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The hidden gem of Africa! Morocco is definitely, "a must see before you die" country. Ever since I stepped off of the plane at Casablanca International Airport, I am lucky enough to see the beauty most people in America does not know enough about.
Many people associate Africa with what is seen on television, but Morocco is not the Africa you could even imagine. This country is completely influenced by Europe and very little from the Middle East. An up an coming country, with much to offer. Though Morocco is in the North African Sahara, the land mass is completely diverse, every city you visit looks similar, but has it's own unique Moroccan Twang.
What you will see when you visit Morocco--
The people here are a mixture of Amazigh (Berber), Arab, and European. You can get anything from dark chocolate skin and brown eyes to very fair skin and red Irish hair. There is also a large population of Sub-Sarahan Africans living in Morocco (stay tuned, there will be another blog post about this subject) and Europeans.
What you should see if you visit--
Morocco's history is intertwined with it's country, the cities of Morocco reflect the many different Arab and Amazigh dynasties of the last two centenaries. From the winding streets in the Medina to the open ocean air, every place you will go will have a story behind the significance.
Casablanca--Personally, you could skip this one, besides the correlation with the famous Hollywood movie Casablanca, which takes place in WWII, it does not have much to offer, but if you do REALLY want to go to Casablanca, you should take the time to go visit Hussan II Mosque, it is the third largest mosque in the World. A couple steps away from the open beach and the biggest mall in Morocco.
Marrakesh--Once an Imperial City, the name Marrakesh means- Land of God. This is an absolute must see! The history behind the Berber dynasties is extremely fascinating, and there is plenty to do around the city. It is the largest tourist city in Morocco. With one of the many standing Royal Castles still to this day, accompanied with a great night life, and a beautiful Medina.
For those people who enjoy outdoors and nature--
Ozud--This little country town is right next to a beautiful waterfall which reflects a beautiful rainbow in any direction you stare. This is a great place to hike and go swimming with the family, much like a minature version of the Niagara Falls. Dress conservatively (women) while going swimming, or expect to be a center of attention.
Beni-Melal--Is a small authenic city near Ozud, a great place to get an authentic meal and see the authentic lifestyle of Moroccans. Not many tourists come here so be ready for the stares.
Fez--Is a must see! One of the most powerful Imperial cities in Morocco, has a history dating back to 788 when Idriss I had created his kingdom. The thousands of streets that fill the crowded Medina, to the world recognized leather, and toxic, yet beautiful dying pools. Fez is definitely expensive, if you can bargain the prices to a lower point, then by all means shop til you drop, but most people want to rip you off. Fez is known to be a tourist attraction so if you can wait to make your purchases then WAIT until to a cheaper city.
Voubilis-- This is also a must see, a city of Roman Ruins. A great place to get some European history, which intertwines with Morocco. A little taste of Rome, Italy in Morocco. Is located in a desolate part of Morocco, with not much surrounding the city. The murals are in great shape and the tour guides are very funny!!
Meknes--A great place to immerse yourself in the typical Moroccan lifestyle. The slow-pace environment was once an imperial city. Moulay Ismail (also the name of my university) founded this city. A beautiful Medina and friendly people is a place to relax and enjoy some of the many cafes surrounding the city.
Stay tuned for Pace of life in Morocco next week!
Morocco is a place of discovery, come discover the undiscovered!
Ma selam maa'
Go with peace,
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