Fez: The Soul of Morocco

Fez Travel Guide

Chances are you have probably not heard of Fez, the third largest city in Morocco. It is often overshadowed by its larger cousin; Casablanca. However, Fez is a city that should be on your map when you are traveling to Morocco, because it offers you some amazing sights that you may not see if you choose to bypass the city.

Fez has a population of roughly one million, putting it behind Casablanca and Rabat in terms of size. However, it is actually the former capital of Morocco and is considered to be one of the four imperial cities within the country. Fez is the oldest Islamic city in the world.

Located in the northern end of Morocco is houses some of the most important places in the world. First, there is Fes el Bali, which is possibly the largest medina, or outdoor market, in the world. It is also believed to be the largest contiguous car-free urban area on the planet. There is also the University of Al-Karaouine, which was founded in 859 AD, making it the oldest continuously functioning university in the world.

Fez is located along the majestic Atlas Mountains, giving it a very seasonal climate. Winters are cool, while hot days fill the summer months from July to September.

As time goes on, Fez is becoming a tourist destination for many who visit Morocco. This is causing a resurgence for the city with non-Moroccans restoring the houses in the city as second homes.

If you are in Fez, check out the Merenid Tombs, which are next to the Merenid Hotel. The view you get from the tombs is astounding, giving you panoramic views of the medina and the city. You will even be able to see the olive trees that line the hills surrounding the city. You can also go to the Sofitel Palais Jamai Terrace, which gives you another great view of the medina as long as you buy a glass of tea while you there, which is essentially the cost of admission.

There are many world-class restaurants within Fez, and you will be able to stay in a wide variety of hotels from the very cheap to the luxurious.

It is important to note that since Fez is in Africa, there is often a misconception that it will be a dangerous place. Morocco is not only one of the most progressive African countries, but it is also the safest. Fez is very crowded but very safe. However, you should keep an eye on your purse or wallet because pick pockets are around, and they essentially make up the worst of the crime in the area. Con-artists can also be a problem, so just stay smart and stay safe and you will not have a problem. Even false guides will lead you astray but they are not dangerous, just a nuisance when they ask for money.

Fez is a beautiful city, and one you should not ignore in your travels of Morocco. It will leave you breathless with its beauty, culture, history and friendly people.

To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the Travelnowsimply.com website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to Ahmed Dawn Dot Com site. This article originally published on the above website on Aug 28, 2010.

Casablanca: The City of Legends | Travel Tips

Travel Casablanca

One of the most beautiful and famous cities in the world is Casablanca, and it is a popular place to visit for any tourist who wants to see a very unique city. This city is anything but a rundown city that had its best days in the past. In fact it is the largest city in Morocco with over four million people, and it is a very cosmopolitan city, as well as the economic heart of the country.

Casablanca was founded by Berber fishermen in the roughly 3,000 years ago and was then used by a series of conquerors, including the Roman Empire. Destroyed by an earthquake in 1755, it was rebuilt by the sultan of the Morocco and called Casablanca.

Casablanca may be seem like it is a backwards city in terms of being progressive but it is the most liberal and progressive of Morocco’s cities, with young men often seen talking outdoors with scantily-clad women, something not seen in more extreme Muslim countries.

There are several sites to see in this amazing city including:

  1. Casablanca has the largest artificial port in the world, and an interesting place to check out.

  2. The King Hassan II Mosque is the largest mosque in Morocco and the third largest in the world, with the tallest minaret in the world.

  3. The Old Medina is a small walled town in the northern part of Casablanca which is where you can find many amazing things to buy from the vendors of the city.

  4. The Shrine of Sidi Abderrahman is a shrine built on a rock off the shore and you can only get to it when there is low-tide. The shrine itself is off-limits to non-Muslims, but you can explore the medina that is around it.

Casablanca is a very safe city to visit as well, so you do not have to worry that because you are traveling to Africa, you are going somewhere horribly dangerous. Most tourist agencies will tell you that common sense will keep 99 percent of problems from occurring. These are things like not flashing large amount of money around, and not looking like a tourist. You should be aware of tourist guides who are not really guides and only interested in robbing you, but these guides are much less of a problem in Casablanca than anywhere else in Morocco.

Typically, the worst that you will encounter in Casablanca is people trying to hassle you or bother you. Being firm with them will usually get them to move on. While annoying, they are far from dangerous and not something you should be overly worried about. Women traveling in Casablanca will be harassed with lewd comments if they do not dress modestly, but should not worry about being bothered or harassed physically.

Casablanca is an amazing city that you should consider as a destination if you are traveling to Africa. It has everything a major city should have, and it has thousands of years of history.

To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the Travelnowsimply.com website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles to ahmeddawn.com

Marrakech - The Pearl of The South

Traveling To Marrakech

Marrakech is probably one of the most famous in all of Africa. Marrakech is also known as the Red City or Al Hamra, the garden city, the lively city of Morocco, and the Pearl of the South. It is a very important city in North Africa, and was the former imperial city of Morocco, where it is located. Currently, Marrakech is the capital of the economic region of Marrakech-Tensift-Al-Haouz. Near Marrakech is located near the towering Atlas Mountains, which dominate much of Morocco.

Currently, the population of Marrakech is just over one million people, and the city has an international airport that you can use to fly directly to the city. You can also fly to Casablanca, and take the rail link to the city if you feel like seeing the countryside.

In Marrakech, as with many North African cities, there is an old fortified city called the Medina. This is now a huge open air bazaar and trading area where you can buy a wide sort of goods, and you can choose to just walk through the Medina and check out the various venders who call the city home.

The traditional market in Marrakech is the largest in Morocco and it also boasts one of the busiest squares, the Medina, not only in Africa, but the world as well. Walking through the Medina, you can watch acrobats, water sellers, dancers, musicians and more. When night falls, the entire Medina turns into one big open-air restaurant and it is truly a sight to see.

Some people worry about going to Marrakech because it is a foreign city and many assume that means that it is a violent and dangerous city because it is in Africa. This is not the case at all. In fact, Marrakech is a very safe city and it has a very good police presence. However, as with any place that you travel you want to make sure you stay safe. Violent crime is not a big problem within the city, but there are plenty of thefts and pickpockets so keep your money close to you and do not flash it around. Do not go down alleys or poorly lit streets at night.

When a guide offers to give you a tour of the city, make sure they have an official badge that has been provided by local tourist authorities. If you are a solo traveller, you should be aware of the possibility of being drugged. If you feel you are drugged, take action immediately to find help.

Marrakech is not only an amazing city, but it is a very safe one and you do not need to worry especially during the day. If you are being bothered, just stick up for yourself and tell the people bothering you to leave and they usually will. While in Marrakech, check out the beautiful homes, lovely streets and amazing countryside around the city. It is a very interesting place to see and when you are traveling to Morocco, no trip is complete until you stop in this city that has been immortalized in film and music.

To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the Travelnowsimply.com website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to Ahmed Dawn Dot Com site. This article originally published on the above website on June 19, 2010.

The Pyramids of Egypt

You Might Have To See Pyramids More Than Once

Of the many reasons to travel, sight-seeing is one which has held strong for longer than any of us have been alive. These days, there are so many different niches in the tourism industry that it would possibly be quicker to list the things that do not have a travel industry attached to them. However, among the major ones we have sports, cuisine and music. Above all of these, though, tourism still retains its love for seeing the sights of a new place. And when it comes to sight-seeing, historical locations have a big advantage over everywhere else. Simply put, people love to see the places that have been written about and photographed, and captured by so many travelogues that one couldn’t fail to know about them.

So we accept that tourism is in love with sight seeing, and sight seeing is inextricably linked with history. If we can go further, it would be fair to say that when it comes to history, a country which is home to the last standing remnant of the legendary seven wonders of the world would be an excellent destination. This is, of course a reference to Egypt, and specifically to the great Pyramids. More specifically still, the Great Pyramid of Giza. It is impossible to overstate the historical significance of this site. At the time when the Wonders of the World were designated, the major civilisations of the time were in Rome, Greece and in Egypt. In ancient Egyptian culture, craftsmanship was an issue of major importance, especially when it came to death.

Death in ancient Egypt was an issue that immediately made people think of tombs. The ancient Pharaohs of Egypt took their tombs very seriously, and more to the point were seen as almost god-like entities by the people they led. A visit to Giza, and to the wider Egypt in general, allows you to see the classic mausoleums and sarcophagi of the people who made Egypt what it was. In addition you will have the chance to see the Sphinx, built at the time as a guardian to the Pyramids and the center of some important and fascinating mythology. Giza is well situated, as it is just outside the modern capital city of Egypt, Cairo.

If traveling to Egypt, Cairo should be your landing place. In itself a fascinating city, it is a gateway too to the rest of the wonderful locations within Egypt. For example there is Luxor, considered by many to be the world’s most important open museum, such is the depth and the quality of the ancient architecture there. It is even home to the world’s greatest collection of mummification memorabilia. By traveling further out you can also pay a visit to the seaside paradise which is Sharm el-Sheikh – in many people’s view one of the most beautiful holiday destinations in the world. Speak to your travel agent about package tours to Egypt. There is so much to see that you might have to go back – but the chances are that you won’t be complaining.

To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the Travelnowsimply.com website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to Ahmed Dawn Dot Com site. This article originally published on the above website on Aug 14, 2009.