UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Morocco

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Morocco

Morocco is home to an impressive 9 UNESCO World Heritage Sites! These sites are dotted throughout the country, from expected places like Marrakesh and Fez, to Tetouan, a relatively untouristed northern city, and on to the desert lands of the Sahara. If you are a lover of history and culture, it makes a lot of sense to use these sites as pillars or totems for your own tour of Morocco.

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Everything You Need to Know About Visiting the Sahara Desert

Everything You Need to Know About Visiting the Sahara Desert

There are very few places on Earth that compare to the incredible landscapes you’ll see visiting the Sahara Desert. Running roughly north-south along Morocco’s eastern border with neighboring Algeria, the Sahara Desert is the world’s largest hot desert. In fact, the Sahara covers an area roughly the size of the entire United States. Many travelers visit Morocco specifically with the intention of venturing off into the desert and spending a night under the stars. And we can’t blame them! A desert adventure is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity you shouldn’t miss out on. (more…)

Top 10 Posts to Read Before You Visit Fez

Top 10 Posts to Read Before You Visit Fez

Until 1925 Fez was the modern capital of Morocco and it retains its prestige as one of the most enchanting and enriching cities in the country. Home to the world’s largest car-free city center and the world’s oldest functioning university, it’s no surprise Fez is listed as a UNESCO world heritage site and a must-visit on tourist radars. Before you pack your bags and visit Fez, here are ten articles for you to read, get prepared, and make sure you get the most out of your visit to this ancient city. (more…)

JBT’s Ultimate Guide to the Quranic Schools of Morocco

JBT’s Ultimate Guide to the Quranic Schools of Morocco

The long, storied history of learning and scholarship in Morocco is often surprising to first time visitors, and even to some longtime inhabitants. In fact, Morocco boasts the world’s oldest university – the University of al-Qarawiyyin (also written as: Al Quaraouiyine or Al-Karaouine). Recognized by UNESCO and the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s oldest university, al-Qarawiyyin was founded in 859 AD by Fatima al-Fihri, the daughter of a wealthy merchant family who immigrated to Morocco from modern-day Tunisia. (more…)

A Wander in Fez

Blue Gate in FezI have a golden rule when in Fez; I never walk up either Tala’a Kbira, ‘big street’, or Tala’a Sghira, ‘little street’, I only ever walk down, working on the premise that my knees and stamina are nothing compared to those of the mules that provide much of the traffic in the Medina’s two main pedestrian arteries – and their muleteer’s, come to that. I consider the twenty dirham a taxi costs from Rcif at the bottom of the steep hill that is Fez el Bali to the Bab Boujloud, the principal entrance at the top, to be a very worthy investment. (more…)

Morocco for the Arts Buff

orange art in MoroccoMorocco’s arts scene has a storied past to match its vibrant present. In the 1950s and ‘60s, expatriate writers and artists like Paul Bowles and William S. Burroughs flocked to the so-called International Zone, a cosmopolitan, semi-autonomous region in Tangier, where they were inspired to share their creative insights with the world. Bowles’ 1949 novel The Sheltering Sky makes a particularly good companion for travelers to North Africa. For a native Moroccan perspective, check out Leila Abouzeid’s Year of the Elephant, a 1983 novel that was one of Morocco’s first to be translated from Arabic into English.

Morocco is also popular for lovers of music and dance. Although the ubiquitous belly dancing is not strictly speaking of Moroccan origin, you’ll spot it along with traditional folk dancing, especially at festivals, weddings and other celebrations. Wandering heddaoua are entertaining Berber storytellers who move from town to town reciting poetry to musical accompaniment. (more…)

Fez Festival of World Sacred Music 2012

Music Festival Fez MoroccoFor the past 18 years, the city of Fez, Morocco, has put on the Festival of World Sacred Music, dedicated to the traditions of knowledge, art and spirituality of the city. It began as a peace initiative following the first Gulf War but has since become an established part of the world music and art scene. This year’s event runs from June 8-16 at different venues in the city of Fez. The theme is “Re-enchanting the World,” and pays tribute to Persian poet Omar Khayyam.

Acts from around the world converge on Fez along with thousands of attendees there to pay homage to sacred music from around the globe. There is a heavy focus on Sufi music, however, music from all over the globe is represented. This year’s acts hail Hungary, Romania, Central Europe, Lebanon, Tunisia, India, Cuba, Pakistan, Iceland, Iran, Guinea, France, Morocco and the United States. Along with musical acts there are several poetry readings, poetry set to music and dancing troupes. (more…)

An Introduction to Zaouia d’Ifrane

Zaouia d'Ifrane MoroccoIf you are planning a trip to the Middle Atlas in Morocco, make sure you don’t miss the Berber village of Zaouia d’Ifrane. The area, located in the province of Ifrane, is known for its cedar and oak forest, waterfalls and beautiful plateaus and cliffs. The town was named after its famous shrine, or zaouia, built around the tomb of the marabout Sidi Boubker Mohammed. For many, it is enough to know that the Zaouia d’Ifrane is part of the town of Ifrane, which will guarantee all visitors an exceptional experience.

The village is visited by tourists throughout the year, due to the numerous activities it offers. Famous for its mountainous environment, many visit to hike and bike in the region. For others, watching the waterfalls while picnicking and resting is what makes a visit to the Zaouia d’Ifrane so special. Walking throughout its dense and rich forest offers a great range of views, from the stunning mountainside to the picturesque waterfalls. Its lush fields offer the perfect camping sites on which to pitch your tent and explore the area. (more…)

Superb Experiences in Morocco

Blue boats in Essaouira MoroccoWith such a rich array of historical sites, ancient traditions, geological wonders, cuisine, music and culture, it can be overwhelming to choose what to see and do when you travel to Morocco. Here are five must-have experiences in Morocco that will give you a taste of all that Morocco has to offer.

View Street Performers in Djemaa el Fna

For a first-time visitor, the streets of Marrakesh’s Djemaa el Fna will be positively overwhelming. The name Djemaa el Fna is translated as “assembly of the dead,” but the place is one of the liveliest on Earth. The city’s main square is literally an open-air theatre with snake charmers, roving Gnaoua musicians and the halqa or street theatre. ?? (more…)

Art Museums in Morocco

Morocco door

Whether you are an art history scholar or a casual observer who appreciates something that pleases the eye, Morocco abounds with awe-inspiring art such as tile mosaics, intricately carved handicrafts, woven carpets and more. While you can encounter artistic displays throughout the country’s cities and villages, art museums often tell a story more clearly than publicly placed mantles or a paragraph in a guidebook. Below are a few of the art museums in which the exhibits tell a story. (more…)

Visiting a Tannery in Fez

Traveling to Morocco, the ancient city of Fez and its medina can feel very foreign indeed. The walkways wind up and down through the hilly city, too narrow for cars or all but the slimmest of carts and carriages. The medina is much like it was hundreds of years ago; the pace and structure of life still follow the old rhythms. You can feel the age of the medina—and its history—with each step. Nowhere is this truer than in Fez’s tanneries.

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Day Trips from Fes

ruins at volubilis moroccoFez (also known as Fes) will charm you with its culture tucked into every tightly woven street corner, but it can be nice to escape—even when you’re enjoying this fascinating old city. If you’re aching to break through the city walls for a day, we’ve got you covered.

Some of the most popular day trips from Fes include Meknes and nearby Volubilis, as well as the capital of Morocco, Rabat. It’s time to plan your Morocco itinerary … you’ve got lots of places to explore! (more…)

Fez: Soul Of Morocco

A trip through time is almost everybody’s dream. There is a time machine right at your fingertips, and it starts on the plane. The journey begins when you land in Morocco.  This little North African country sets on the modern side of history. Its roots, however, go way back to before the Romans and Phoenicians came. So let your Moroccan itinerary begin in the timeless setting of Fez. (more…)