Morocco | Photo Gallery
We started our trip in the beautiful city of El Jadida which is is a port city on the Atlantic coast of Morocco, located 106 km south of the city of Casablanca. We had an amazing time visiting the Portuguese cistern, this former warehouse (possibly an armory) was converted into a cistern in the sixteenth century. The underground chamber, measuring 34 meters by 34 meters, was constructed with five rows of five stone pillars. The cistern is famous especially for the thin layer of water that covers the floor, and which creates fine and ever changing reflections from the little light there is and the spartan shapes of the columns and the roof. Its visual qualities are such that several movies have been filmed within the cavernous space, of which Orson Welles' Othello is the best known internationally.
Then we were off to the Fortress of Mazagan. The design of the Fortress of Mazagan is a response to the development of modern artillery in the Renaissance. The star form of the fortress measures c 250m by 300m. The slightly inclined, massive walls are c 8m high on average, with a thickness of 10m, enclosing a patrolling peripheral walkway 2m wide. At the present time the fortification has four bastions: the Angel Bastion in the east, St Sebastian in the north, St Antoine in the west, and the Holy Ghost Bastion in the south. The fifth, the Governor’s Bastion at the main entrance, is in ruins, having been destroyed by the Portuguese in 1769. Numerous colonial-era Portuguese cannons are still positioned on top of the bastions.
The fort had three gates: the Seagate, forming a small port with the north-east rampart, the Bull Gate in the north-west rampart, and the main entrance with a double arch in the centre of the south rampart, originally connected to land via a drawbridge. A ditch, c 20m wide and 3m deep, formerly filled with seawater, surrounded the fort. During the time of the French Protectorate the ditch was filled in with earth and a new entrance gate was opened leading to the main street, the Rua da Carreira, and to the Seagate. Along this street are situated the best preserved historic buildings, including the Catholic Church of the Assumption and the cistern.
The people of El Jadida were very friendly and hospitable. We took a train from El Jadida to Casablanca and had a great time exploring the city and al it had to offer. We ended our evening off at RicksCafé the place was designed to recreate the bar made famous by Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in the movie classic Casablanca. Set in an old courtyard-style mansion built against the walls of the Old Medina of Casablanca, the restaurant – piano bar is filled with architectural and decorative details reminiscent of the film: curved arches, a sculpted bar, balconies, balustrades as well as beaded and stenciled brass lighting and plants that cast luminous shadows on white walls. There is an authentic 1930’s Pleyel piano and As Time Goes By is a common request to the in-house pianist.
Owned by The Usual Suspects company, this Casablanca landmark is usually described as the real Rick’s Café, finally bringing the legendary “Gin Joint” of cinema fame to life in today's Casablanca.
Back in El Jadida we attended the Salon Du Cheval d'El Jadida. What a fantastic showcasing the finest horses of every breed imaginable. We of course watched the Arabian horse classes and were very impressed with the quality of the horses and the show itself. Very well organized and excellent hospitality.
Then we were off to Marrakesh, like many Moroccan cities, Marrakesh comprises an old fortified city packed with vendors and their stalls (the medina), bordered by modern neighborhoods, the most prominent of which is Gueliz. Today it is one of the busiest cities in Africa and serves as a major economic center and tourist destination. Tourism is strongly advocated by the reigning Moroccan monarch, Mohammed VI, with the goal of doubling the number of tourists visiting Morocco to 20 million by 2020. Despite the economic recession, real estate and hotel development in Marrakesh has grown dramatically in the 21st century. Marrakesh is particularly popular with the French, and numerous French celebrities own property in the city. Marrakesh has the largest traditional market (souk) in Morocco, with some 18 souks selling wares ranging from traditional Berber carpets to modern consumer electronics. Crafts employ a significant percentage of the population, who primarily sell their products to tourists. Marrakesh is one of North Africa’s largest centres of wildlife trade, despite the illegality of much of this trade. Much of this trade can be found in the medina and adjacent squares. Tortoises are particularly popular for sale as pets but Barbary macaques and snakes can also be seen.
We always have an amazing time in Morocco and everytime we visit is a new and exciting adventure. Be sure to put Morocco on your bucket list!