homage to himself and strong Muslim orthodoxy of the dynasty rather than a defensive stronghold—hence, its intense decoration of green and white tiles and engraved Koranic panels, all faded significantly with age. French novelist Pierre Loti (1850–1923) penned the definitive description of Bab Mansour: "rose-hued, star-shaped, endless sets of broken lines, unimaginable geometric combinations that confuse the eye like a labyrinthine puzzle, always in the most original and masterly taste, have been gathered here in thousands of bits of varnished earth, in relief or recessed, so that from a distance it creates the illusion of a buffed and textured fabric, glimmering, glinting, a priceless tapestry placed over these ancient stones to relieve the monotony of these towering walls."

- place el-hedim
The heart of Meknes's medina, place el Hedim was originally the western corner of the medina until Moulay Ismail demolished the houses to enable a royal approach to his palace. Besides public executions -- of which Moulay Ismail was particularly fond -- and royal announcements, the square was also used as a storage area for the masses of construction material he had pillaged from around Morocco to build his capital.

- Mausoleum Moulay Ismail 
Diagonally opposite the Koubbat as-Sufara’ is the resting place of the sultan who made Meknès his capital in the 17th century. Moulay Ismail’s stature as one of Morocco’s greatest rulers means that non-Muslim visitors are welcomed into the sanctuary. Entry is through a series of austere, peaceful courtyards meant to induce a quiet and humble attitude among visitors, an aim that’s not always successful in the face of a busload of tourists. The tomb hall is a lavish contrast and showcase of the best of Moroccan craftsmanship. Photography is permitted, but non-Muslims may not approach the tomb itself.

- habs qara (underground prison)
Originally known as the Koubbat as-Sufara (Ambassadors' Pavilion), this was where Moulay Ismail received ambassadors from abroad. The stairs to the right of the pavilion entrance lead down to storage chambers originally built as a prison by the Portuguese architect Cara, himself a prisoner who earned his freedom by constructing these immense subterranean slave quarters. Go below to see where the 60,000 slaves (of which 40,000 were reportedly Christian prisoners of war) were shackled to the wall, forced to sleep standing up, and ordered to work on the sultan's laborious building projects. Ambassadors visiting Meknès to negotiate the ransoms and release of their captive countrymen were received in the pavilion above, never suspecting that the prisoners were directly below them.

- Volubilis
a partly excavated Roman city. a ruins that remained substantially intact until they were devastated by an earthquake in the mid-18th century and subsequently looted by Moroccan rulers seeking stone for building Meknes

- chefchaouen
Chefchaouen or Chaouen, as it is often called by Moroccans, is a popular tourist destination because of its proximity to Tangier and the Spanish enclave of Ceuta. The name refers to the shape of the mountain tops above the town, that look like the two horns (chaoua) of a goat. "Chef Chaouen" derives from the Berber word for horns, Ichawen. There are approximately two hundred hotels catering to the summer influx of European tourists. One distinction possessed by Chefchaouen is its blue-rinsed houses and buildings.
as usual pictures..

meknes tour
this was taken at around sahrij swani, the artificial lake.

people were busy exercising around the lake.

this was above the underground prison

a kiblat clock inside mausoleum moulay ismail, where the grave of mouley ismail is sheltered.

inside the underground prison.. habs qara..

at volubilis..

chefchaouen, from the road into that city.

one of the many blue doors of blue town of chefchaouen

lunch aka dinner, i had kefta tagine.

currently listening to:john legend - all of me
currently feeling:lapar sbb puasa.
i wanna be:rich! & kurus!!!!!!!

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